This project demonstrates to local communities how solar energy can be used for water heating.
“Urkyz IEOW” involves installing a solar complex at an orphanage in the village of
Issyk in Kazakhstan. This project demonstrates a climate-friendly way of saving money and making
life easier, especially for women. It has inspired dozens of families in the region to follow
- 60 infants and toddlers, and 20 adults directly benefited
- In 11 months, the orphanage saved $3,600 and prevented 27 tons of carbon dioxide emissions
- 2,000 people participated in trainings, seminars, and presentations
- 29 families installed similar solar hot water heating systems
The Childrens’ Home of Enbekshikazakh is an orphanage located in the Issyk settlement in the Almaty
region of Kazakhstan. Here, the staff cares for orphans, ranging in age from newborns to three years old.
Due to the lack of a central hot water supply, workers were forced to use electric boilers, electric pots,
and gas kettles to heat water for bathing the infants and toddlers. Furthermore this water is used for
cleaning, washing clothes and dishes, and associated housework work.
This inefficient, inconvenient, time-consuming, and expensive way of getting hot water, caused a difficult
situation at the orphanage. Due to a constant need for hot water, electricity bills ate up a large portion
of the budget.
Orphanage staff, with support including from the GEF
Small Grants Programme, installed four solar water heating systems at the orphanage complex. The
heaters are electronically controlled, and can use electricity for heating when there is no sun. The
orphanage now acts as a demonstration site where locals can visit, and the orphanage staff shows them how
the system works.
Trainings and seminars on solar water heating were included in the project, as well as public
presentations. In response to the demonstration, 29 families are also installing solar water heaters, with
ever more considering the option.
Helping the planet
Solar water heaters have reduced use of electricity and gas. Since energy in Kazakhstan is primarily
produced through the burning of fossil fuels, using less electricity prevents greenhouse gas emissions.
Using less gas conserves the natural resource and prevents potential environmental impacts from the
exploitation of gas resources.
The (mostly female) orphanage staff has gained an efficient, convenient, reliable and cheap source of hot
water, improving their working conditions and making life easier for them. The children also benefit from
improved hygiene, and illness rates have dropped.
The demonstration was designed to be replicated – successfully, as the household installations show.
Continued publicity, including from events like a regional conference, will assure that the project
continues to grow. Local governmental authorities and hospitals are considering going solar in their water
heating, while work with an Asian women’s network helps the experience spread on an international
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