The role of individuals in energy conservation and efficiency across the Region was underscored on Monday during the launch of the Regional Building Energy Efficiency Programme (RBEEP) at the CARICOM Secretariat, Georgetown, Guyana.
Influencing a difference in their outlook and the way that people utilise energy in their own spheres, is one of the key outcomes that the RBEEP hopes to achieve.
The RBEEP is geared at cutting energy use in buildings in the Region while maintaining the quality of energy provided; reducing demand for imported fuel; and stimulating replication in CARICOM.
Speakers at the day-long forum highlighted the importance, not only of changes at the national, policy, administrative and technical levels, but also the critical impact of actions at a personal level.
Dr. Paulette Bynoe, Dean of the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Guyana, who chaired the launch, said it was the expectation that it would usher in a change not only at national levels, but also at the individual level.
“We make choices about energy in our communities, in our homes, in our schools, in our universities, any institutions that we represent, and therefore I think that by the end of today, we can all be persuaded to take positive action to make a difference”, she said.
She drew to the attention of the participants at the launch the strong co-relation between energy use, economic growth and human well-being.
“When we hear the presentations today, we will each begin to think about how this can be implemented in our own personal experience, which is not just our institutions, whether it is the CARICOM Secretariat or the OECS Commission buildings or any other public building, which is the initial focus of this BEEP programme, but even in our homes, because this affects us all, in our own personal lives”, said Mr. Glynn Morris, Programme Leader of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenabeit GmbH (GIZ)/Renewable Energy Efficiency and Technical Assistance (REETA) project.
He explained that the Programme should not be considered as one that entailed people having to “cut back or reduce or somehow endure a hardship” but rather, it was about “maximising the use of energy; maximising the benefits that we get from the same energy or even less energy”. He pointed to the ease with which one “could get more out of our day with lower input”. This, he said, could be achieved without hire purchase agreements, without huge regulatory changes.
“It can be done today, by each one of us and some people in this room have shown that it can be done and that is what we want to support”, he said.
The launch provided an introduction to the BEEP and featured presentations on lessons and experiences of the BEEP pilot programmes at the CARICOM Secretariat and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission; the role of energy management at the Secretariat; and the application of energy efficiency in homes.
Dr. Devon Gardner, Programme Manager, Energy at the CARICOM Secretariat, delivered the feature address at the launch.
The BEEP Document with Operational Guidelines – which outlines the concept, processes and framework, and the importance of implementing an energy management system in buildings – was presented at the conclusion of the launch.
The event drew participation from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the OECS Commission, the Caribbean Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the University of the West Indies, the University of Guyana, University of Technology, Jamaica (UTECH), the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), the GIZ/REETA, Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the CARICOM Secretariat.
The Regional BEEP Programme will be implemented and expanded over the next five years by CARICOM through the Energy Unit with the technical support of development partners such as the GIZ, the European Union (EU) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The incorporation of more energy efficient solutions as well as renewable energy technologies within the framework of an energy management system in buildings will not only benefit the respective institutions economically but also the Region.