“Even though it was very cold inside the house in the past winters, we did not insulate it due to limited financial and human resources. As a result of learning [from the Simple Solution Campaign] I can now insulate my own house with simple and affordable solutions,” said Ankhbayar B., a resident of the 16th Khoroo of Sukhbaatar District.
The Simple Solutions Campaign launched in Sukhbaatar and Songinokhairkhan Districts three months ago with a call to insulate houses using materials readily available.
“I didn’t know that heat loss would be significantly reduced just by insulating our doors and windows,” explained Ankhbayar B.
Doors and windows are the most common sources of heat loss in a house, so before insulating your home, start by taking simple and small steps to reduce the heat loss of your windows and doors. Depending on your financial situation, you can partially insulate the back of the house or the outer wall of the corner room. Insulation can be done in a variety of ways depending on your financial and human resources. Insulation can be done in a step by step approach that best fits your financial situation and human resources availability.
In addition to the simple solutions implemented by Ankhbayar B., 375 households also joined the campaign by applying simple and affordable insulation techniques within their homes.
According to energy experts in the Switch Off Air Pollution Project, Heat loss can be reduced by using common materials at home – plugging doors and windows with old clothes to prevent air leaks. By implementing the simple solutions that the campaign offers, it is possible to reduce heat loss by up to eight percent.
“This past winter, my children did not catch a cold. We had a very warm winter at home” recalled Ankhbayar.
Simple Solutions provide affordable way to stay warm during pandemic
With nearly 40% of the labor force unable to work due to the COVID19 pandemic, the average household in Mongolia is feeling the pinch. As a result, many households are lacking the financial capacity to fully insulate their houses. As a result, families are forced to endure cold temperatures, poor indoor air quality, and discomfort at home during the difficult quarantine times.
“Due to the strict COVID-19 quarantine, all advocacy plans were changed and, for the first time, an online campaign was required, which was a challenge for the campaign organizers. However, this type of information was in high demand among the public, as many people wanted something to pass the time and improve their home. So our online campaign was more successful than we could have imagined,” said Anukhatan Ts., Community Engagement Specialist at Geres Mongolia.
The “Simple Solutions” campaign will continue to run for an additional 9 months, concluding in December 2021. The campaign has two main activities: online awareness raising; and community advocacy and engagement.
“When we launched our campaign, we also established the Дулаалгын хялбар шийдэл Facebook group. To date, we have reached 2,300 people directly and introduced easy and affordable insulation methods. We encourage everyone to join our group,” said Anukhatan.
In order to reach out to the community, we are working with the Songinokhairkhan and Sukhbaatar District Red Cross Societies. In total, 22 volunteers have contributed their time to engage with their neighbors in the campaign. In addition to these, we have provided 5-cm thick roof insulation to 100 households who spread the information about importance of insulation, distributed related content to their communities, urged their neighbors to insulate. The roof was insulated by the Switch Off Air Pollution brigades together with family members.
“I am very pleased to be working together to educate the people of the district about the importance of insulation online during the quarantine. There is a tendency for people to be very active in providing insulation if they are properly informed about insulation standards and techniques. Therefore, I am happy to increase their efforts to insulate, disseminate accurate information, successfully organize the “Simple Solutions” insulation campaign, and contribute to the comfort of life,” said Javzandulam G., Director of the Red Cross Branch of Songinokhairkhan district.
The “Simple solutions” campaign is part of the European Union-funded “Switch Off Air Pollution” project, and the project aims to create a market for quality insulation in Ulaanbaatar.
“The insulation market is quite new for ger area households and its benefits in the comfort, air quality, health and economical savings are not well known yet. In addition, majority of households living in the ger area have none or very low investment capacity to insulate, and their tendency is to construct or retrofit the house themselves,” explained Beatriz Maroto Izquierdo, The Switch Off Air Pollution project coordinator.
“There was the need of an approach that could easy disseminate knowledge and at the same time encourage households to take actions making them protagonists in improving their habitat. Making it reality with Simple solutions in three months, 375 houses have taken actions so far. I’m glad to see we are moving in the right direction.”
The Switch Off Air Pollution project aims to standardize insulation practices through certified insulation service providers. By using this approach, the project is setting up a market to link customers or the ger area dwellers living in detached houses with good, certified suppliers and specialized energy advisors. The project is forming a market mechanism with access to finance that will increase demand and improve supply chains. It does not only benefit the public, but it also aims to guarantee fair and attractive revenue to all the actors involved to ensure sustainability.