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News Article

September 04, 2014
Govt: SIDS DOCK a 'monumental' step for energy

The Bahamas' signing onto SIDS DOCK at the United Nation's Third International Small Island Developing States Conference this week has been described as "monumental", as it will assist the country by providing access to funding that would allow for the investment in, and deployment of, renewable energy technologies throughout the country.
SIDS DOCK is a treaty designed to help finance the transformation of the energy sectors of small island developing states in order to achieve a 25 percent increase in energy efficiency, generation of a minimum of 50 percent of electric power from renewable energy resources and a 25 percent decrease in conventional transportation fuel use in order to significantly increase financial resources to enable climate change adaptation.
The SIDS DOCK will allow The Bahamas to access grants from a fund that has been contributed to by a number of the developed countries.
Minister of the Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett said: "The signing of the document marked its execution, bringing it into statute and creating a financial mechanism for the SIDS DOCK to be capitalized upon to be able to provide funding for SIDS countries for the transformation from fossil fuels-based generation of energy to renewable energy," Dorsett said.
"This was timely for The Bahamas based on the energy sector reform that we are currently advancing and certainly it will become a resource that could be made available to The Bahamas for the deployment of renewable energy technologies throughout The Bahamas.
"We will be utilizing these funds to focus on the deployment of renewable energy technologies primarily solar," Dorsett said. "There may be certain components where we advance wind, but certainly the photovoltaic systems and solar water heaters will become a priority for us."
Dorsett said a by-product will be energy conservation and efficiency "and helping our citizenry to understand what they can do as a part of us reducing our carbon footprint".
He said the government of The Bahamas has already paved the way in this area by "slashing" customs duties on the importation of solar panels and inverters to advance the renewable energy technology deployment and LED bulbs, to ensure that consumers make better choices when it comes to buying those things.
"The duties have been reconfigured to ensure that you pay less customs duty for energy-efficient appliances to ensure that we point our citizenry in the right direction as far as the consumer choices that they make," Minister Dorsett added.
Data indicates that persons who have switched to solar water heaters, for example, have registered major savings in their energy bills.
"Bahamians do not realize how much electricity is used to create hot water in their homes and the installation of solar water heaters can provide them with cost savings (as) data indicates that persons who have switched to solar water heaters have registered savings in their energy bills from between 15 to 30 percent and so we will be utilizing funds (derived from being a signatory to the SIDS DOCK) to focus on the deployment of renewable energy technologies - particularly solar - throughout The Bahamas."
Dorsett said SIDS DOCK has already been "very helpful" to small island developing states such as The Bahamas in terms of creating new frameworks and policies to advance the renewable energy agendas.

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News Article
Businessman says gov being energy inefficient
October 26, 2010
Businessman says gov being energy inefficient

A Bahamian renewable energy solutions provider has described a week of efforts to clear power-saving lightbulbs with Customs at the Arawak Cay dock as a "maddening exercise", which draws into question just how serious the Government is about encouraging Bahamians to reduce their energy bills.

Philip Holdom, executive manager of Integrated Security Services (ISS), said: "Either the Government needs to drop the tariffs they are trying to levy, or they need to stop going around saying we are promoting energy efficiency. As it is, they either appear to be ignorant, or hypocrites."

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News Article

July 09, 2009
Inconsistency at Customs hits energy efficient firms

BAHAMIAN suppliers of energy efficient equipment and technology are “finding it very difficult to function” because of the inconsistent treatment their imported products receive from the Customs Department, a former Chamber of Commerce president said yesterday, with some shipments allowed in duty-free and others charged the full 45 per cent.

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News Article

November 07, 2011
50M SAVINGS FOR RESORTS IF ENERGY EFFICIENT

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

THE Bahamian hotel industry could slash around $50 million off its annual energy bill if it implemented practices to become more energy efficient, a government minister has estimated, with draft legislation to facilitate "small scale" independent power production now under review.

Addressing an Energy Efficiency Forum organised jointly by the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) and Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC), Phenton Neymour referred to a report by the German consultants, Fichtner, which had shown that Bahamian hotels could enjoy savings of between 49-63 per cent on their existing power bills by implementing a ...

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News Article

October 18, 2011
Get a stamp of approval on the building envelope

A short while ago, I received a flyer promoting some turn-key residential properties that allege to be energy efficient.
The units boasted energy efficient appliances, but beyond that, they were silent. When we talk about efficient or high performing buildings, it is certainly important to ensure that we carefully examine the building envelope.
Although we may not think of them that way, collectively buildings are big consumers of energy.
Indeed according to an article by Alan Macklin published in the August 2011 issue of Modern Building Systems, it is estimated that 40 percent of the world's energy is consumed by buildings, making the management of energy used by buildings a key component in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and frankly reducing the cost of doing business.
This increased emphasis on the performance of buildings worldwide is due in part to legislation.
In fact, in the same article by Macklin he cites the directives by the European Council for 2020 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent, increase the share of renewable energy by 20 percent and improve energy efficiency by 20 percent. The other major factor in this drive is of course money. Because of the rise in energy costs, building management, once the domain of the engineer, has now become a central focus for financial leaders and company CEOs.
The performance of homes is of course just as important to the homeowner who has to grapple with increased spending on energy as well.
Over the years, I have heard numerous persons lament the fact that as hot as it is outside, the inside of their homes is even hotter. This problem can be blamed on poorly sealed, un-insulated homes - a matter that has increasingly been seen as a problem because air-conditioned homes are now commonplace.
From the standpoint of the mechanical engineer, when we look to design an air-conditioning system for a business or home, the projected performance of the building itself is a critical factor in the design process. If we start from the outside, the orientation of the building on the property is important, in that assuming you have sufficient land area to do so, it is better to rotate the building so it is not fully east or west facing but rather experiences sunrise or sunset at an angle.
Avoid the temptation to raze the property before building. Instead, keep some of the trees, as this will reduce future landscaping costs and potentially provide exterior shading to windows.
To improve the performance of your building you need to consider the "R value" of walls and roofs, and to do so, effective insulation is often necessary.  The R value refers to the resistance to heat flow and a higher R value indicates greater insulation effectiveness.
I caution you that before you consider insulation, the issue of moisture control should be examined very closely with your architect and builder. It is very important that buildings are properly sealed to prevent the intrusion of moisture.
Walls should be well constructed with all openings properly sealed.
With reference to home construction, for example, the U.S. Department of Energy describes a wall with an R value of 14.6 or higher as having advanced insulation and those with an R value of 11.6 as standard. Windows should be properly sealed all around to avoid leakage and double paned if budget permits, or at the very least tinted to reduce the impact of solar radiation that makes the interior feel warmer. The same rules apply to any glass doors. Interior shading from blinds or sheers, for example, also helps reduce the load on the air-conditioning system.
Consider making your roof a cool roof. According to the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC), a cool roof reflects (solar reflectance) and emits (thermal emittance) the sun's heat back to the sky instead of transferring it to the building below.  Solar reflectance and thermal emittance are measured from 0 to 1 and the higher the number the cooler the roof.
A lot of cool roofs are white and we can relate to this from feeling the difference between wearing white or black clothes.
Many of us are also familiar with Bermuda roofs that are white. However according to the CRRC there are many cool color products that have dark pigments but are highly reflective. They further predict average energy savings on cooling costs can range from 7 percent to 15 percent.
Therefore, with your building envelope designed and making sure it's outfitted with high efficient lighting and appliances, you will be well on your way to achieving a truly energy-efficient building.
 
Challenge for this week: If planning to build a new office or home, discuss building performance with your architect before plans are drawn.
 
We would like to hear how this article has helped you. Send questions or comments to sbrown@graphitebahamas.com
 
Sonia Brown is principal of Graphite Engineering Ltd and is a registered Professional Engineer

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News Article
Energy Efficiency Could Give You An Edge
August 13, 2012
Energy Efficiency Could Give You An Edge

Do: Make your home energy efficient if you are looking to lower your BEC bill. Having an energy efficient home will appeal to buyers and may just give you the edge you need to sell your home before your neighbor does.

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