With the high cost of energy affecting their bottom line, small hoteliers across the region are welcoming the introduction of a project that is aimed at fostering energy efficiency in the industry.
The Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Action Advanced Programme (CHENACT AP), is a project geared towards enhancing the competitiveness of small hotels under 400 rooms in the region. It focuses on the hotel’s use of renewable energy and micro-generation and has been successfully piloted in Barbados. It is to be implemented in Jamaica and the Bahamas by the end of this year.
Funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), it has received endorsements from the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM), the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association (CHTA).
Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, describes the initiative as timely and says that it is consistent with the Government’s move to drive down national energy consumption and increase competiveness.
Mr. Paulwell points out that there is s trend towards energy efficiency that is being adopted within the global tourist industry. “The aviation industry is implementing cutting-edge technologies to make aircraft lighter than ever before, commercial flights are beginning to use bio-fuels in their fuel mix, key card systems and energy saving light bulbs are increasingly being implemented in hotel rooms worldwide, and tour operators are asking for energy efficiency throughout their chains,” he explains.
Mr. Paulwell pledges his support for the project, which is being implemented in Jamaica through partnership with his ministry, the JHTA and CHTA.
Through the project, the sector hopes to see more efficiency in energy use in the Caribbean; reduced energy costs to hotels; increased competitiveness in the sector through lower operating costs; increased use of renewable energies with positive environmental impacts; and additional revenue generated from the sale of carbon credits.
In the meantime, Chairman of the CHTA, Josef Forstmayr notes that returns to the hotels from energy savings will come quickly. He is advising members that implementation of the project will allow the sector to be more profitable, more competitive, and they will be able to invest the returns into their product.
Mr. Forstmayr informs however, that only hotels that are members of the CHTA and JHTA are eligible to participate in the project. He is inviting non members to join the associations to take advantage of the project offerings.
“Remember, energy efficiency is not just about going green, and appealing to environmentally conscious visitors, it is a common sense practice that will pay for itself very, very quickly,” Mr. Forstmayr says.
Meanwhile, President of the JHTA, Evelyn Smith, is recommending that investors in the sector take decisive steps toward making energy management a central part of their respective organizational structure.
“We encourage all our Caribbean Hotels and Tourism Association members to embrace this project in the interest of the viability of their businesses, our industry and ultimately, for the benefit of Jamaica,” Mrs. Smith says.
Regional Programme Manager with CHENACT, Loreto Duff-Mayers, says the pilot project was a success in Barbados and many of the models that did well there, will be used here.
“We will be looking to replicate that in Jamaica, but looking, obviously, at the differences between Jamaica and Barbados,” she says.
She explains that funding for CHENACT will come from the Smart Fund, which is a $US10 million loan from the IDB. Hoteliers will be able to accessed loans at 3.7 per cent for energy efficiency.
“We are looking at demonstration models which could be wind or could be solar water heaters in at least two hotels in Jamaica and the Bahamas,” she explains while giving an update of the project.
The major objectives listed for the project include developing energy efficiency models for hotels; conducting energy audits and walk-through assessments for the sector; conducting audits for Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS); analyzing Caribbean Energy
Services Companies (ESCOs); and initiating/accelerating movement towards greater efficiency and micro-generation through the use of renewable energies within the sector.