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Our CHENACT Grant & The Road to Energy Efficiency

/ The Green Way

Solar Water Heating Panels

On the eve of our 23rd anniversary, the holiday season and last week’s historic climate agreement between 200 countries we are delighted to have been awarded a grant of US$45,000  to further increase the hotel’s energy efficiency and renewable energy practices from CHENACT.

The CHENACT AP Programme is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) with the objectives of encouraging and co-ordinating on a regional level, the implementation of Energy Efficiency (EE) and Renewable Energy (RE) practices in the Caribbean hotel and tourism sector.  These are their admirable goals:

  • to improve the competitiveness of the Caribbean Hotel industry (specially for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Hotels); and
  • to bundle the potential CERs (Carbon Emission Reductions) of the Caribbean Hotel industry into a single CDM-PoA-DD (Clean Development Mechanism –Program of Activities –Design Document) that could also be used to generate NAMAs. (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions)

As one of the Caribbean’s smallest boutique hotels, Mockingbird Hill impressed the programme’s auditors with its very effective and holistic approach to hotel operations.  We are delighted that this grant will allow us to replace our aging refrigeration units with new energy star equipment. In addition, we will take the next step to becoming almost self-sufficient on renewable energy with the installation of 16 more solar panels and the installation of am aqueous hybrid ion battery that will enable us to now store the excess energy generated during the day and utilise it at night.  We will still remain grid-tied so that if our energy demands exceed the stored quantity, the system will simply switch over to the grid.

Travel can be a powerful force for change. Quite simply, the more one sees of the world, the more one appreciates the beauty and values it. Our guests who appreciate and share our deep, genuine commitment to the preservation of our climate and environment will be provided a seamless experience through-out the changeover.

The accumulated effects of climate change not only impact our visitors but also have enormous socio-economic impact on our society when tourism, the main income and source of income generation is lost across the Caribbean islands.

In the 23 years that we have had the privilege of living and working in Jamaica, we have noticed considerable climate changes with alternating periods of drought during the last 2 years (previously unheard of) and extreme high temperatures with the highest on record this year.

The ongoing El Nino effect is said to be the cause of the sea algae problem that we along with many other Caribbean islands are experiencing for the first time. Luckily we are not severely impacted by the seaweed problem, this is just an indication of how climate change can and will affect us increasingly, unless we all partner together to adopt responsible practices and adjust our behaviour.

We faced enormous challenges this summer as a result of the impact that the drought had on local agriculture and were forced to abandon our own vegetable garden, despite having enormous rain water harvesting capacities. Whilst the shortage of food did not increase prices it made many items unavailable.

The summer’s highest recorded temperatures are not cured by using more air conditioning.  The more energy we use and the more we contribute long term to the problem of increasing global temperatures. This is why we focus on alternative efforts to keep guests cool and comfortable and direct our energies to operating in a sustainable, responsible manner which will help preserve the joy of travelling and exploring beautiful places all over the world, but avoid contributing to further degradation of our environment.

The ongoing efforts to expand the scope of our sustainability efforts will effect lasting positive change for global climate change and future prospects, especially as an island state we have to bear the brunt of global warming and rising sea levels that will have a profound impact on the biodiversity and various natural ecosystems of the island.

We take this opportunity to thank all our guests who have supported our efforts and chosen to stay with us because they share our values. By consciously choosing to vacation with a sustainably operated boutique hotel, they are helping us to mitigate the impact of climate change by adopting measures aimed at restricting a rise in global temperature below 1.5 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels. We hope that our social and environmental efforts will enhance the value of our guests experience and enable them to enjoy their holiday with a good conscious and the additional benefit of an environmentally friendly stay at Hotel Mockingbird Hill.

CHENACT is an energy efficiency project to improve the competitiveness of small and medium sized hotels in the Caribbean region through improved use of energy, with the emphasis on renewable energy and micro-generation.  CHENACT is a partnership between The Government of The Jamaican Ministry of Tourism, The Jamaican Hotel and Tourism Association, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), UN Environment Program and others.  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is supporting this program and offering technical assistance.

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One Comment

  1. Carolyn Blain December 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Barbara and Shireen, together with your staff, what a remarkable achievement – so much hard work, thought and consideration for the environment. Many many congratulations – Carolyn (in the UK)