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Kristine Aghalaryan

Armenia: Energy Efficiency Measures Project Not Completed, Extended Three Years

Vahram Jalalyan, coordinator of the UNDP-implemented GCF-funded project "De-risking and Scaling-up Investment in Energy Efficient Building Retrofits," answered Hetq’s questions.

The measures to increase the energy efficiency of buildings were not fully implemented in the addresses that the Ministry of Environment provided to us as full program participant/beneficiary buildings. For example, in any building in the Ani district of Tashir, the basements were not insulated, water heaters or solar power plants were not installed at the specified addresses (Ani district 1/1, 1/2, 2/2, 2/3). Why?

As you are aware, the project retrofitting measures include a number of specific works. However, not all of these works are applicable (possible) for all typologies of buildings. Usually, insulation of the basement and installation of solar energy equipment are not applicable to the Multi-Apartment Residential buildings by their default retrofit design, as: 

  • Insulation of basement areas is frequently not feasible, mostly, due to inaccessibility and internal modifications made by residents.
  • Central heating or renewable energy systems generally cannot be installed in the multi-apartment residential buildings.

These particular cases in Ani district of Tashir municipality are Multi-Apartment Residential Buildings and therefore, as you rightly note, the above measures were not feasible to be part of the retrofit. The respective designs (exact scope of the retrofit) for these MABs were prepared by the Tashir municipality based on the technical feasibility of works and approved under the State Subvention Programme. In this specific case, the scope of works included all technically feasible retrofit measures, hence, these works are qualified as full retrofit per the project definition.

The directors of most of the kindergartens we visited in Yerevan were not aware that any such measures were implemented at their address. Moreover, those kindergartens did not have the energy efficiency passports, which were in other addresses, where, according to the list provided by the Ministry of Environment, the program was implemented. For example: Kindergarten No. 50 at 47/2 Norashen, Kindergarten No. 58 at 27/2, 1st district of Davtashen, etc. 4 kindergartens are still under construction. How did this happen?

In some kindergartens, they (directors) said that they (we guess municipality is meant here) just came with these questions, some measures must be implemented.

As you know, local municipalities are in charge of managing kindergartens. Kindergarten No. 50 at 47/2 Norashen and Kindergarten No. 58 at 27/2 in the 1st district of Davtashen are under the responsibility of the Yerevan Municipality, which oversees their renovation.

Energy efficiency measures are an integral part of the general renovation works. Therefore, people without specialized background should not necessarily be in a position to distinguish energy efficiency measures from the general renovation works. So, it should not be surprising that some technical aspects of renovation works were not known by the interlocutors, who you talked with.

Thank you for bringing to our attention that the energy efficiency signs/labels are not placed on some buildings. While the energy passports for these buildings are prepared and submitted to the Yerevan municipality, we will re-check all buildings co-financed by the Project to ensure the proper labels (reflecting information from their passports) are placed to ensure visibility of energy efficiency measures.

Finally, we are indeed, aware, that not all the “project-supported” buildings have been completed yet, and overall renovation works are ongoing. It is common for this type of projects to have different renovation works being in different stages.

Some schools we have visited are also still under construction, and the directors are not aware of what measures have been taken or planned. For example, the M. Heratsi School, the School of Hovtashat (village), etc.

Indeed, we are aware that the general renovation works in these schools are ongoing. Regarding the awareness of energy efficiency measures among school directors, including those at the School after M. Heratsi and the School in Hovtashat village, please kindly note, that all energy efficiency measures are an integral part of the general renovation. Therefore, people without specialized background, including school administration representatives, should not necessarily be able to distinguish energy efficiency measures from the general renovation works.

The Project ended factually in 2023, but several addresses have not yet been EE retrofitted. Please clarify why we were provided such a list if any measures were not implemented in those addresses.

The Project was originally scheduled to conclude in June 2023. However, now, the Project is officially extended until 30 June 2026. By that date all currently ongoing renovation works co-financed by the Project are scheduled to be completed.

Was the Project extended? Were the funds spent completely, or was anything else planned?

Yes, the Project was extended till the end of June 2026. There are remaining funds, which will be allocated by the new end date.

How do you evaluate the Project process and general results as a Project Coordinator?

UNDP-GCF Project is an important initiative aimed at advancing energy efficiency in Armenia. The Project is innovative by design as it provides incentives to the national partners for increasing their ownership of energy efficiency measures, instead of taking full responsibility for energy efficiency retrofits. Furthermore, as stated above, we collaborate closely with respective authorities at the national and local levels to facilitate knowledge-building on energy efficiency and bring international best practices to Armenia.

Overall, the Project is progressing well, demonstrating following results as of December 2023:

  • Led to emission reductions of around 21,000 tCO2 per year or around 420,000 tCO2 over the 20-year lifetime of the interventions,
  • Provided co-financing for retrofitting 152 multi-apartment buildings (MAB) and 52 public buildings (including 45 kindergartens and schools),
  • Benefited over 40,000 people, with over 50% being women and girls.

These results were achieved in partnership with various ministries, state agencies, municipalities, international organizations, and other stakeholders.

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