Senator Darcy Boyce,
Minister of State in
the Ministry of
Finance, Investment,
Telecommunications
and Energy, Barbados
 
Bridgetown, Barbados — (METERING.COM) — April 2, 2009 – The Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action (CHENACT) program has been launched with the aim to encourage the implementation of energy efficiency practices in the region’s hotel sector and thereby help them to reduce one of their largest operating costs.

The project, which is being supported with a $1 million grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), was launched in Barbados, where it will be piloted. The goal is to replicate its methodology in other Caribbean countries, including the Bahamas, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Guyana.

Energy cost is a major concern for hotels in the Caribbean due to the region’s dependence on imported fuels for electricity generation. Studies have estimated that hotels in the Caribbean could lower their energy bills by up to 20 percent by investing in energy efficiency measures.

A recent survey conducted among the members of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and its environmental division the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST), showed that a significant number of hotels were willing to receive technical advice in relation to energy savings and to invest in energy efficiency as well as renewable micro-generation.

The pilot phase will include detailed energy auditing and understanding of energy consumption patterns.

Energy efficiency measures that will be introduced include energy saving light bulbs, solar water heaters, energy efficient air conditioning, solar water pool pumps, solar cooling, and recycling-reuse of waste for bioenergy.

Funds will also be invested in analyzing energy service companies in the Caribbean to enable them to deliver a reliable and competitive service to the region’s tourism industry, both technically and financially.

Speaking at the launch of the program, Barbados’ minister of state in the Ministry of Finance, Investment, Telecommunications and Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce said that income from savings in electricity bills, a reduction in operational costs, and an increased flow of tourists preferring sustainable energy tourism destinations would be a few of the benefits expected from the CHENACT program.

“The CHENACT program is another step in our pursuit of the use of technologies to reduce our ecological footprint and to make our economies more viable by the reduction in the cost and use of petroleum-based energy and therefore less vulnerable to the vagaries of the fossil fuel market,” said Boyce.

Boyce also said that fourteen government-owned buildings had been subjected to energy audits since the implementation of the country’s Public Sector Energy Conservation Program two years ago. The Barbados government is to invest in retrofits in order to “significantly reduce the annual energy costs in these buildings with payback of those investment costs within four years.”

Other participants in the CHENACT program include the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, United Nations Environment Programme, the CARICOM Secretariat, and the Barbados Light and Power Co. Ltd.