The GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), implemented by UNDP, provided financial support of US$ 149,415 for the implementation of three demonstration projects aimed at combating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Ukraine. The projects "Solar energy use for electricity production", "Community awareness raising on energy efficiency in public buildings; implementing energy saving measures in Oleksandrivsk" and "Renewable solar energy for water heating" are being carried out in the industrial region of Lugansk, among the Teplychne community with a population of 1,200 people. The projects have been designed to help local authorities and the housing administration to improve their capacity to mitigate climate change by piloting the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency practices in public buildings. State institutions, local authorities and the private sector have contributed with a total co-financing of US$ 165,250 allocated for these three projects.
On September 5th, 2012, the UNDP Deputy Country Director, Ms. Elena Panova, Mr. Sergei Mikheev, Deputy Head of Lugansk Oblast State Administration, Mr. Zaza Zugbaya, Lugansk Deputy Mayor, and Mr. Vadym Reznik, Secretary of Aleksandrovsk town council, visited a kindergarten in the Teplychne settlement for an official presentation and overview of the projects' results. Major activities of the projects included construction, renovation and insulation works. Specifically, the projects supported the installation of energy efficient windows, solar water heaters and heating systems in the kindergarten. These project activities were the starting point for demonstrating and promoting renewable solar energy technologies for water heating and electricity generation in public buildings in the Lugansk region.
Ms. Panova noted that GEF SGP has demonstrated a broader vision to integrate environmental protection with development priorities. Lugansk Deputy Mayor, Mr. Zukhbaya, highlighted the importance of energy efficient and renewable energy projects for the region. Mr. Zukhbaya emphasized his appreciation for the work of GEF SGP Ukraine in the Lugansk region and assured that local authorities are ready to continue supporting such projects in order to ensure their sustainability.
Even though the projects are still ongoing, they have already produced tangible global environmental benefits and improved the livelihoods of the local people. The head of the kindergarten's parents committee, Ms. Nataliya Chala, expressed gratitude to all partners for the implementation of these projects: "It is pleasant to realize that our children go to a warm and comfortable kindergarten with 'green' and energy saving principles at work". In fact, the three projects have altogether provided and installed 33 energy-saving windows, energy efficient solar collectors for electricity generation and water heating to reduce GHG emissions by 80,000 tons of CO2-equvalent annually. More than 200 people have directly benefited from these projects to date.
Furthermore, this kindergarten has become a pilot demonstration site, attracting the attention of many nearby residents who visit the site to familiarize themselves with the use of innovative energy efficient technologies. The project provides a practical opportunity for authorities and decision makers to improve the current construction norms and standards in a more sustainable way. This project site serves as a good example for the replication in other kindergartens and schools.
Another notable component of these projects is the launch of a wide information dissemination campaign to promote methods to reduce energy consumption, including project presentation, workshops, ecological seminars and trainings. The projects are going to involve more than 6,000 people in the project activities. Moreover, the projects have established supporting linkages with the State Department of Environmental Protection in the Lugansk region, the Oleksandrivsk City Council, the Educational Departments and other local NGOs/CSOs. The partnership, dedication and initiative of the parents committee, NGOs, and local community leaders have proved that joint efforts can bring positive change to the environment and to the people.