The Energy Efficiency in Schools programme, co-funded by local authorities and implemented by the UNDP, is also helping Belarusian schools save money on energy bills. In addition to delivering concrete benefits for Belarusian citizens, improving energy efficiency is key to tackling climate change.
Secondary School N°4 in Dziaržynsk was one the four schools selected as beneficiaries. In 2016, the building was entirely insulated. Old windows were replaced by double-glazed windows, energy-efficient light bulbs were fitted across the school, a heat-recovery system was installed, and solar vacuum tubes were placed on the roof to provide hot water all year round.
Before the programme was implemented, the school had no hot water and indoor temperatures were so low in winter months that children often had to wear their coats in class.
Director Liudmila Luksha says the new equipment now allows her school to offer a more comfortable environment for children while saving up to 1,600 euros per month on energy. On average, energy consumption in the four schools has been reduced by 45 percent for heating and 43 percent for electricity.
In the framework of the programme, 27 teachers received special training and have since introduced activities on energy efficiency into their curriculum. Teachers and students in Dziaržynsk also created a musical show about energy efficiency and toured Belarus to teach other schools about how to save energy.
"Participating in the 'Energy Efficiency in Schools' programme was a powerful incentive for us to live differently, to think differently, and to educate children differently," says Liudmila Luksha.
From 2014 to 2017, the EU's assistance package to Belarus under the European Neighbourhood Instrument amounted to €91.5 million.