Port of Spain, Trinidad, and Tobago is one of three cities in the Americas chosen to implement a Western Hemisphere Affairs-funded ECPA energy efficiency project. Under the project, the cities will work to lower energy consumption in municipal buildings through the development and implementation of sound energy efficiency policies over a three-year period. The other cities in the project are Goiania Brazil and Valdivia/Los Rios, Chile.
These three municipalities have shown a willingness to address emissions through the facilitation and implementation of energy efficiency improvements. They all have significant populations, high-energy consumption and varied local climates. Each municipality also utilises different primary sources of energy allowing for a wider scope of work to be achieved. The cities that are participating in the project have different climates which allows the collection of comparative data and provides the opportunity of a higher level of understanding of the different levels of energy consumption. Florida International University (FIU) has partnered with The University of the West Indies (UWI) and Energy Dynamics Limited (EDL) in order to perform the works for the Port of Spain municipality.
In order to develop a better understanding of the energy consumption within the municipality, it was decided that the focus for this project would be on office buildings, health facilities and schools.
For each building category, two buildings have been chosen for observation. During the first stages of the project, energy monitoring has been done for all six locations, using ASHRAE energy audits (ASHRAE is a US-based membership association focusing on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and refrigeration). Audit data was used to develop building simulations, which allowed for a clearer understanding of energy consumption, and an analysis of different energy efficiency policies then commenced.
EDL have been performing energy audits throughout the Caribbean for a number of years, for organisations such as the IDB, CARICOM, OLADE and the German GIZ. This enabled a better understanding when determining what policies and building rating system would be achievable for the region. Stakeholder meetings were held over the time frame with several constituents some of which included representatives from the Ministry of Public Utilities, Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries, Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development, the North West Regional Health Authority, Ministry of Education and the Trinidad and Tobago Green Building Council. Through these meetings, stakeholders are kept constantly aware of the ongoing work being done for the project.
An adapted building rating system has been developed as part of the work for the project which utilises information from the Florida Building Codes, ASHRAE 90.1 Building Codes, and the US Green Building Council LEED V4 Rating System. In November 2015, a meeting was hosted by EDL where the adapted rating system was discussed with the different stakeholders giving them an opportunity to provide feedback and raise any concerns pertaining to the draft building rating system.
This meeting proved to be successful gaining support for the project and it objectives. Different cost-benefit analysis were performed for each of the six locations chosen for the project, after which pilot projects for the locations were designed which included projected cost and energy savings.
The table shows an example of the types of low-cost energy management opportunities that have been included in the pilot projects. Widespread implementation of these type of energy management opportunities will have three main benefits. Firstly, cost savings for government, at a time when there is a clear focus on reducing expenditure. Secondly, a reduction in use of natural gas for power generation, which can then be used alternatively to feed the Point Lisas Industrial Plants or be exported as LNG. Finally, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions for Trinidad and Tobago, leading to a reduced carbon footprint which will assist the country in meeting is Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) obligations as submitted to the COP 21 Paris Agreement.
Currently, there are two pilot projects that have already begun with two more locations scheduled to commence early next year. After implementation of these pilot projects, project results will be monitored to determine whether the pilot projects were successful thus creating benchmarks for future interventions.