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Scotia SME clients benefit from energy efficiency audits & greater RE use

Scotiabanks’ Small Business Banking Unit and the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) have embarked on a series of energy audits with local small and medium enterprises (SMES) in the manufacturing, agro-processing, tourism and other productive sectors to identify ways in which they can cut their operational costs by employing energy efficiency practices in their businesses. The programme is also seeking to minimize their ecological footprint and devise more green practices which can positively impact the environment.

For the past 10 months, over 100 SME customers have been involved in consultation sessions with the Inter-American Investment Corporation, from the IDB, to ascertain exactly how much they are spending on electricity, gas and other energy inputs in their operations. The programme which is called GREEN PYME was executed through the staging of workshops and site visits to the companies to assess their operations looking at their energy usage in their heating, cooling, lighting, production and product delivery process. Reports from the consultation process highlighted ways to decrease energy consumption through building insulation, usage of solar and other renewable sources of energy, installation of timers, sensors and power factor correction equipment. The team also asked the entrepreneurs to identify an energy champion in each company to oversee monitoring of energy usage in peak and off peak periods. Some have also gone further to get their staff trained in ISO 14000 compliance practices which are aimed at providing tools for businesses to boost efficiency using new environmental management standards.

Scotiabank vice president for small business banking Patsy Latchman Atterbury explained the impact of the workshops on the entrepreneurs who have taken up the project.

“The project was very eye opening for many of them who were now able to take a critical look at their individual operations and see how they could do things differently in their production processes to reduce spend. Each workshop examined energy efficiency in Jamaica through an overall study which examines best practices from different operations across the region.”

Asquith Brown, manager for small business banking at Scotiabank explains that with continued exposure to energy efficiency practices through these workshops more small businesses will become willing to make the initial investment in energy efficient equipment.

“Getting small businesses to commit to the process is sometimes harder than larger enterprises. As smaller operators may have less investment capital and so it is more difficult to make the required initial outlay. However, once they are convinced of the savings that would accrue within a reasonable time then it becomes easier for them to make that business decision to commit to this medium term investment”.

Brown noted that “this kind of investment in the future of the business will, in time, produce savings that would eventually contribute to the profit-line. Having a medium to long term perspective on the use of renewable energy or committing to more energy efficient processes seems to be a better approach to energy conservation with less impact on the environment and eventually a reduction in their energy cost”.

The GREEN PYME project is now embarking on its implementation stage for small businesses which have completed their energy audits. Honey Bun, one of Jamaica’s largest pastry maker has received its report from the IIC energy audit team which gave them a good rating on their total KVA usage based on the energy efficiency for their ovens and other baking equipment. However, according to Honey Bun operations manager Wade Robotham, the company also received recommendations regarding its lighting and cooling systems. “LPG and electricity are two of our major expense items and each month they continue to climb. The team made some recommendations regarding use of more natural lighting through skylights and zinc tube lighting which will magnify the effect of sunlight in our buildings. They also suggested that we change our bulbs in offices and the other areas of the building from ballass,” he said.

The Honey Bun team also received recommendations to utilize its AC units as a source of water heating for sanitation exercises.

“They suggested that we used the heat from the copper tubing in our AC units to flash heat water for our cleaning purposes instead of heating water through a secondary means,” noted Robotham.

According to the IIC team, usage of the AC units for this purpose will also help the units to operate even more efficiently in cooling the building.

The Honey Bun team is slated to make some of these changes at the beginning of their next financial year.

Source: Jamaica Observer

Category/ies:Jamaica News.
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