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Gov't moves to cut power consumption

Published:Monday | May 7, 2012 | 12:00 AM

TACKLING INEFFECTIVE air conditioning and lighting will be first on the list of measures the Government will implement to reduce its energy bill.

Richard Gordon, project manager of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programme, pointed these areas out as he gave energy efficient measures at the launch of the programme last Wednesday.

The programme is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and seeks to reduce the energy consumption of the public sector. Noting the lights inside the room at the Jamaica Conference Centre where the programme was launched, he showed the overuse of energy.

"The bulb (for each) is rated at 125 watts, that's more than most of the street lights that are outside," explaining that the electrical circuit attached to each bulb would add an extra 20 watts.

"There are about 140 of them (bulbs) so to light this room, you need approximately 15 kilowatts. The savings for doing that per year is about $2 to $300,000, just for one room!"

Under the energy efficiency programme, he outlined a change from current street lights to LEDs.

"If we were to replace current street lights with LED types, we could reduce the energy consumption to 38.5 per cent of what it is now."

Window air-conditioning units will also be replaced with ductless invertor-based mini-split units.

"These units basically can operate in a range of power so they just don't come on and off. They can operate from a low of 10 per cent to the maximum so that can reduce the amount of power that you will require," he explained.

Model offices

Using the Ministry of Finance's offices as a model, he showed via video presentation how the new units would regulate temperature based on the number of people at the offices.

A third component of the measures involves window tinting, window seals and door sealants. Window and roof treatments will also be used to insulate buildings thus reducing heat load, making the air-conditioning units work less.

He cited that the Bureau of Standards of Jamaica had retrofitted some of its air-conditioning units, reducing the energy consumption there, and the tax office in Constant Spring using natural lighting to reduce the use of electric light.

Roberts also highlighted simple things like closing windows to a room where the air conditioning is running are essential to the programme's success.

"These things seem trivial, but they add up to your bottom line in energy," he said. He outlined that during the programme, in total over 90,000 lights will be installed, 5,000 air-conditioning units will be retrofitted, close to four million square feet of roofing and 75,000 square feet of windows will have to be treated to meet the new standards.