This makes it imperative to ensure that buildings are designed and built to operate efficiently.
This was a core message delivered by Energy Advisors in the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) project at the Trinidad and Tobago Green Building Council (TTGBC) Breakfast Seminar themed, ‘The Business Case for Sustainability in an Energy Subsidized Economy’.
The seminar, the third hosted by the TTGBC, took place recently at the Courtyard Mariott, Port-of-Spain. REETA is funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft f?r Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. TT’s electricity price is significantly lower compared to other Caribbean islands and as a result there is little traction for green/ energy efficient buildings in TT.
GIZ Energy Advisor Glynn Morris, in delivering the feature address, “Energy in Buildings— The Business Case for Sustainability”, spoke from his experience in South Africa where electricity prices were also cheap.
However, he explained, energy shocks resulted in a significant increase in electricity prices and the subsequent increase in green building practices in South Africa to reduce electricity costs.
Approximately 40 percent of electricity consumption in the Caribbean is used for energy services in buildings. Traditional energy service is very inefficient and results in approximately 82 percent energy losses. Therefore, it makes business sense to invest in green buildings which use significantly less energy, less water and fewer raw materials, and produce less carbon dioxide emissions and less waste compared to traditional buildings.
GIZ Energy Advisor Simon Zellner, who also spoke at the seminar, gave a pointed presentation on the actual costs of buildings.
Whereas in T&T building owners tend to focus on upfront costs (Capex), Zellner demonstrated that the great majority of the cost of a building is in operations over its life cycle—which is an argument for why buildings should be designed and built to operate efficiently.
Hopefully, T&T will not wait for an electricity crisis with high tariffs like in South Africa to implement green energy efficient measures in new and existing buildings. The TTGBC Breakfast Seminar “The Business Case for Sustainability in an Energy Subsidized Economy” was staged with the participation of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The TTGBC was founded in 2010. Its mission is to transform the way T&T’s buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.
The Breakfast Seminars are part of TTGBC’s objectives, which include increasing public awareness on green buildings and advocating for local policies on green building practices and standards.