23 August 2022

In Mongolia, a look back at the energy efficiency actions carried out in a school and a hospital in Arkhangai

Improving educational conditions by optimizing the energy efficiency of public buildings in the province of Arkhangai in Mongolia is the challenge that our Geres Mongolia team has taken on in 2019. Here is a look back at four years of committed action.   

Faced with climate change, Arkhangai, a province with uncertain soil and fragile foundations

-14° is the average winter temperature in the province of Arkhangai, located in the heart of the Khangai mountains in Mongolia. Temperatures here are characterized by a harsh continental climate with increasingly extreme seasons due to climate change. 

 Understanding the climate situation and energy issues in Mongolia

For many decades, the climate has forced the territory’s populations to rely on coal for heating and cooking. Unfortunately, this is very polluting for the province, damaging to the local ecosystem and causing health problems for young people in particular. 

Another aggravating factor is that almost 70% of the territory and buildings in Arkhangai province are located in an area of permafrost, a permanently frozen cryosol that can be dangerous if the ground warms up. 

To secure the infrastructure, improve the living conditions of the inhabitants and increase the resilience of buildings to territorial climate change, the Geres Mongolia team in collaboration with the province (Aimag),  has launched a four-year action plan in 2019. The programme includes studies, construction, renovations and training for an effective and inclusive energy transition. 

Renovation of a nursery in the province of Arkhangai in Mongolia

Analyzing, renovating, training and raising awareness on energy efficiency: four key levers of action of the project 

Indeed, in order to better understand the territory’s building sector, the team had to rank the issues of the public buildings of the “soums” according to their energy consumption and efficiency. 

In total, based on the available data obtained from the local authorities, two studies were carried out: one covering 241 buildings in 18 soums and the other in 62 buildings in six soums in the four regions of Arkhangai. A questionnaire was also sent to 172 households in Erdenebulgan soum.

The results showed many deficiencies in the insulation of the roofs of the buildings. Very often it was found that the floors were also poorly insulated. Most public buildings only partially comply with thermal regulations, offering very little comfort for children and teaching staff. 

Read more about our programme “Energy efficiency and thermal comfort in Arkhangai schools

Renovate and build resilient foundations. The project targeted a nursery school and a hospital to implement thermal insulation and renovation works that can be replicated in other public buildings in the area.

This is the case for a kindergarten in Undur-Ulaan, which is located in a permafrost zone. In the face of climate change, the school had many shortcomings, including heat loss in winter, making it more difficult for children to learn. 

To remedy this, Geres and its partners were able to carry out renovation work in 2021 to reduce heat loss from the building. The energy classification was changed from “E” to “C”, reducing energy consumption by around 54%. This now prevents up to 70 tonnes of greenhouse gases from being released into the air per year.

his video was produced as part of the “Arkhangai Province educational institution building energy efficiency and learning environment” project funded by the French Development Agency in the province of Arkhangai.

Energy audit of a nursery in the province of Arkhangai in Mongolia
Energy efficiency awareness for Mongolian children

Training, raising awareness and financing: essential for accelerating the region’s energy transition

Capacity building is at the heart of Geres’ DNA, in all projects. This is why it is important to note here that these insulation works were made possible thanks to a technical and methodological training organized by Gere and its partner for the employees of the building company.

The project has developed a broader approach initiated in 2017 to raise awareness and mobilize public authorities, associations and citizens around the challenges of climate change.

 “The seminars enabled us to better understand the particularities of energy certification of buildings and to identify the buildings that are certified as compliant (…) We also understood that the energy efficiency of a building is measured over the long term, which justifies the initial budget ». Testimony of Tariat soum Governor M. Buyannemekh of Arkhangai after a Geres training session. 

Convinced of the added value in terms of comfort and energy savings, the public authorities of the province of Arkhangai and the soum of Undur-Ulaan financed about 50% of the cost of the work through the local development fund under their responsibility.

“We are grateful that today the learning conditions of the students and teachers in our nursery schools are much better ». Testimony of Vandandulam S, Head of the Governor’s Office of Undur-Ulaan soum, Arkhangai Province. 

In total, more than 370 public decision-makers, 50 professionals and 4,000 citizens improved their ability to act to improve comfort and reduce energy consumption in buildings.

Geres meeting with local partners

Events, good leverage to raise awareness of energy efficiency in households

Still in the framework of the project in Arkhangai, the Geres Mongolia team wished in recent months to extend its scope of action and expertise to residents. 

Therefore, an event was organized in cooperation with the Arkhangai governor’s office and the local representative office on the theme of “Construction and energy saving” for the population of soum Khashaat. 

For the team, the event was a great success. During the event, ten households including ten houses had their houses insulated. The lighting in these houses was also replaced with energy efficient LED lighting. 

Finally, the event also showed residents the different ways to insulate a house, which materials to choose and, above all, the health, environmental and economic benefits of insulation.  

What’s next? 

Now, in 2022, one year after the renovation of the Undur-Ulaan nursery school, the staff told Geres that teachers and staff, especially the children, would be much more comfortable. 

School officials also reported a reduction in the use of coal for heating. So that’s very good news. 

More broadly, the Geres Mongolia team is now continuing to reach out to new soums in the province, working with more than 150 specialists, builders and decision-makers in the building sector. 

Many meetings are planned, many common challenges are to be faced, but this shows us one thing: that the transition is well underway in the territory.  Based on achieved resultats, the project’s partners are seeking financial opportunities to continue the work.


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