«Green» school with care for the health of children and the environment

December 10, 2021

Photo credit: UNDP Kazakhstan

Currently, Kazakhstan is actively working towards achieving the goal of carbon neutrality by 2060, announced by the Head of State in December 2020. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kazakhstan is one of the key partners of the state in the implementation of "green" joint initiatives in the country, including implementing pilot projects in the regions.

For example, in 2021, within the framework of a joint initiative of Eni and UNDP, with the support of the Akimat of the Turkestan region, a project was launched to use technologies for obtaining renewable energy from the sun and improve the energy efficiency of a secondary school located in the city of Turkistan.

According to experts' calculations, the introduction of energy-efficient technologies and renewable energy sources in schools provides a significant reduction in budget expenditures for the maintenance of the social sphere. Thus, among the social facilities of the city of Turkestan, the largest share is occupied by educational institutions, for which funds are allocated from the local budget, of which 20% go to pay for energy resources. Thus, heat and electricity supply to schools and kindergartens is a significant item of expenditure in the field of education, which can be redirected to other needs. At the same time, the cost reduction is accompanied by an improvement in the microclimate and, accordingly, has a positive effect on the health of children and their academic performance.

In order to provide technical and consulting support for the implementation of this pilot project, UNDP in Kazakhstan attracted an international expert under the program "Russian Experts for International Development" within the framework of the project to support the partnership between Russia and UNDP. This initiative is funded by the Government of the Russian Federation and implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia. Within the framework of this project, international experts share their experience and knowledge on the implementation of similar UNDP projects in the CIS countries. Many CIS countries have received expert support on this principle.

According to Anatoly Shevchenko, an international technical expert involved, the main advantage of this program is the ability to maintain a high level of expertise of UNDP through the involvement of highly qualified specialists who have proven themselves in the implementation of UNDP projects and are experts of international class.

In the modernization project of the Turkestan lyceum school, Anatoly worked on specific proposals for optimizing energy-saving measures. «In particular, technical requirements were prepared for the introduction of an energy-saving lighting system and the solution for the layout of a solar power plant was optimized. In the end, the prepared recommendations will allow in the future to reduce the cost of modernizing the school by 20-25%, reduce the project implementation time and increase energy and economic efficiency indicators», - Anatoly notes.. 

It should be noted that the program of energy-saving measures proposed within the framework of the UNDP and ENI pilot is based on a comprehensive energy audit of the school. Specialists of the energy audit company conducted a survey of the building's engineering systems, collected statistical data on energy consumption and offered recommendations on energy conservation.

«The unique sunny climate of the region (insolation up to 1600 kW/m2 * in a year) and the school's working hours make it possible to use solar energy efficiently. The introduction of a solar power plant using photovoltaic panels will generate electricity for air conditioning and hot water. Switching to LED lighting will save more than 50% of the electricity consumed by lighting at present», – says Anatoly Shevchenko.

For example, it is planned to use advanced LED solutions (lanterns and lamps) to illuminate classrooms and blackboards, which will improve illumination, reduce light pulsation and improve color rendering. Children will immediately feel comfortable lighting and reduce their eye strain during the class. The transition to LED luminaires will also make it possible to completely abandon the purchase of mercury-containing lamps, which will save on disposal and eliminate the likelihood of environmental pollution.

«The volumes of “green energy” received from renewable energy sources and energy savings due to the modernization of lighting systems and heat and water supply systems should be used to verify the volumes of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Subsequently, through the sale of volumes of greenhouse gases, it will be possible to create a mechanism for additional financing of similar projects in the region», - emphasizes Anatoly.

Based on the project monitoring data, the economic, environmental, climatic and social results of the project will be determined. All this will make it possible to prepare proposals for a program for the modernization of schools in the region and start working out funding mechanisms, including by attracting investors.