DONE DEAL: From left: David Swanson, Chief Operating Officer, SERS, Bruce Boyer, Chief Executive Officer, SERS; Mario E Torres, President, SERS; Professor Archibald McDonald, ProVice-Chancellor and Principal, The UWI, Mona; Dr Camille Bell-Hutchinson, Campus Registrar, and Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa, Deputy Principal of The UWI, Mona Campus.

UWI, Mona to cut energy cost by up to 50%

THE UWI, MONA on November 22 signed an agreement to convert the campus lighting to LED and save up to 30 per cent in energy costs within a year.

The UWI/SEEBURY Energy Management Implementation Agreement will be carried out in two phases. Smart Energy Renewable Solutions (SERS), a partner of green energy company SEEBURY, will implement phase I of the project which involves replacing lighting fixtures, where necessary, as well as fluorescent lamps on the Mona Campus with LED options. The University’s partners will foot this bill to the tune of approximately US$1.5 million. They will be responsible for all the expenses related to the lighting supplies, installation, operation and maintenance throughout the life of the agreement, Professor Archibald McDonald, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, The UWI, Mona emphasised.

The second phase of the project is slated to begin next year, and will include options for green energy production, among other things.

The UWI, Mona has successfully entered into similar public-private arrangements to fund a number of projects including the construction of new student accommodation and the commissioning of a well to improve the supply of water to the campus. The latter project is expected to cut the monthly water bill by around $11 million and increase capacity to the campus.

“In a few weeks we will commission the well, and that will reduce the cost of water by 50 per cent. And when we are through with the energy project, we expect similarly to reduce costs by about 50 per cent,” said Professor McDonald. He said this further reduction in the energy bill would be achieved during Phase 2 of the project which would focus on the use of solar energy and the completion of the cogeneration plant, among other options. He was speaking at the signing of The UWI/SEEBURY Implementation Agreement which was held in the Council Room, Mona Campus.

Meanwhile, Mario E Torres, President of SERS said his company aimed to transform The UWI, Mona into the first green campus in the entire Caribbean. “It will take a lot of work, but I do believe you have the resources in the island to make that happen.”
For her part, Campus Registrar Dr Camille Bell-Hutchinson said the project presented several cash flow opportunities as well as soft benefits to the campus.

“The lighting upgrade project is certainly consistent with the campus’s current strategic goal, and by extension the campus’s sustainable energy management programme, including an improvement in energy efficiency and a reduction in our recurrent – very high – electricity cost,” Bell-Hutchinson said.

She said The UWI, Mona would work with the SERS/SEEBURY team “to establish best standards and practices for energy-renewable solutions in order to ensure that our energy costs are managed and controlled and that we become the leaders with respect to implementing measures that will yield long-term benefits for years to come”.
For The UWI, Mona Principal, public-private partnerships also serve dual purposes. “The public-private partnerships are not only just about water or energy; it is really about finding an alternative method to fund tertiary education,” he said.

Added McDonald: “All we have done over the last three years would not have been possible were it not for public-private partnerships.”