March 26, 2010
Energy efficiency study to be done on Government buildings

GOVERNMENT is exploring specific recommendations for conserving and improving the use of energy in Government buildings.{{more}}

The workshop, convened on Thursday, March 18th, at the Methodist Church Hall, focused on just that, and was hosted by the National Energy Committee, in collaboration with the Ministry of Telecommunications and St. Vincent Electricity Services Ltd, VINLEC.

It was held under the theme ‘Energy Efficiency: an Easy way to Save Energy; and Energy Efficiency in the Government Sector: how to save energy with attractive pay back periods’.

It is also a precursor to the Energy Efficiency Study which began in January 2010.

The Energy Efficiency Study of Government Buildings is funded by the European Union (EU), under the Special Framework of Assistance (SFA) 2006.

It is expected that funding will be made available to implement some of the recommendations from the study.

Leonard Deane of the Energy Unit said that recommendations from the report will go beyond simple instructions to turn lights off.

He also said that the Energy Efficiency Study intends to target the highest energy consuming government buildings.

The study will focus on the buildings that display highest potential for energy savings, seek to maximize use of available resources, and develop energy saving strategies and schemes that can later be replicated to lower energy consumption, this according to Deane.

Dr. Jerrol Thompson, Minister of Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Industry, said that the continued use of fossil fuels indicate that “we are going to see a substantial amount of environmental as well as financial problems.”

He added that this is clearly seen by the current drought in the country and that it is a clear statement that global warming exists for Small Island Developing States.

Dr. Thompson said that for the past 50 years, Caribbean governments have relied on utility companies to lead the charge for electrification for the industrial process, domestic use, rural electrification, and the major thrust in tourism and hotel development.

The prospect of new rounds of higher oil prices and the need for cleaner generation demands the adoption of new approaches, including conservation, renewable energy technology and acquiring stable sources of fossil fuel, he said.

According to Sir Vincent Beache, Chairman, National Energy Committee and Board Member of VINLEC, the cost per month for electricity services for government buildings is $60 000.

When persons waste electricity at home or at work, it does not cost VINLEC, anything because it is all recovered in the fuel surcharge, Sir Vincent said.

He added that individuals will ultimately pay for their wastage, even if they are not in their homes.

A second workshop is scheduled for the end of the study in October 2010 where a draft final report will be presented with details of the findings.