Over the past few years, Barbados has committed itself to a number of sustainable energy targets based on the pillars of energy conservation, renewable energy, and energy efficiency with a major objective being to reduce the level of importation of fossil fuels.
Given the large number of economic and energy related issues such as climate change, energy security and high energy prices that are positively impacted by embracing energy efficiency, the Barbados government has announced its energy efficiency target as 22% of the annual average electricity consumption by 2029.
One Welches in Welches, St Thomas, which opened its doors in 2016 is currently the most energy efficient commercial building in Barbados. For developer, James Edghill, it was, of course, a conscious effort to give full consideration to LEED (energy efficiency designation) principals— not only from an environmental and nationalistic perspective, but also for what he calls “a solid business case”.
“Let’s face it,” says Edghill, “The implementation of energy efficient practices enables us to save money and to be more competitive in the global market. It is simple business.”
Construction Caribbean sat down with Mr. Edghill to discuss how this was achieved.
Reducing Energy Consumption from Air Condition Usage
Construction Caribbean: “According to 2016 statistics from Barbados Light and Power, more than 50% of electricity usage in the commercial sector comes from A/C Usage. How did you address this?”
James Edghill: “This was addressed by looking at the energy profile of the building in a holistic manner, starting with very well-insulated structure and thus less air condition usage. We are proud to be the only building in Barbados with a double glazed insulated curtain wall. One Welches also uses energy-efficient VAC (ventilation and air conditioning) systems that feature variable speed drives and inverter motors”.
Reducing Energy Consumption from Lighting
Construction Caribbean: “According to 2016 statistics from Barbados Light and Power, more than 29% of electricity usage in the commercial sector comes from lighting. How did you address this?”
James Edghill: “One Welches was built with a large format curtain wall which ensures the maximum amount of natural light enters the building. We also make use of LED (light emitting diodes) lighting throughout in the common areas, as well as tenants’ spaces.”
Taking Energy consumption “off the grid”
Construction Caribbean: “Have you made any efforts to use alternative forms of energy?”
James Edghill: “The roof and car parks of One Welches are covered with solar or photovoltaic (PV) panels installed by Williams Solar. In fact, One Welches features the largest Solar Carport and Electric Vehicle Charging infrastructure in Barbados. The 56 bay carport at One Welches, St. Thomas will generate enough electricity to power the Nissan LEAF over 2,100,000 km a year— that’s 52 trips around the world! This is an achievement that we are very proud of.”
Other ways that One Welches is Energy Efficient
Construction Caribbean: “Are there any other ways in which One Welches is looking out for the environment?”
James Edghill: “One Welches uses a sophisticated method of rainwater harvesting for its outdoor irrigation system. Rainwater is collected via a water storage tank and used for irrigation purposes.”
We have a recycling station outside that is used by the tenants and staff. We also sort all of the waste which is generated on the premise for recycling and encourage tenants to bring refuse from their homes.
One of the challenges of doing business in Barbados is its heavy reliance on imported fossil fuels for power generation. The cost of importation as well as the escalating and volatile price of oil, has resulted in our island nation having some of the highest electricity prices in the world. Older structures and businesses are the most severely impacted as they are relying on traditional infrastructure and technologies, and thus it is also harder for them to make the changes required.
One Welches provides the perfect template for future commercial development in Barbados. Through its high standards of energy efficiency, not only does it help the national economy and the environment, but tenants benefit the most from the reduced utility costs.
According to James Edghill, “by paying such close attention to energy conservation, we have been successful in lowering the costs to our tenants— that is we are able to reduce their utility costs by as much as 50%, compared to a traditional building, and all these savings allow them to spend more on growing their businesses – which benefits everyone.”
James Edghill can be contacted at email@example.com
Businesses across Barbados are making significant savings on their electricity bills through changes – some simple and some more capital-intensive. Would you like us to do a case study on your business? Contact Us today.