Sonia Brown of Green Files talks energy management with LaToya Johnson, country project manager, CHENACT.
1. Tell us about CHENACT: What does it stand for, and what is your role in the project here in The Bahamas?
CHENACT, or the Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action, is an energy efficiency project financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Dutch Fund (GIZ), Center for the Development of Enterprise (CDE), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), government of The Bahamas and Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA). It is being implemented by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) with technical and operational support provided by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST). I am the country project manager responsible for coordinating the project’s activities within The Bahamas. All BHTA members and Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board (BOIPB) members were eligible to participate in the project.
2. Why is this project important?
The objective of the project is to improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized hotels in the Caribbean region through efficient energy usage and effective energy products and systems. As hotel properties become more aware of the ways they are using energy and have identified energy saving opportunities to assist them with managing their energy usage, energy costs will be reduced. Consequently, as hotels save money by lowering the costs associated with their energy consumption, they are able to increase their competitiveness in the hotel sector by having more funds to spend on other hotel initiatives. The project will also provide support for hotel properties that would like to pursue the Green Certification Process which will identify their properties as “green hotels” for guests to visit.
3. Are you able to give us some general insight on your successes or challenges thus far?
During audits, hotel properties received immediate feedback by the energy audit team as they obtained recommendations on current operational processes. They also got some analysis of where energy is being used and where wastage is occurring on and around their properties. Additionally, they were provided with information on technological changes required to maximize the efficiencies around their property. Thus, hotel properties were able to implement some of these recommendations immediately and, as a result, have already started reaping the benefits of the energy audits. The management and staff at all participating hotel properties were very inviting to the energy audit teams as they displayed their warm Bahamian hospitality. The audit teams truly appreciated this, and several of them have indicated that they are looking forward to returning with their families to visit.
4. What changes would you like to see in the way hotels in particular use energy in the future?
I would like to see more “green policies” implemented on hotel properties which will incorporate the entire team in assisting with the property’s energy efficiency goals. Also, I would like to see hotel properties using some of the energy management solutions provided by the energy audit team which will assist with reducing their overall load on the current system. Finally, I would like to see the increased use of renewable energy technology throughout hotel properties to promote the diversification of the energy matrix which will ultimately relieve pressure on the current energy generating processes. It is my hope that these positive changes in energy usage and energy management will also provide a major boost to the hotel sector, as more environmentally-friendly consumers become attracted to the hotel properties and businesses that strive to promote a positive environmental footprint.
Sonia Brown is principal of Graphite Engineering Ltd. and is a registered professional engineer.
The Nassau Guardian
Published: Mar 17, 2015