Feature
Public-sector workers participate in a group session during the recent Energy Efficient and Conservation Programme (EECP) Workshop which was held at the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Hotel in St. James.
Photo: Serena Grant

Several public-sector officers say they have benefited significantly from the recent Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programme (ECCP) workshop, which was held in Montego Bay.

The EECP is being implemented by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) to, among other things, enhance and promote energy efficiency, conservation and cost savings through initiatives and measures undertaken across the public sector.

Its overarching objective is strengthening of the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology’s (MSET) institutional capacity, in spearheading this endeavour.

The workshop, which was hosted at Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Hotel, was the first of four slated to be held islandwide this year.

They aim to impart information on and assist in guiding the efforts of public-sector entities at ensuring that sound energy conservation methods are being practised.

Social Worker at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s Westmoreland Office, Samantha Miller, tells JIS News that “I gathered a lot of information, such as choosing the proper air-conditioning unit, as well as doing an in-house audit [at my workplace], where I analyse the equipment to see if they are the ones that [will help] to conserve energy”.

Her sentiments are shared by Acting Dean of Discipline at Mount Alvernia High School in Montego Bay, Tashika Yateman Gardener, who indicates that “I learned a lot about energy conservation, which I plan to take back to school as well as to my home”.

“When I go home, I will ensure that I do not just walk into the house, open the refrigerator and look [for an extended period of time]… and I will also ensure that I turn off lights when not in use,” she informs.

Additionally, Mrs. Yateman Gardner says: “At school, we will try to set up an energy management system that we can [use] to get the girls to monitor how they use energy.”

Construction teacher at Grange Hill High School in Westmoreland, Davion Haye, notes that the workshop’s presentations on renewable energy, and monitoring and verification impacted him the greatest.

“I learned about the carbon footprint and how it affects us as well as how to conserve our energy. I also learned about various renewable energy devices and the various methods of calculation that can be used to monitor our energy usage,” he points out.

The EECP’s Project Manager, Jody Grizzle, notes that the capacity-building workshops, which have been staged over the past several years, have resulted in greater synergies and coordination in carrying out energy efficiency interventions across the public sector.

Project Manager for the Energy Efficient and Conservation Programme (EECP), Jody Grizzle (left), addressing public-sector workers attending the recent EECP workshop at the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Hotel in St. James.

 

“The EECP is one of the strategic moves of the PCJ [through which] we want to reduce the amount of money the Government pays on its electricity bills,” she highlights, noting that “we do this through many ways”.

These, the Project Manager outlines, include air-conditioning retrofits, cool roof solution applications, and solar control film installations, which are intended to make buildings cooler, thereby enabling equipment to operate more efficiently, resulting in reduced energy expenditure.

“We use newer and more efficient machines and, therefore, we pay less when we have to pay our utility bills,” Ms. Grizzle adds.

She also emphasises the EECP’s role in building the capacity of public-sector workers who she says are key stakeholders in the energy conservation thrust in government entities.

“It is one thing for us to change out equipment and appliances… but it is another level of impact when you touch lives and give the people who turn on these machines, who procure them and use them, training [in strategies] such as what to buy, how to buy and how to use [the items]. You get better value for your money and that is the purpose of our workshops. When they have this knowledge, they can conduct their own energy audits, [and] they will know which are the most efficient appliances to purchase,” Ms. Grizzle emphasises.

Noting that government entities purchase equipment and appliances periodically, Ms. Grizzle says in so doing, “we want to ensure that we invest our money wisely”.

“There are other benefits that can be derived, once you start engaging with employees. They are a part of homes and households. Once you transform their households, you are going to transform their communities, and once you transform their communities, we will have a new cultural paradigm in Jamaica that is supporting energy efficiency conservation,” she adds.

Among the topics covered in the workshop’s presentations were renewable energy resources, building envelope and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, and electricity monitoring and verification.

Similar workshops are scheduled for May 10 in Mandeville, Manchester; May 31 in St. Ann; and June 14 in the Corporate Area.