An environmental committee has begun the process of narrowing down the first 10 hotels in The Bahamas that will benefit from an extensive energy audit.
The Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficient and Renewable Energy Action Advanced Program (CHENACT-AP), launched last month at the British Colonial Hilton, is a region-wide effort supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The program will spend approximately $5 million on audits and efficiency projects in Jamaica, Barbados and The Bahamas.
"Outreach is underway and we are receiving good levels of interest and feedback from participating hotels," said Stuart Bowe, president of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association. "We hope to commence the first 10 audits by late April and are aiming to select five hotels each on Harbour Island and New Providence."
CHENACT-AP is specifically targeting hotels with less than 400 rooms, many of which are in the Family Islands. The high cost of electricity is widely known to be perhaps the biggest obstacle to sustainable tourism in the region.
As the environmental committee decides on the first candidates, hotels must first meet specifications and provide documentation. A history of bills from the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) is required, as well as an inventory of major cooling equipment and other high-energy consumption machinery.
Candidates must also be willing to provide accommodations for the auditors who may spend several days on the property to administer the audit. In addition, hotels must contribute room nights to the project, which is converted to revenue.
According to the BHTA, the grant covers about 75 percent of the audit costs and the difference is made up through hotel room night contributions and project management support from the organization and the government.
The environmental committee will settle on the selections and make recommendations to the executive committee.
"The program is for hotels that have less sources. The Hiltons, Sheratons and Atlantis have international resources they can pull on," said Frank Comito, the executive director at the BHTA. "It is a bottom line issue for the industry."
For the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, CHENACT-AP is seen as a key step to achieving economic stability and improving the standard of living through the Caribbean. The energy audits are expected to shave considerable dollars off the bottom lines of hotels and resorts, while also leading to the effective implementation of renewable energy options.
The Nassau Guardian
Published: March 15, 2013