Ministry to give one free energy ‘make-over’

| 07/10/2020 | 34 Comments

(CNS): The ministry responsible for energy has announced a competition to give just one home in Grand Cayman a free energy efficiency make-over. The gimmick is to promote a new 12-month public education campaign about the aim to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels to just 30% in less than 17 years. Cayman’s use of renewable energy is currently woefully inadequate and we are still more than 90% dependent on diesel.

In partnership with CUC, Grand Cayman’s power provider, the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure launched this Home Energy Efficiency Competition on Wednesday. Eight homes will be chosen for Home Energy Audits worth up to CI$1,900 each, and one of those homes will receive a free energy re-fit up to a cost of $20,000.

The competition is open to all homeowners in Grand Cayman who live in the property they own. The eight homes selected for audits will be subject to an analysis of their homes to determine where and how energy is being lost, what systems are operating inefficiently and recommend improvements that can be made to substantially lower utility bills. 

One of the homes will be chosen to receive this full home ‘energy makeover’ based upon the results of the audit. That could include a solar water heater, smart thermostats, envelope sealing and spray foam attic insulation, energy efficient appliances, LED bulbs and more.

Officials said the makeover should not only significantly reduce utility bills, but will also increase the value of the home, while reducing stress on Cayman’s electricity grid. “The Cayman Islands Government is committed to creating a sustainable future for our community and to achieving the goals within our National Energy Policy,” said CPI Minister Joey Hew, who has responsibility for the energy policy.

“Helping our community to live in energy efficient homes is one part of this. Our long-term goal is to introduce green loans through banks, to make home energy efficiency retrofits achievable for the wider Cayman community. These could benefit homeowners whilst reducing the CO2 levels in the Cayman Islands and supporting a secure, sustainable future,” he added.

According to the policy, Cayman has less than 17 years to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels by more than 60%, though government currently has no subsidized programmes in place and only offers a reduction in duty for solar equipment.

Kristen Augustine, National Energy Policy Coordinator, said the ministry was “proud” and “excited” to be launching the Home Energy Efficiency Competition on National Energy Efficiency Day in the USA, as she said it would make a long-standing impact on the lives of a number of Grand Cayman residents.

In reality, one home will be assisted and seven others will know where their money is being wasted, but many homeowners have no means of doing anything about it.

The competition was described as a step closer to achieving “a more sustainable lifestyle through responsible energy supply and consumption in Cayman”.

It is evident that this is a drop in an immense bucket when it comes to government’s progress on helping existing homeowners change their energy consumption habits or in changing planning requirements to enforce more efficient energy use in new homes.

Sacha Tibbetts, Vice President of Customer Service and Technology at CUC, which is inching towards using more renewable sources of energy, said the company’s goal was to move from diesel-fuelled energy generation to renewable energy.  

“We aim to create a 60% CO2 reduction by 2030,” he said, adding that the company was pleased to be involved with the competition, which would make an impact on the lives of the winners.

The competition closing date is Wednesday, 18 November.

Homeowners can enter here by completing the form.


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Category: Business, Energy, Science & Nature, utilities

Comments (34)

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  1. me says:

    My light bill was over CI$1000.00 per month for just using A/C 24/7 in the 3 bed rooms, cooking, Fridge & water heater for 3 hrs per day. CUC came,did an audit, CUC told me what would help me to use less electricity and cut my usage down. I insulate my roof, up my A/C unit, and now my light bill is approx 577.00, using the A/C 24/7 for the entire house 3000 + Sq. Ft. space and electric stove, and water heater 5 hrs per day, moved my deep freezer from where it was and I have now added other electrical appliances. So if CUC wanted to make just money, they would not have came out to help me.
    For your information it would cost CUC less, if they did not have to provide more demand of Electricity usage or find ways to produce more power for less to Customers.

    DO YOU REMEMBER IVAN, DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE WHEN YOUR ELECTRICITY IS OUT FOR A LONG PERIOD? I do and I do not want to be without electricity or water again.

    If you want to get your Solar do so, and stop complaining, and if CUC is too high, stop using it or have it disconnected.

    CUC continue to do a good job, in keeping us supplied and one less thing for us to worry about. These people do not have anything better to do than complain.

    • Anonymous says:

      This message brought to you by the CUC marketing Dpt.

    • Anonymous says:

      My last light bill was $42, 1006 sq.ft 2 bd, cathedral ceilings. SWFlorida.

      Ask for an audit to find out why is your bill so high. A qualified electrician would be able to do that. But I believe this type if inspection is “foreign” in Cayman. When I tried to request it from CUC, no one could understand what is it that I want from them. Some sort of supervisor was never available and none of my many many messages was ever returned.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Reason for slow progress as always is CUC- disgraceful money making monopoly and so many conflicts of interests- just look at Joey and his bro at CUC ! No conflicts there.
    People need to be able to go their own power way .

  3. Anonymous says:

    In the US there’s The Weatherization Assistance Program that enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Funds are used to improve the energy performance of dwellings families in need, using the most advanced technologies and testing procedures available in the housing industry. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides funding to states, U.S. overseas territories, and Indian tribal governments, which manage the administration of the program. These governments, in turn, fund a network of local community action agencies, nonprofit organizations, and local governments that provide these weatherization services in every state, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and among Native American tribes.

    states give preference to:
    People over 60 years of age
    Families with one or more members with a disability
    Families with children (in most states)
    One of the primary factors affecting eligibility is income.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Or we could just remove the monopoly from cuc and allow other power companies to come on the island.

    The guarantee we all get better service, lower cost for energy the same year.

    2030 just a small reduction? After it’s 2050 fossil fuels will be depleted almost from the Earth.

    Other countries are already off the grid yet Cayman still years behind with less than 100k on the island.

    Maybe we could have built a hydro plant rather than a dock/shopping mall in the waterfront. When you think the dock fails, there talking about a port for super yachts.

    When will Cayman wake up and stop being deluded from the reality of the super-wealthy buying up Cayman?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Its working for you but CUC are still generating the power needed to run your home 100% as required by law and in the event your solar stops working.

    The rest of us are just paying for your unused power. Until the law allows CUC to only generate whats needed/used versus whats been calculated on your home (per original permit plans – electrical) solar is just costing more to those of us who dont have it or cant afford it!

  6. Anonymous says:

    cayman proceeding at turtle pace again….

  7. Anonymous says:

    I must be stupid because I don’t see a link to the form on the competition site.

    CNS: There’s no link. Scroll down to where you fill out the form with your details on the website.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you CNS

      Maybe my computer needs to be updated. Alternatively I am just genuinely stupid, which could be it too..

  8. Anonymous says:

    MSC degree and presumably a comfortable salary, and this is the best they come up with…Only thing tops this idea is the “Sharrows” from the other Master planner at NRA. smh

    • Anonymous says:

      In the shar ar ar arrows…. Joey Hewper and Lady Ju Ju.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a miserable POS you are. Instead of denigrating why don’t you offer an idea.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like you have no degree and can’t recognize an educated effort when it’s made.

    • Anonymous says:

      From 2015-2020, the public budgeted and paid for arterial bikes lanes as part of the NRA Plan. They were also to be included in EVERY new roadway plan. Sharrows (common worldwide) are the lowest compromise to their predictable execution failure, and even this limited roll-out is a bust. It’s usually hard to mess up road stencils, but somehow they’ve managed to.

    • Anonymous says:

      Last checked MSC was the name of a cruise line.

  9. Sunrise says:

    Solar power is the only way to go!! Off grid is the solution, no more CUC!! Try it, it works!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Pray a storm doesn’t blow off your solar panels then.

      • Anonymous says:

        Insurance. Also off the grid doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t access cuc when needed.

        • Anonymous says:

          Correct.
          As long as everyone doesn’t go off-grin (they won’t) and make it uneconomical for CUC to maintain enough ‘always on’ generating capacity to pick up teh slack if people’s solar panels go down (in bad weather). This is the ‘uncanny valley’ of (distributed) solar/wind power generation. IT works if there’s only a little bit, or if there is a lot, but not if there is a medium amount.

          Yes, we should be pursuing distributed renewable energy generation, and a lot of it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why is CUC involved in this campaign? Talk about conflicted and CIG pandering to a monopoly again. Reminds me of the CFL bulb, water heater jacket and other water saving trinkets they used to give away at ALT’s back in the 90s. But this time its all spent on a CUC favorite.

    I guess now that OfReg is the people’s pariah, it’s premature to suggest our quango regulator start making some hard definitive decisions to select other green energy technology providers that are not influenced by CUC, it’s shareholders or the Cayman fossil fuels cartel.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Excellent. A long way to go but good to see some action.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I got 27 votes for sale in GTC!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I know $20,000 wouldn’t go far, but shouldn’t solar panels be the 1st option for the winner?

    • Anonymous says:

      It depends on the specifics of the property. Especially older properties, lets say. Other options may be more more economical/efficeint 1st choices.

      Imagine a property without much yard space, so the panels have to go on the roof, but the roof is zinc with ‘light’ trusses so it can’t support the weight (or the windage) of solar panels.

      Or maybe the roof is nice and strong trusses with plywood so it can take solar panels but there’s actually no insulation under that plywood, just dark heat-absorbing bitumen tiles on top and an air-gap to the ceiling, which is unsealed, so the A/C is trying to coll the ‘attic’ as well as the main house. (And its an older, low-SEER, A/C.) Insulation plus a new A/C might actually save you more electricity than your solar panels will generate.

      I expect that the winner will get solar panels. As you say they are normally very logical for improving energy efficiency and reducing fossil fuel use. But they may be the 3rd choice, not the first or second thing done to improve the home.

      What will be interesting is if they try to include the environmental cost of retiring appliances, e.g., refrigerators, before their end of useful life. Sure a new more energy efficient fridge would save me some operating costs but it still means the old fridge (and refrigerants) going to the dump before it needs to and the materials to make the new fridge being used up when it didn’t need to be. And of course the carbon cost of shipping the new fridge to Cayman from wherever it is made. How much CUC emissions do I need to save to make up for my new refrigerator’s portion of the emissions to get it from wherever to here.

      Of course the solar panels had to get shipped in too, and may have required ‘rare elements’ to manufacture, raising their environmental cost compared to the energy savings.

      PS> The moral of the above is not ‘do nothing’. Something, especially if it is the best you can do, is generally better than nothing. It is all just to answer the question ‘why aren’t solar panels the first option?’ Because its complicated.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Why not do it in one of the many government buildings that we all pay the bills for. Pick a school, any school.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like someone’s friend will be getting a nice house upgrade!

    • Anonymous says:

      hope that friend randomly selected is not connected to politicians or ‘new West Indian’ Caymanians… so to avoid that, please use generational Caymanians only in that pool… sorry we need blatant examples of putting Generational Caymanians

    • Anonymous says:

      4:45p – Hahahaha EXACTLY my first thought!! LOL

  16. Anonymous says:

    Anything to help CUC make you think they aren’t as bad as they are. Especially right before the Arden McLean approved 6% hike come Jan and June again.

  17. Anonymous says:

    A brilliant idea. Lets start some where.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. A government building. I would love to see the analysis of how much of our money is wasted by any one of the older schools by sheer energy inefficiency.

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