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The European Union and Germany are investing in mitigating climate change consequences in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The European Union and Germany are investing in mitigating climate change consequences in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The European Union and the Federal Republic of Germany continuously support energy efficiency projects with the aim of transitioning to a sustainable economy with low carbon emissions. While energy efficiency has been a key priority in Europe for many years, according to experts, interest in investing in savings systems and reducing environmental pollution has only recently increased in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

This article will explore why energy efficiency is important, how it can benefit individuals, businesses and the planet, how important small steps are on this path, and in this context explain the importance of the EU4Business Recovery project, which is co-financed by the European Union and Germany, as well as the Green Recovery component, which GIZ is implementing on behalf of the German government.

Energy efficiency is a vital aspect of modern life and has become a burning issue in recent years. It can help conserve resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and have economic benefits for individuals and businesses. By applying energy-efficient practices in everyday life, we can significantly impact the environment and the economy. 

The term "greenhouse" usually refers to a type of structure used for gardening and is made of transparent materials such as glass or plastic. These structures let sunlight in and trap heat inside, creating a warm and humid environment, ideal for growing plants. 

However, in the context of climate change, this term has a negative connotation. The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that has been occurring on Earth for millions of years and is essential for life on our planet. Without the greenhouse effect, Earth's surface would be too cold to support most forms of life. Human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests, have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, causing the planet to warm at an unprecedented rate.

“Efficiency generally means effectiveness, i.e., with efficiency we measure with how many means and activities a certain result was achieved and what the quality of the achieved results is. When it comes to energy, we measure energy consumption per unit of product or service performed. The lower the energy consumption per unit of measure, the more efficient we are. Additionally, we also reduce the emission of pollution", explained Sanda Midžić Kurtagić from CENER, adding that compared to the period up to 2015, when energy consumption was not particularly thought about, industrial companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina have continuously been working on improving energy efficiency in recent times. 

Positive effects of introducing energy efficiency in companies

But what about the pollution and emission of harmful substances that are created in production? And how can investing in energy efficiency have a positive effect in the context of mitigating the effects of climate change?

For businesses, certain effective strategies include upgrading to energy-efficient equipment, implementing energy management systems, improving building insulation, all preceded by an energy audit of the company. 

According to Sanda, the company "Ramex" from Kladanj is a good example of a responsible company from the wood industry sector. It has analysed all main and auxiliary production processes and identified areas that need intervention in order to improve energy efficiency. 

“All the investments they have made will pay off over time, because costs will be reduced due to energy savings. Most often, such measures have a payback period of up to three years," said Midžić-Kurtagić.

As Jasminka Hadžiabdić from the company "Ramex" explains, the most difficult step for companies is to learn of bad practices that lead to heat and electricity losses. 

“For many years, our company has been producing solid wood furniture, primarily beech. In our production cycle, we start with a log and end with a product packed in a box and ready for sale. Our biggest customer for for almost 20 years was the Swedish company IKEA. Thanks to this cooperation, we have adopted a significant number of good practices that we still apply today", said Hadžiabdić. 

Revision of energy efficiency, as Hadžiabdić states, is an important step towards reducing energy consumption and saving money on energy bills. By identifying opportunities for improvement, building owners and facility managers can make decisions about how to prioritize energy efficiency improvements and investments.

“Since last year, we have been working simultaneously on long-term and short-term plans. We have hired a consulting firm to prepare an energy audit because we want to get an objective picture of our biggest energy losses as well as our biggest potentials in terms of investments, in order to rehabilitate large losses in the future and create preconditions for the production of electricity from our own (renewable) sources," explained Hadžiabdic. 

The company A.D. LOGISTIC d.o.o. from Mostar is conducting an energy audit as part of the EU4BusinessRecovery project, which is financed by the European Union.

“I think that the preparation of an energy audit is very important because our ultimate goal is a green economy, which will be a dominant part of business activities in the future, and that companies that are not oriented towards green economy will not be able to respond to the demanding market rules. By creating an energy audit, we get information about which investments and changes are needed to increase the energy efficiency of an office building," stated Zlatko Katica, project manager at A.D. LOGISTICS.

The company "Ramex" explains how they decided to take small steps and start with simple and cheap solutions, and then prepare for larger and more complex investments that will bring long-term benefits. 

“In previous years, we have done some smaller projects: installation of motion sensor lighting in all supporting facilities, electric forklifts (instead of diesel engines), replacement of safety valves from compressors to machines, additional insulation of heating pipes, change of lighting in production halls where we have lowered the lighting fixtures and turned them towards the work processes, installation of LED lighting, procurement of an electric pallet jack, additional insulation of heating pipes", Hadžiabdić explained.

Start of the energy transition in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Zlatko Katica from A.D. LOGISTIC said that Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite its bright examples, is currently lagging behind companies operating on the European market, and that we are currently in the initial phase of investing in energy efficiency. 

“In the last few years, we have witnessed companies from Bosnia and Herzegovina adapting to the conditions and ways of doing business on the foreign market, which means that companies are increasingly deciding to conduct energy audits; they no longer consider them an "unnecessary waste of money", and they are focusing their business on the green economy, Katica said.

National governments across Europe also have their own energy efficiency policies and initiatives, which can include financial incentives to improve energy efficiency, public education campaigns and mandatory energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances.

Within the EU4BusinessRecovery project, GIZ has started cooperation with the Ministry of Economy of the Canton of Sarajevo in order to jointly support the energy transition for small and medium-sized enterprises from the area of the Sarajevo Canton.

“We are aware of major changes on the global socio-economic level and, accordingly, the energy crisis that has generated an unprecedented increase in energy prices, which, along with all the other challenges the economy faces, represent additional concerns and costs. On the other hand, in the next few years, energy transition and the decarbonization process are inevitable for all our companies that export to the European Union. This is why we consider it our duty to be available to our entrepreneurs, in order to at least partially facilitate this period of transition and adjustments", explained Adnan Delić, Minister of the Ministry of Economy of the Sarajevo Canton.

Since GIZ BiH on behalf of the German government is already implementing the energy transition program for SMEs, cooperation with the Ministry of Economy of the Sarajevo Canton will enable a better and more efficient implementation of the project.

“Together with the Ministry of Economy, we will co-finance the preparation of an energy audit and its implementation for a certain number of SMEs from the area of Sarajevo Canton that express interest and apply for a public call that is currently open," said Danija Krieg, manager of the EU4BusinessRecovery project.

The European Union, as well as Germany, finance and support a number of energy efficiency projects, including research and innovation projects, regional development projects and financing of energy efficiency measures in the public sector. These projects help to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and to promote a more sustainable, low-carbon economy, ultimately mitigating the effects of negative climate changes.

The "EU4BusinessRecovery" project aims to provide support to Bosnia and Herzegovina in mitigating the consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The project is worth 13.7 million euros, and is co-financed by the European Union with 13 million euros and the Federal Republic of Germany with 700,000 euros. It is jointly implemented by GIZ, ILO and UNDP.

Green Recovery is a component of the EU4BusinessRecovery project, which is financed by the German government and implemented by GIZ.

For more information about the EU4BusinessRecovery (GIZ) project, please contact: 

Mirna Mekić, Communications Specialist

Tel: +(387) 33 564 533 or 061 699 853

E-mail: [email protected]

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