YEREVAN, Armenia – The Sustainable Energy Academy 2016 kicked off on Monday, August 8, 2016, at the American University of Armenia (AUA). The Academy, organized by AUA’s Acopian Center for the Environment in collaboration with the Heinrich Boell Foundation South Caucasus, offered an intensive two-week course on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy management. This year’s Academy included a theoretical and practical focus on building insulation and efficient heating systems.
About 40 participants attended the first week of the Academy, which focused on the theoretical and analytical issues of sustainable energy. “We were pleasantly surprised by the large interest in this year’s Academy. We had 50 applicants from different parts of Armenia and even some internationally,” says Alen Amirkhanian, director of the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment. He adds that the participants included architects, urban planners, power engineers, researchers, and educators.
Among the participants were also public officials overseeing construction or city operations. “OSCE Yerevan office supported participation of five public officials from the Syunik region by covering their transportation and lodging costs,” says Amirkhanian. “We learned a great deal from them about complexities of implementing energy efficiency building codes in the country’s regions.”
The second week of the Academy offered field experience to practically implement what participants had learned in theory. Fourteen of the Academy participants travelled to Kalavan village in Gegharkunik region to insulate the village schoolhouse. The participants worked under expert supervision to thermally insulate the schoolhouse walls by XPS and the roof by mineral wool. In the coming month the burner piping of the school will be replaced with an improved installation to reduce losses and harmful emissions into the building.
Kalavan was selected because of its proximity to forest areas and the interest of village members in protecting their natural environment. The aim of the pilot was to educate and raise public awareness about building insulation and energy efficiency. Furthermore, after close coordination with Gegharkunik Governor’s office, permission was granted to do energy efficiency retrofits on the village schoolhouse.
The long-term aim of the Academy is to create a community of young professionals and students who will be equipped to promote and implement sustainable energy solutions at the building, district/community, and national levels.
To access the project website and resources here.
The AUA Acopian Center for the Environment (AUA ACE), a research center at the American University of Armenia, promotes the protection and restoration of the natural environment through research, education, and community outreach. AUA ACE’s focus areas include sustainable natural resource management, biodiversity and conservation, greening the built environment, clean energy, and energy efficiency, as well as information technology and the environment.