In Eastern Europe, the municipalities of two Armenian towns are working with global non-profit housing organization Habitat for Humanity to improve energy efficiency in multi-dwelling blocks and public buildings by using solar power.
The municipalities of Spitak and Vayk are part-financing the €1.7m project, which is co-funded and supported by the European Union.
The energy efficiency initiative will cover 45 multi-apartment blocks (27 in Spitak and 18 in Vayk) as well as a kindergarten in Spitak, reports ARKA News Agency.
Greg Foster, chairman of Habitat for Humanity Armenia council and deputy head of regional office for Europe, Middle East and Africa, emphasized the importance of energy efficiency within high-rise buildings as well as common households.
"The lack of effective energy savings is obvious in Armenia and has direct impact on the social situtation [of] families. We hope that this project will help thousands [of] people in Armenia."
According to the news agency, Armenia's deputy minister of energy and natural resources, Hayk Harutiunyan, said that solar power "is a beneficial direction in Armenia". He added that Armenia's solar capacity stands at 1,700 KW hours and can reach up to 2,000KW in some regions of the country.
Electricity savings through solar
The news come as a positive move toward raising energy efficiency in a country where nuclear power accounts for 30% of current generation. Other sources include heat power plants (41.9%), and a small percetage of renewable power sources, including hydro power (29.2%), wind energy (0.03%) and geothermal, which is currently being explored.
The four-year project, which began in January 2015, is scheduled to be complete in 2018 and is expected to achieve a 15 to 30% increase in electricity savings.
The deputy energy minister also said that solar energy has the potential to cover up to 80% of hot water demand in Armenian households.
Better housing for Armenia
Habitat for Humanity has helped improve housing conditions of more than 3,500 houses and apartments in Armenia since 2000, and implements work in all regions of Armenia including Yerevan, Aragatsotn, Armavir, Kotayk, Ararat, Lori, Tavush, Vayots Dzor and Gegharkunik.