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Government buildings to undergo energy efficient upgrade

Government buildings to undergo energy efficient upgrade


BY year’s end, several government owned and operated building will undergo rigorous changes in an effort to reduce energy consumption.{{more}}

This was stated by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves during his address to the nation on the celebration of Energy Week and St. Vincent Electricity Services (VINLEC) 50th anniversary activities on Tuesday, November 15, 2011.

Gonsalves stated that the staff at the Energy Unit at the office of the Prime Minister recently conducted a comprehensive study which identified several government owned and operated buildings as the larger consumers of energy. According to Gonsalves, the study was done with the aim of reducing energy consumption and improving indoor environment of these facilities. The study was done in July 2011.

Gonsalves said that based on findings and recommendations of the energy audit of 70 government owned buildings; there is a list of energy efficiency measures which are currently being implemented.

Seven of the larger consumers of energy in the state sector were selected as a matter of priority, namely the Administrative Complex, the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, Central Police Station, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Postal Corporation, the Fish Market, Medical Stores, and the Community College, Gonsalves added. He further stated that these building will undergo a rigorous upgrade of energy efficient means.

Speaking of energy efficient changes to be done to the Administrative Building, Gonsalves stated that in addition to retrofitting the building’s air conditioning system, Photo voltaic modules (Solar panels) will be installed on the Administrative Building. This will be done through an Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) Caribbean Initiative project entitled Photovoltaic Project for the Administrative Building, sponsored by the Organization of American States and the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We are going to install on the top of this building 10 kilowatt photovoltaic modules, and this will be grid connected to VINLEC so that if there are times where we have an excess of energy here, it can go into the system (at VINLEC),” Gonsalves stated. He added that the expected savings per month from the installation of these modules will be EC$1,370, and that the investment will pay back for itself in seven years. Gonsalves stated that this project will be started before year end.

The process to retrofit the Administrative Building with a new air conditioning system started in March of this year, and the project will cost is EC$2.4 million, Gonsalves said.

According to Gonsalves, other government buildings listed as the larger consumers of will undergo upgrading of existing air conditioning systems, refrigeration and lighting systems.

“The systems are to use more energy efficient refrigerant gas, and efficient T8 florescent light bulbs. The project costs EC$2.1 million. We are hoping to start this by the end of this year, and the contractors have already been identified by the relevant state authorities,” Gonsalves added.

Gonsalves further stated that the government has other plans with regard to energy conservation which include the government’s exploration of geothermal and wind energy. Gonsalves stated that the government is currently engaged in discussions with several entities regarding the establishment of geothermal and wind energy systems here.

Additionally, the Energy Unit of the Prime Minister’s office is seeking funding for a pilot project for hybrid vehicles, Gonsalves stated.

“The success of the project can see a revised system of transportation in the country where we can see the use of more low energy consuming vehicles,” Gonsalves said.

The Energy Unit has also planned to conduct training on energy consumption from primary levels to tertiary levels in education and has created awareness of energy consumption methods through the publishing of a series of energy conservation tips of appliances, building designs and energy conservation tips for motor vehicles.(OS)