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Guide launched to reduce public-sector energy use

Thursday, February 22, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Government's effort to reduce energy consumption across the public sector has been bolstered through the launch of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EEC) Standards Guide.

Developed by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) through its Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programme (EECP), the Guide contains standards to which ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) will be held accountable in order to lower electricity consumption.

The objective is to ensure responsible energy use at government facilities. The Guide will be made available in April.

Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Dr Andrew Wheatley, said energy efficiency represents a key aspect of the Government's strategy to reduce the country's dependence on high-cost, imported fossil fuel.

“Even now more than ever, we have to ensure that we reduce that dependence on fossil fuel,” he said at the launch of the Guide at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston yesterday.

Wheatley noted that electricity consumption in the public sector during the past five years increased at an average rate of 0.4 per cent per annum while costs have grown to 11.3 per cent.

“In fact, in 2013, the monthly electricity bill of government was an estimated US$13.9 million,” he said, stressing the importance of introducing policies to reduce costs, such as diversifying the energy mix through the use of renewable sources.

Wheatley indicated that the Guide is timely, as it will ensure that MDAs purchase and use more energy-efficient equipment “in a responsible manner”.

“It is critical for us as partners to embrace and adopt these standards that we have developed for the public sector. I am sure that as partners within the public sector, these best practices will be rolled out in the different MDAs,” he said.

The minister also wants to see the best practices adopted in households, leading to a shift in culture in the way energy efficiency and conservation are approached in Jamaica.

PCJ Group General Manager, Winston Watson, is urging every public-sector entity to use the Guide, noting that it provides practical information about reducing energy consumption, which can translate into much-needed savings.

Endorsing the Guide, Training Coordinator at the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Sonia Morgan, said it is “excellent and timely” and will serve to improve energy efficiency across the public sector.

“It is noteworthy that the manual engages all staff at all levels, indicates minimal investment requirements and indicates almost immediate payback,” she said.

She added that it relies on local case studies for validation, which makes it an “excellent guide for us all”.

Other reviews and endorsements of the Guide have come from local academics and professional organisations, including the Jamaica Institute of Engineers (JIE) and the Jamaica Institute of Architects (JIA).

Established in 2011, the EECP was instituted to promote cost-saving measures in the public sector through the implementation of energy efficiency and conservation interventions and equipment.

Over 40 government facilities from the health, finance, education and security sectors have, so far, been retrofitted with solar-control film, cool-roof solutions or energy efficient air-conditioning systems.

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