Aug. 2014—Several community members from the town of Zhaludok, located in the Grodno region of Belarus, learned about energy conservation during a USAID-sponsored study tour to Ukraine in March 2012. Equipped with new knowledge on monitoring energy efficiency and reducing energy use, they moved quickly to initiate an energy audit of the Zhaludok day care center and develop recommendations to improve its energy usage.
Using a USAID grant, the group designed a program to reduce energy consumption by installing radiator screens that reduce heat loss and by replacing 18 windows and three doors.
Liutsyia Sidorovich, the day care center’s director, explained that the changes were striking. “Now children don’t need to wear extra sweaters during the fall-winter season, and work conditions for personnel are much more comfortable, and they are becoming aware of how beneficial energy efficiency is,” she said.
Since 2011, USAID has co-sponsored the Partnerships for Better Energy Use project, which helps improve the quality of life in 19 Belarusian communities by encouraging local citizens to develop energy saving initiatives and introduce environmentally friendly technologies.
Increased comfort is just one benefit of improved energy efficiency at the day care center. The program also identified a comprehensive energy saving approach to be introduced through 2016. Among other activities, the program aims to raise parents’ awareness about environmentally friendly practices and engage them in educating their children about the efficient use of resources.
Day care personnel at the Zhaludok center developed games to educate the children in energy saving basics, including eco-friendly puppets that are “responsible” for the effective use of particular resources. They also introduced games that teach children how to efficiently warm houses and eliminate heat loss.
After Sidorovich shared the project achievements with representatives of regional and local authorities, the municipal budget funded the installation of energy saving light bulbs at the center and committed to replacing the remaining old windows. Local authorities will also provide solar thermal collectors for hot water provision.
“The first step is usually the hardest one,” Sidorovich noted. “It was very difficult at the start because we had almost no experience in these matters. But apart from energy efficiency skills, the participation in the project has given us confidence and understanding that, together with the local community, we can solve any problem. Now we can clearly see our goals and we’re not afraid to act.”
Last updated: August 28, 2014