Ima Khrenova-Shymkina

We need an energy efficiency specialists squad!

Ima Khrenova-Shymkina,
Deputy Director of the Project «Promoting Energy Efficiency and Implementing the EU Directive on Energy Efficiency in Ukraine» Giz Gmbh

Concerning energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is a crucial topic for the country. This is the path to energy independence. But it is not only our will, but also our duty. We have signed an Association Agreement with the EU and made commitments to implement energy efficiency documents on the legislative level. On behalf of the German government, we have been working for 5 years at GIZ to help the Ukrainian government to develop legislation in the energy efficiency sector. Our political partners are the Ministry of Community and Territorial Development, the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Cabinet of Ministers, and the Verkhovna Rada. We contribute to improving the expertise and work in specialist teams of these bodies. The law «On Buildings Energy Efficiency» has already been adopted. It has also been several years since the law «On Energy Efficiency» has been developed and prepared, which deals, in particular, with energy efficiency in enterprises. But the government change has slowed its adoption.

Concerning the practice of implementing energy efficiency

A pilot project was implemented in the building of the Ministry of Community and Territorial Development to demonstrate all the benefits of implementing energy efficiency measures. We started with the reconstruction of the heating system and the installation of a heating station - GIZ provided funding, conducted training for the ministry employees. But after the installation of an individual heating station, the ministry's representatives were unable to obtain a permit from Kievenergo, which started demanding additional technical specifications. Such a paradox is that the people who actually drafted the Law «On Buildings Energy Efficiency» cannot explain to a large energy company that these papers should no longer be required. Absurd situation. Now this bureaucratic machine with the help of lawyers has already begun working - an official letter has been issued explaining that it is not necessary to approve the installation of an individual heating station. This is no longer an innovation, but a technology, appearing even in schools, common to the country. For example, with the support of GIZ, such projects have already been implemented in more than 30 educational institutions. This letter will be useful to all owners of buildings where individual heating stations are installed, such as housing cooperatives. This is the practice of implementing energy efficiency technologies. But it is difficult only at an early stage.

Concerning those responsible for energy efficiency measures

We often hear statements like, «Then let the ministry implement that energy efficiency». A need to explain who owns buildings and who is responsible for energy efficiency arises. Officials are responsible for the government buildings. For example, the Secretary of State is in charge of the Cabinet, the minister is responsible for the ministry. The mayor is responsible for the buildings of educational institutions like kindergartens and schools. When it comes to a house, neither the mayor nor the ministers have anything to do with it, and we are all, as co-owners, responsible for it ourselves. Residents of the houses can only demand the creation of assistance programs. Such a program is available at the Energy Efficiency Fund. The German government provided 20 million euros for its formation, and the EU 80 million. There are local programs, such as 70/30 in Kyiv. Municipalities have already learned to take advantage of these opportunities, create city development plans in the field of energy efficiency, allocate funds themselves and attract funding from international organizations.

Concerning payers

When it comes to credit money taken by the state or the city for energy efficiency measures, it is a financial obligation that falls on the budget. That is, we pay for all these activities. After all, there is no other state or local money, except for the money going to the budget from the population. And if the money is ours, then the responsibility is ours as well: for those whom we have chosen to manage budgets, for how they are coping with this task.

Concerning energy efficiency in business

The project to improve energy efficiency at enterprises has been operating for almost 4 years. This is a large and important sector. GIZ started by conducting energy audits at enterprises free of charge. At first everyone hesitated, then realized their necessity. In total, more than 65 energy audits were conducted. During this process, another problem arose - the country does not have the number of specialists who could do energy audits for companies, because, in fact, there was no demand. So, we have developed a training program for energy auditors for industry.

Concerning education and human resources

We are now approaching a new component of the educational program - advanced training and the introduction of knowledge about energy efficiency from childhood. The German government is working with schools, vocational schools and universities in this direction through GIZ projects. Why is this important and why in this order? It is necessary to involve children so that they understand what energy efficiency is and pursue education in this sector. In order for them to realize that there are prestigious and very popular professions. For vocational education, we develop the latest programs based on the experience of Ukrainian and German experts who have implemented projects in Ukraine and know what knowledge our specialists lack. Energy efficiency innovation hubs have been established at a number of universities. A special course «Author's supervision in energy efficiency» has been developed, it is already being implemented, for example, in Dniprohab. Other hubs in Kharkiv and Chernivtsi are also following this path. We are transmitting this program to the Ministry of Education and Science so that they can recommend universities to introduce it throughout the country. What is the use of this course? I can explain by providing an example. Once, we along with a German architect inspected the construction site and noticed that the adhesive for insulation was not applied according to technological standards, and this would affect the performance in the future. That is why in the Ukrainian legislation, as well as in the European ones, there is a position of a specialist who carries out responsible author's supervision over the implementation of technological norms to control over the standards. Such supervision should be carried out by specialists who are well versed in modern technology, know what and how to do and what to check.

Personally, I think we need a sheer number of specialists: ranging from an architect, a designer, to a person who works on a construction site and actually lays the foundations for energy efficiency with his own hands. Because unless this worker complies with the rules set out in the documents, we will not get savings and will not be able to use the invested money effectively. Quality matters the most.

Concerning the «green» transition

We all need to implement ecological climate measures together to have clean air and water, to become not only an ecological country, but CO2-neutral and comfortable to live in. First there was the Paris Agreement, now the Green Deal. Everyone hears «green» and contemplates: this is about ecology and green energy. But it is much more. This is energy efficiency. Agriculture also constitutes a part of the Green Deal. These are supply chains. If we buy seasonal products from local farmers, we are already part of the Green Deal. This is also a step towards changing the situation. Secondly - mobility. What kind of transport do we use? Whether we drive in our own car, which burns gasoline, or all together on environmentally friendly electric vehicles - this choice is crucial. We can see the pollution level right now in Kyiv. The norm is 40, the factual rate is 105. The private sector near Kyiv is 110. People go to live outside the city to breathe fresh air. Why don't they find it there? Any ideas? Because the waste and leaves are burnt, beyond that solid fuel boilers are popular now. Indeed, it is more energy efficient, but it harms the environment very much. Therefore, energy efficiency is combined with environmental awareness, so that we achieve the effect we seek. Now everyone wants to get rid of central heating, but efficient central heating is more environmentally friendly and cheaper. It can work not only on fossil fuels. It is all about the Green Deal.

Concerning the country's progress in energy efficiency

If you look at what happened 10-15 years ago and the current situation - changes in the implementation of energy efficiency are obvious. A lot has been realized during this time. But now we are observing a suspension of the pace of change. It is very important for the country to choose its «green» course. We need to move forward confidently and boldly. We have chosen a course towards Europe, and Europe aspires to become «green» and carbon-neutral. We need to emphasize these objectives, communicate with each other. Communication is very important. We need to talk more openly with each other. What do we breathe? Do we have clean water? About what we need to get rid of, so that in 10-20-30-50 years our children breathe clean air. We need to discuss more truly important topics, set goals, discuss, make clear plans and implement them. We should not be afraid to move, because when you choose the right path and follow it confidently, there will always be like-minded people, supporting you. The German government helps Ukraine a lot, the EU and USAID help as well - our country has so many great friends! During these 30 years, during which they support us, we have had a lot of positive changes.

Concerning the price and values of the «green» transition

In Europe, garbage is sorted, and people consciously pay for it. German residents can choose an energy supplier. And even when clean energy is more expensive, many people decide to pay more because they realize the importance of clean energy. For example, they choose to go to work by bicycle instead of a car. The result of successful communication is trust in the government, dialogue with people and perception of a common goal. It all affects everyone's habits. And we have a lot of such changes: people buy electric cars, change to bicycles, they are open to the new, to positive change. With the right communication, we will all change our habits to those that will promote a «green» transition.

Reference: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH supports the German Government in achieving its goals in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. The priority areas of Germany's cooperation with Ukraine are: effective government, energy efficiency and climate protection, sustainable economic development. Cooperation with Germany also covers overcoming the crisis in the east of the country. At the same time, special attention is paid to the support of Ukrainian communities that have received internally displaced persons.