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Habitat Observatory

    Saving Trees and Warming Houses in Northern Pakistan
  The villages in the Hindu Kush and Karakoram region of North Pakistan are witnessing a shift towards using greener sources of energy. About 27,000 families in this area have installed a total of 50,000 energy saving products such as energy-efficient cook stoves in their homes contributing to a 50% reduction in their household wood consumption.

Traditionally all rural households in this region have used wood as their primary fuel for cooking and heating. In 2009, wood consumption per household in this region was 7.7 tonnes per year. After the installation of these energy saving products, household wood consumption per year in this area has reduced to 3.9 tonnes per family. This change has contributed to a cumulative yearly saving of almost 100,000 tonnes of wood. Besides making a significant contribution to saving trees from being cut, this shift towards using greener sources of energy has also positively impacted the quality of life of the villagers as a result of breathing cleaner air inside their homes. Wood-burning stoves used for cooking and heating earlier contributed to high levels of indoor air pollution affecting the health of the families adversely.

This positive success story can be attributed to the Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan’s (AKPBSP) - ‘Building and Construction Improvement Programme (BACIP)’. The main goal of this innovative programme is to improve the quality of rural buildings and simultaneously to counter deforestation by reducing the quantum of wood used for household purposes. Energy-efficient products and other improvements for homes are developed in collaboration with the end users. These energy saving products include energy-efficient stoves, water-warming facilities, roof hatch windows, and floor and wall insulation.

Local entrepreneurs are then trained to manufacture these products designed and developed based on this partnership approach. One household is identified in each village to act as a demonstration home. Simultaneously, resource persons are identified in the villages who work to promote these products for a commission. Their role is to coordinate purchase and delivery, help with installation of these products and provide regular follow up to ensure that customers are satisfied with the use of these energy saving products.

Out of all the products developed till date under this programme, 90% have been purchased by the villagers. The remaining 10% have been provided to the households for demonstration purpose.

The microfinance institution of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has recently started a joint scheme with Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBSP) to provide loans to the villagers for purchasing these energy efficient products. The loans are given to a group of borrowers in a village and group members undertake to act as guarantors for each other.

The Building And Construction Improvement Programme (BACIP) successfully works with all ethnic communities in the region on a village by village basis. Work starts in a new village with a road show to promote these products. Alternatively, a bus trip is arranged for the villagers to visit a nearby area where these energy efficient products are already in use.

After the successful implementation of this programme in North Pakistan, Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBSP) is now planning to secure CDM funding to promote the installation of these energy efficient products in 17,000 rural households in Tajikstan over the next three years.

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    Alternate Energy: Giving bright solutions
  Ekmaya, from Dhaubadi, a remote village in Nepal, has found that her life has been completely transformed by the deployment of a small wind power system in her village. It has brought light and hope in her life as well as in the lives of the people of the Dhaubadi community.

Earlier, as homemade kerosene lamps were used in the evening, she had to rush back home before dusk from the field to cook and for household chores, so that it is done in day light. With the clean energy, she does not have to worry about finishing work before twilight. She can reach home when she wishes as there is a new energy source giving her light.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) in partnership with the local community and government installed two wind turbines of 5 KW that is now serving 46 households in her village. For long term sustainability, a collective called ‘Hoorhoore Danda Cooperative’ was formed. The cooperative is managed by the community members. The people have developed their own mechanism for the management and maintenance of the energy system so that they can have regular access to energy.

The cooperative generates revenue from the payment made by the residents for the use of energy. The revenue is utilised for the management and maintenance of wind turbines, development of community infrastructure and loan facility for the benefit of the people.

Seeing the success, the project adopted an integrated approach using locally available renewable energy sources such as solar energy and bio-gas besides wind energy are also made accessible to the people. Solar cookers, dryers and bio-gas systems have been introduced in order to reduce substantially the need for burning firewood and agricultural byproducts. The target is to alleviate energy poverty, protect local environment and achieve inclusive and sustainable growth in poor rural areas suffering from acute energy shortage.

With the taste of success and the availability of electricity, the cooperative is very enthusiastic and is planning to set up a centre of information, telecommunication and entertainment to connect with the outside world. Most importantly a much needed health clinic will be constructed.

Sultan H. Rahman, ADB Director General for South Asia Regional Department, says, “This is just the beginning. These systems are highly adaptable for different countries. Providing energy for all by using clean energy is a win-win solution for development.”

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