Improving energy efficiency in buildings in Georgia is a significant objective not only for those of us among the citizenship and business community of the country, but for the energy community as a whole. The first step to achieving a bigger impact is to improve overall understanding, awareness and knowledge of the importance of energy efficiency as a complement to other national actions to reduce fossil fuel use in the future and improve energy security.
The Georgian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, with the support of the European Union and KfW development bank, and in partnership with the German independent energy consulting company GOPA intec, hosted the kick-off event of the campaign “Make Your School More Energy Efficient” as part of the Georgian Energy Sector Reform Project (GESRP) project, last week.
Started in 2021, the Georgian Energy Sector Reform Project (GESRP) is supporting the Government of Georgia to strengthen its capacities within the Energy Sector, and, in particular, within the areas of Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Renewable Energy and the Power Market in line with Georgia’s obligations, as a Contracting Party to the Energy Community.
“Energy reforms are underway in Georgia, for the successful implementation of which the awareness and involvement of the public are of the utmost importance,” notes Romeo Mikautadze, First Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia. “The competition ‘Make Your School More Energy Efficient’ aims to raise awareness and change the behavior of children of school age regarding energy efficiency issues.
“Energy efficiency not only helps us save energy but also plays an important role in reducing our carbon footprint and impact on the environment. I believe competitions such as “Make Your School More Energy Efficient” will contribute to the promotion of European practices of energy saving in Georgia and raising awareness of energy efficiency, which, ultimately, will have a positive impact on the country’s sustainable future and energy security.”
This competition will help schools adopt European energy-saving practices, reduce energy and water consumption, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable future
GOPA Intec, a German independent energy consulting company specializing in the optimization of different energy supply methods around the globe, at the beginning of the year, announced a competition for Tbilisi schools to participate in the international, EU-funded campaign project. The four-month ‘Make Your School More Energy Efficient’ campaign, running March – June 2023, is set to help schools introduce European energy-saving practices and encourage energy efficiency. The 10 chosen school teams will create and develop their own energy efficiency Awareness Raising Campaigns that can be used to influence the behavior of the school, and ultimately those connected to the schools and the wider community. CENN (with support from Energy Cities) will guide, monitor and publicize the process.
The selection of the 10 Tbilisi schools was based on their motivation letters and the described activities in the application form. Schools with a strong commitment to energy efficiency and a team of at least 10 students from different grades, as well as a responsible teacher, were selected.
They will receive trainings on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Audits of the schools will be carried out so as to improve their energy and water performance using the voluntary tool introduced in the European Union – Display Campaign®, which aims to encourage countries to make buildings more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
In June, certificates will be issued to the students and teachers of the 10 selected schools, and three schools with the best campaign will be awarded by experts with technical equipment and other themed gifts from the GESRP project.
The “best campaigns” will be decided based on their sustainability, scalability and content.
GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Margalita Arabidze, Head of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Policy and Sustainable Development Department of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, to find out about their interests and involvement in this project, and the expected results.
“Our ministry is committed to promoting energy efficiency and sustainable development in the country,” she tells us. “Consequently, we recognize the importance of advocating these issues in the education sector. This competition aligns with our objectives to reduce energy consumption, promote renewable energy sources, and raise awareness about energy efficiency. We believe that “Make Your School More Energy Efficient” will help schools adopt European energy-saving practices, reduce energy and water consumption, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable future.”
GESRP provides legal, technical and advisory support to the Georgian government to further develop more aligned legislation, regulations, and policies
We also asked her about the scalability of this project and potential for other schools to be involved in a similar way in future.
“While the focus of this project is on the 10 selected schools, we hope to expand the concept to include more schools from different regions of Georgia in the future,” Arabidze tells us. “We hope that the skills and knowledge gained through this project will help the students, as well as their parents and teachers, become more mindful when it comes to energy saving. Promoting energy efficiency and sustainability in schools is part of the Ministry’s larger goal to raise awareness on these topics throughout the country, from representatives from the building and financial commercial sector, to the general public. We believe promoting education and awareness on energy efficiency and renewable energy is one of the best ways to ensure a more sustainable future.”
Schools participating in the competition are:
1. Tbilisi public school 169
2. Tbilisi public school 71
3. Cervantes Gymnasium “Aia-Gess”
4. Tbilisi public school 106
5. Vladimir Komarov Tbilisi Physics-Mathematics Public School 199
6. Tbilisi public school 51
7. Private school “Jejili”
8. Tbilisi public school 178
9. School “Dea”
10. Tbilisi public school 177
Senior Advisor of the international consulting company GOPA-intec, Vakhtang Begashvili, summarized the support given to the Georgian government to further the global energy efficiency goals.
“The Georgian Energy Sector Reform Project is an EU-funded technical support project for the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, managed by KfW development bank and implemented by GOPA intec,” he tells us. “GESRP provides legal, technical and advisory support to the government to further develop more aligned legislation, regulations, and policies in line with the directions of the Energy Community, along with strengthened capacity building, across the energy sector, but in particular, in implementing greater Energy Efficiency, with a focus on buildings, laying the foundations for increased Renewable Energy and promoting a more open and competitive power market facilitating greater future trading to strengthen the country’s energy security.”
“CENN has been working with youth for many years to strengthen their participation in sustainable development processes,” says executive director of CENN Nana Janashia. “We believe that youth is the most progressive part of society, which can bring real changes, and education is the main determining factor of these changes. Therefore, a large part of CENN’s activities is devoted to the environmental education of young people, especially students, raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals and, therefore, encouraging behavioral change. With our many years of experience, we can say that inter-agency cooperation is crucial in these processes, and we are glad that we are part of this project together with the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and GOPA-intec, and that we have the opportunity to talk to young people about energy efficiency, advocacy and the mechanisms of community involvement in these processes. I am also glad to see so many motivated young people and teachers. There were many more who wanted to participate in this campaign, but at this stage, only 10 schools were selected. We believe that this will be an example for other schools and energy-efficient approaches will be introduced in all schools in Georgia.”
By Katie Ruth Davies