A Regional Project Team (RPT), established to develop a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code (REEBC), among other mandates, will be launched in Kingston, Jamaica, next week.
The launch and the first face-to-face Working Meeting with the contracted consultant will be held 30-31 March, at the Jamaica Bureau of Standards. Nine Member States – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago – are represented on the RPT which consists of 19 Members.
The RPT is tasked with developing the REEBC, as well as its associated application documents and Minimum Energy Performance standards for buildings. To do so, the RPT will review the Minimum Energy Performance Standards for buildings as proposed by consultant, Solar Dynamics, in their final report of the consultancy on the Development of Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) for public and commercial buildings in CARICOM Member States. The team will also review the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in an effort to adapt it, where necessary, and present for acceptance and adoption by Member States as a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code.
This development comes against the background of steps the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has been taking to implement energy efficiency measures and renewable energy resources into their energy mix. The much-needed economic transformation, energy independence and security and the reduction of environmental effects from the combustion of fossil fuels, are expected to flow from the implementation of these measures.
In general, energy efficiency measures are highly cost-effective as investments and all stakeholders in the Region need to re-examine the way in which energy is used and to identify ways of using energy more efficiently. The energy intensity index in CARICOM is higher than the energy intensity index of the world and about two and a half times that of the European Union. A continued focus on energy efficiency practices can help mitigate the increase in the atmospheric temperatures and climatic changes over the years. The CARICOM Energy Strategy recommends a 33% reduction in energy intensity to be applied in all CARICOM Member States by 2027.
Improving the energy efficiency potential across sectors and economies is crucial for countries to deliver not only on climate objectives but to also improve their energy security, economic development and citizens’ health. Despite the benefits from energy efficiency, the current “low” oil prices pose a risk for the serious investment and application of more energy efficient mechanisms. Nevertheless, reducing the energy demand through improved energy efficiency makes renewable and non-renewable energy more affordable. In a world of finite resources; improvements in energy efficiency must be maximised.
Buildings account for over one-third of the world’s total energy use and associated Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions; more than half of the electricity produced is consumed by buildings. Typically, 10% to 20% (depending on building type) of the total life-cycle energy consumed is used for the manufacturing and assembly of building materials, construction, maintenance, refurbishing and demolition; 80% to 90% is used, over the life of the building, for heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation, house appliances, etc.
Recently therefore, there has been an increasing trend to promote supranational collaboration to develop international energy efficiency requirements or standards for buildings, such as, via the International Standards Organisation (ISO), International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).
In the same manner, the CARICOM Secretariat and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) are seeking to develop an REEBC. This initiative is being supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, through the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) Programme.
The REEBC is expected to address all of the aspects of energy use in buildings which comprise of, but are not limited to: thermal performance requirements for walls, roofs and windows; day lighting, lamps and luminaire performance; energy performance of chillers and air distribution systems; the electrical wiring system; solar water heating; appliances; renewable energy; zoning of buildings, climate classification and building energy management systems.