As the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) moves to become more energy efficient, steps are being taken to phase out the use of incandescent bulbs. On the basis of a mandate from the CARICOM Energy Ministers, plans for the phase‑out programme are now being developed by the CARICOM Secretariat and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and are expected to be completed in September 2018.
The programme, according to Representatives from the CARICOM Secretariat, will include a roadmap to reduce the import and sale of incandescent light bulbs within the region, and will guide and support countries in the establishment of regulations and actions for the phasing out exercise. If all goes according to the plan, incandescent bulbs will gradually be phased-out as energy efficiency standards for lighting are phased-in. The phase-out schedule could begin as early as January 2019 with the 100 watt incandescent bulbs, with further restrictions on smaller lamp sizes entering into force in incremental stages over a number of years.
The decision to develop the phase-out programme was taken at the recently-concluded Meeting of CARICOM Energy Ministers. The Meeting was held at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana on 19 April 2018, and was chaired by Senator the Hon. Darcy Boyce, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister of Barbados with responsibility for Energy. The Ministers took the decision as part of the menu of quality measures that are being undertaken to steer the Community towards energy efficiency and sector regulation.
The incandescent light bulb has existed for 130 years and are inefficient because they waste most of their energy. They are very cheap to manufacture and purchase but only 5% of the input power is converted into visible light, with the remainder converted into waste heat. Hence, they are expensive to operate and lead to high electricity bills for households and businesses that use them. The natural successors to the incandescent bulb are compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). These use 60-90% less energy than incandescent lighting and offer a much longer lifespan.
In 2015, the CARICOM Ministers had approved energy perform standards for CFLs and LEDs. These standards protect consumers from “underperforming products” while simultaneously protecting importers of highly efficient products from competitors saturating the market with “cheaper”, low‑performance products. Effort is being made for the standards for CFLs and LEDs to be adopted at national levels before year‑end as an assurance of quality in the efficient lighting alternatives is a precursor to the removal of inefficient incandescent bulbs from CARICOM markets.
Cuba was the first country in the world to successfully complete the phase-out of incandescent bulbs. In 2007, the Caribbean country banned the import and sale of incandescent bulbs and implemented a programme for their direct substitution with CFLs in households. According to reports, about 116 million incandescent bulbs were replaced by CFLs in every household in Cuba, resulting in peak demand savings of about 4,000 MW and 8 million tons of carbon emissions.
Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code
Among the other steps that the region has taken on the road to energy efficiency is the development of an Energy Efficiency Code for buildings within the CARICOM. Energy Ministers, at the April 19 Meeting in Guyana, also approved the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code, with the accompanying Caribbean Application Document, as the Regional Energy Efficient Building Code (REEBC).
The establishment of the REEBC is a very important step in creating a clear and generally-accepted framework for maximising the efficiency of the “total” energy services in buildings. The approval paves the way for the systematic implementation of the principles and practices related to, among other things, energy efficient lamps and lighting. The phase out of incandescent bulbs is consistent with the requirements of the recently‑approved Energy Efficiency Code for CARICOM buildings.
Within CARICOM, successful implementation of the REEBC could eliminate 15,000 barrels of imported oil (and save around US$ 1 million in foreign exchange) every day.
(News Release by the CARICOM Energy Unit)
A major aspect to the recent 31st Meeting of the Council of CROSQ, in St. Kitts and Nevis was a half-day sensitization seminar on the ground-breaking efforts CROSQ has initialised in the area of energy, with joint-venture support from the CARICOM Secretariat’s Energy Unit.
The workshop, which took place on the first day of the two day CROSQ Council meeting, focused strictly on the increasing energy portfolio of the CROSQ network – namely the Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code (REEBC) Project, which is partnered with the GIZ-REETA programme (German Development Agency, Renewable Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance programme); and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (R3E) Project, which is funded by the German National Metrology Institute (PTB).
Technical Officer, Communication and Information, Ms. Latoya Burnham, who conceptualised the seminar, along with other technical staff of the CROSQ Secretariat explained that the key objective was awareness.
“The main things we wanted our directors to walk away with were – an understanding of the progress made thus far with our energy projects; what the next steps would be, and what would be needed in terms of collaborations and cooperation to make our outcomes successful. Primary among all this of course, was to also hear what their concerns were; their thoughts on the Energy Roadmap that has been devised with considerable CARICOM Energy Unit input and their suggestions to us that could make it all happen.
“The manner in which CROSQ functions makes all our project implementation at the national level; so whatever we do at the Secretariat, has to be rolled out on the ground among our regional people. So at every stage, the consultation, buy-in and clear ideas of the roles different parties have to play must be a central thread,” she stated.
As such, the Communication Officer said she believed their objectives were reached, especially as far as Member States understanding what comes next, how and why.
For the R3E Project, there was a major stakeholder meeting in Guyana in late October, and the Draft Minimum Energy Performance Standards for Energy Efficiency Buildings in the REEBC Project was still in Member States for comment and feedback, a process that remained open until the end of November 2017.
Activities will intensify in 2018 - with the expected approval of the REEBC by the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) and then the development of model legislation for the REEBC along with conferences and stakeholder engagements; and too, the declaration of regional standards for energy efficient lighting, air conditioners and refrigerators in the R3E Project, along with strengthening of laboratory testing capabilities for energy efficiency in these devices.
There will also be a pilot project for the energy efficient labelling scheme in select countries.
Energy conservation and implementation of an Energy Efficiency Building Code are critical to mitigate the impacts of climate change which pose great risks to countries, like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, within the Caribbean.
This was the sentiment was expressed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce in St. Vincent and Grenadines, Mrs. Sandy Peters-Phillips, on Monday, 24 July 2017, when she addressed the opening of the Second Meeting of the Regional Project Team (RPT) for the Development of the CARICOM Energy Efficiency Building Code. The Meeting was held in Kingstown, St. Vincent over two days, 24-25 July 2017, and according to Dr. Devon Gardner, Programme Manager for Energy within the CARICOM Secretariat, signaled the “collective intent of CARICOM to act in a collaborative and cohesive manner to give life an Energy Efficiency Building Code for the region”.
Dr. the Honourable, Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who made an appearance at the technical meeting session, provided critical insight into a number of key issues, especially the legal requirements and socioeconomic considerations at national levels, of which the RPT should be mindful. He indicated that the inclusive approach that was being pursued, with regards to the EEBC development, could contribute toward a balancing of the technical options, which were being considered by the experts, with the national realities and provide to an easier path for country adoption.
At this, the Second Meeting, the RPT reached consensus on a Draft Caribbean Application Document (CAD), just four months after the first meeting was convened in Kingston, Jamaica. The meeting also resulted in the endorsement of a programme of work for the effective, efficient and timely completion of the Regional EEBC.
The RPT, which comprises energy efficiency and standards development experts nominated by National Bureaus of Standards from across the Region, was formally launched in March 2017 with the mandate to review and determine an optimal approach for adapting and developing, an appropriate code for consideration as the Energy Efficiency Building Code (EEBC) for CARICOM.
The first meeting had approved the use of the International Energy Conservation Code 2018 (IECC 2018) as the reference code for the Regional EEBC. Since, a Draft CAD was developed, through a cooperation between the CARICOM Secretariat and the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), and reviewed by Committees established within the Member States that engaged key stakeholders. The revised draft of the CAD will now be open to the general public in Member States for validation.
The EEBC, which will address all aspects of energy use in buildings, is expected to reduce the dependency on imported fossil fuels within the Region by reducing buildings’ energy consumption. Furthermore, it can substantially contribute to compliance with domestic targets for sustainable energy use and global commitments for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction.
The development of the CARICOM EEBC is being supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, through the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) Programme, as well as the Global Environment Facility (GEF), through the Energy for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Caribbean Buildings Project.
Consumers need to be knowledgeable about the appliances they are purchasing, and for this among other reasons, the Barbados government underscored the importance of a new energy project launched recently.
Speaking at the CARICOM Member States’ launch of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project, more commonly called R3E, Minister of Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce told the audience at the Radisson Aquatica Resort in Bay Street, St. Michael that the project was needed “quite urgently” in the region.
“Why do we need it? We need it to ensure that consumers are knowledgeable and interested in purchasing efficient appliance; that retailers see the benefits of selling such appliances and that consumers and business places eventually recognise savings in their energy bills,” Senator Boyce stated.
He added: “In short, this project is important in order to maintain customer confidence in the industry ... and the installation of energy efficient and renewable energy devices thereby facilitating us to achieve the benefit of the reduction in fossil fuel usage and foreign exchange that we now spend to import those fossil fuels.”
He highlighted that the project would use the development of standards and testing services for adherence to standards to ensure the importation of energy efficient appliances, thereby reducing use of foreign exchange by reducing energy consumption and changing the source of generation of energy use in the region.
The R3E Project, said Chairman of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality (CROSQ), Mr. Jose Trejo, was envisaged to contribute to the improvement of lives of the average consumer in CARICOM Member States over the long term, by reducing energy bills in businesses, and assisting in making building more energy efficient through improvement in quality services.
How this project differs from others, Mr. Trejo, who is also Director of the Belize Bureau of Standards noted, was in its application of quality services the energy sector.
“The Project is timely given the regional and international focus which is placed on critical energy issues; and its negative effect on climate change and the impact on the region,” he said.
The aim of the project is to develop minimum energy efficient standards as well as a labelling scheme for refrigerators, air conditioners and lighting; to develop standards for solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels; to establish a mechanism to support standards in the testing of the appliances and the calibration of testing equipment and the temperature of the appliances; as well as an information and awareness campaign to bring about a shift in consciousness of consumers related to choice of appliances and behavioural change.
The Project is funded by the German Government, through the German National Metrology Institute, and implemented by CROSQ and the Dominican Institute for Quality in the Dominican Republic.
It is also expected to complement the work CROSQ in undertaking in relation to the development of Regional Energy Efficient Building Codes.
Regional energy expert and head of the CARICOM Energy Unit, Dr. Devon Gardner told the audience of dignitaries, heads of regional and international organisations, as well as the Directorate of CROSQ that the CARICOM Secretariat had placed matters of energy “very high on its agenda”.
He stated that in 2015 energy efficiency was placed as a priority within CARICOM, and in January this year, the Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) for Energy, approved the pursuance of a strategy for energy in the region, a crucial part of that being sustainability.
“A critical part of that strategy is that we need to improve the efficiency within which energy is used in buildings; and so a part of that refers to the standards and regulations related to building energy use,” he said, noting that this partnership with CROSQ was hoped to bring about positive results in these areas for the region.
Dr. Alexis Valqui, Head of Technical Cooperation for Latin America and the Caribbean with PTB, stated that despite this being the fifth Regional Quality Infrastructure project Germany had undertaken directly with CROSQ, and partnering with INDOCAL, and it would be a learning experience for all concerned.
“Energy already is or will be visible in the future as one of the key issues and those countries or regions that solve the energy challenges will be also competitive in the future.”
R3E, which focuses on Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy Efficiency (EE) in the Caribbean from a quality standpoint, is primarily based on the premise that the introduction of standards, testing and other quality-related services into the RE and EE subsectors, could result in significant changes to the way energy efficiency is viewed and the focus paid by policy makers, retailers, general public and other vital stakeholders in these areas.
Studies have found that “the use of energy-efficient devices, and the application of technologies for using renewable energies in the Caribbean, are impeded by the lack of important QI tools and services such as standards, testing, inspection, certification and labelling. Consumer protection is insufficient, as is the information on these instruments.”
It is a core issue the R3E Project seeks to address. It is funded to the tune of 1 million Euros by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.