EBRD and GEF support ‘green’ X-Fit Premium in Tajikistan

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DUSHANBE (TCA) — “I used to be an athlete for Tajikistan’s national team,” explained Aziza Egamova. When X-Fit Premium opened a year and a half ago in the Tajik capital Dushanbe, she started working for the new gym, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) reported on its website.

“I’m happy that we have such a modern, innovative gym. This is the largest one in our country and in Central Asia.”

The gym offers activities and facilities which could easily outshine most competitors in London, Paris or other large cities: a large pool with swimming classes, a climbing wall, large exercise rooms full of spinners and weight-lifting equipment, an indoor football pitch, a squash court, a boxing ring and much more.

Expensive electricity and power cuts are among the unique challenges usually faced by a large-size building in Dushanbe, Ms Egamova said. But the pool, showers and other equipment at X-Fit Premium depend of course on a stable energy supply.

The EBRD extended a US$ 2 million loan to the fitness centre to help it invest in energy savings. The business installed thermal solar panels on its roof, LED lighting and an energy control and monitoring system, alongside other efficient equipment.

A US$ 208,000 grant from the Global Environment Facility, through the EBRD’s FINTECC programme, supported the investment. It helped to ensure the adequate design of the new energy system, calculate relevant savings and provide the necessary know-how to operate it.

“We need to keep the temperatures constant in the building, in the pool and showers,” said Ms Egamova. “The solar panels make sure that we can do this. They also help us to keep costs down.”

Such engineering projects are still a novelty in Tajikistan. The gym is the first one to have adopted such an approach and the results speak for themselves: it has helped them to cut their energy use by 20 per cent.

Furthermore, X-Fit Premium also benefited from various advisory projects, supported by funding from the United States, to improve its marketing activities and accounting systems.

The energy savings are in everyone’s interest: the company can cut costs and provide its customers with high-quality facilities. Even better, the investment in solar power and energy efficiency benefits the environment in the country and globally.

The fitness centre is one of several dozen businesses across various sectors which have benefited from the EBRD’s FINTECC programme: from photovoltaic solar panels for a candy producer in Morocco to a geothermal heat pump for a mineral water producer in Georgia or even an innovative CO2 recovery system for a brewery in Turkmenistan.

FINTECC has given a much-needed boost to climate-friendly technologies in developing and transition countries.

The programme provides businesses not only with finance but also the necessary knowledge to invest in climate technologies to save energy, water and materials. At the same time, it supports policymakers in building the right environment for such investments to thrive in the long run.

Sergey Kwan

TCA