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GOGREEN a special advertising section of the bermuda sun • May 29, 2013

How to shave 70 per cent off your water heating costs By Nick Duffy Bermuda Alternate Energy Ltd (BAE)

Did you know that hot water is one of the biggest items on your household energy bill? Water heaters are usually the second biggest energy item. The cost of heating water for bathing, laundry and dishwashing typically accounts for 15-25 per cent of your energy bill.

Economical In an average Bermuda home, converting or replacing traditional water heaters with a heat pump water heater can cut your water heating costs by up to 70 per cent. At Bermuda Alternate Energy (BAE) Ltd, our ENERGY STAR-certified water heaters use advanced heat pump technology to extract heat from the surrounding air and then use it to provide the most efficient and economical source of hot water. Back-up resistance elements ensure you don’t run out of water even

when demand is high. They run on only a fraction of the energy used by traditional water heating systems, such as electric, gas or tankless, so that every bath, shower or laundry load costs you significantly less. Heat pump water heating is the most economical technology available, compared with other current heating sources. Even solar water heating is not as cost-effective, because of the high initial system and installation costs, and the need to use back-up electricity during extended cloudy periods or at night. The heat pump relies on one of Bermuda’s most sustainable sources of alternative energy — warm air — which is consistently available year-round. Modern heat pumps are highly efficient and are designed to operate in a wide range of climates where air temperatures are significantly colder than we ever experience here in Bermuda. Heat pump water heaters also provide free cooled

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savings: The E-Tech standalone heat pump water heater. and dehumidified air, that can be used to reduce the cost of air conditioning and provide dehumidifi-

cation to damp areas of the home, thus helping to reduce mould and mildew. BAE is now selling

AirGenerate AirTap hybrid models in 66 and 80 gallon sizes. These are constructed of stainless steel and are fully programmable, with three selectable operational modes and timers. The units are easy to install and can operate in rooms as small as 250 cubic feet. They operate at just 48 dB (decibels), making them the quietest on the market, and offer far greater installation flexibility compared with previous heat pump offerings. This year AirGenerate has also introduced its hybrid solar heat pump model, which can save you up to 90 per cent of your water heating costs. BAE also has Geyser and E-Tech standalone heat pumps for sale. These models are designed to connect to an existing electric or gas heater of 40 gallons or more, and which is in good condition. They can be installed in a room of at least 750 cubic feet. They can also be installed remotely to the water heater from a differ-

ent room. These heat pumps have a noise rating of 55-60 dB and so are best suited to basements, larger pump rooms, laundry rooms and garages. At BAE we can also design and install solar hot water and solar photovoltaic systems to allow you to maximise your energy savings, using Bermuda’s abundant sunshine. If you would like to learn more, call BAE Ltd to discuss how we can significantly reduce your energy bills by tapping into Bermuda’s limitless supplies of warm air and sunshines. n

Nick Duffy is divisional manager at Bermuda Alternate Energy (BAE) Ltd. For more information call 297-3639 or see www. Visit the Green Zone at the BAC showroom at 9 Mill Creek Road, Pembroke. BAE Ltd is part of the BAC (Bermuda Air Conditioning) Group of Companies.

Save up to 70%

on the cost of HOT WATER. Using advanced heat pump technology to extract heat from ambient air, the AirTap™ Hybrid heat pump water heater runs on a fraction of the energy used by traditional water heating systems and provides hot water, while dehumidifying and cooling your room at the same time. Best of all, you can significantly reduce your monthly BELCO bill! Make the AirTap™ Hybrid heat pump water heater your natural choice – call BAE Ltd. today and ask to speak to a sales representative, or come to the Green Zone at the BAC Showroom to find out more.


441-297-3639 • FAX: 441-292-6887 •


A member of the BAC Group of Companies

Go Green: a special advertising section of THE BERMUDA SUN


Join Greenrock’s campaign to ban bags from Bermuda By Simon Jones & amanda dale

The Bermuda Sun has joined a campaign to reduce plastic and paper bag use on the island. Greenrock launched a petition earlier this year to ask the Government to impose a small mandatory retail charge on single-use bags, to deter their use in stores. It has attracted almost 370 signatures and the backing of Environment Minister Sylvan Richards. The Sun has joined other charities and media outlets in backing the campaign.

Sustainability Glenn Jones, acting general manager of Mediahouse, said: “This idea makes sense for the environment, for our community and for our familyowned company. “The Bermuda Sun is happy to stand with Greenrock, KBB and all of our neighbours who care deeply about making our island home more sustainable.” Greenrock is to take the petition to Government’s Sustainable Development Unit as well as the Tourism Department, to request that tourists are provided with reusable bags to promote Bermuda as ‘green destination’. Anne Hyde, executive director of Keep Bermuda Beautiful, said: “KBB fully supports Greenrock’s campaign. “KBB is a member of the research collaboration

of the Bermuda Marine Debris Taskforce. We certainly see loads of plastic and paper bags littered across the island. “’Reduce’ is the first word of the familiar ‘Reduce, Re-use, Recycle’, and the most important first step to take. “We want to reduce the bag consumption on the island.” Greenrock has suggested a 25 cents fee per plastic bag at the point of sale in stores to deter shoppers from using what they see as an environmental hazard. Environment Minister Mr Richards said that the disincentive of an additional cost would result in islanders making better choices. He added: “I think it’s a good idea and my thoughts have evolved on this topic. As a country we need to be more environmentallyconscious.

 “I thought it was a good idea when the supermarkets brought in the green canvas bag and this is the logical next step in that direction. “If the public are given a disincentive to use plastic by additional costs they would select another option. “This is a Greenrock initiative and they are lobbying for it. But I can say that I would support it.” Mr Richards said Government would look at “all the options” in a bid to reduce pollution in Bermuda. “The issue is not just plastic, however — we are

Bag facts The average life of a plastic bag from store to garbage bin is 10-15 minutes. n One bag can take 10-100 years, or longer, to degrade. n Most plastic bags are made from polyethylene, which does not decompose or biodegrade. But in sunlight it cracks and becomes brittle, breaking off into tiny granules. Scientists are concerned these fragments are building up in the environment, and in the stomachs of animals and marine creatures, thus also getting into the food chain. n Paper bags are mostly made from virgin tree pulp, as recycled pulp is not as strong. The chopping down of trees damages the environment and reduces the absorption of greenhouse gases. n The manufacture of paper bags also requires toxic chemicals, adding to pollution. n It can take four times as much energy and 20 times as much water to manufacture a paper bag compared with a plastic one. (Facts courtesy of Greenrock). n

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wasteful: The average life of a plastic bag, from store to garbage bin, is just 10-15 minutes. But it can take 10-100 years to degrade, or longer. a very wasteful society,” he added. “As a community we need to give more thought to how we treat our environment. We have to protect it and it is wise

to do anything that we can do to enhance that.” Dr Judith Landsberg, Greenrock president, said: “We have been very interested in public reaction which on the whole is supportive of the idea of finding ways to reduce bag use, even if they don’t always agree with a charge. “However, we are finding getting people to sign up to the petition rather slow. “We have two thoughts on that. “One, that we don’t have much of a budget for publicity so people don’t neces-

sarily know about it, and two, that people are much more reluctant to sign a petition that might have an impact on them personally, rather than, say, something about Tucker’s Point or the Grand Atlantic development. “Most people advocate education, but if you look at the impact of years of education on recycling, still less than 25 per cent of households recycle. “So we don’t believe education by itself will effect the change we need, although of course we continue to educate wherever

and whenever possible.” Dr Landsberg said: “Lightweight plastic or paper grocery bags are convenient but they pollute our land and our oceans, use valuable resources to create them and are a human health hazard. “Millions of dollars are spent each year manufacturing, importing and then incinerating single-use bags. This is an extreme price to pay — both environmentally and economically — for about 15 minutes of convenience.” n

To sign the petition go to: news/blog/995-say-nothanks-to-single-use-bags


Solar Electricity • Solar Hot Water • Energy Efficiency

Why solar power is giving mankind a brighter future By chris worboys Bermuda Engineering Company Ltd

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about different energy technologies and which are the best for Bermuda. In this article, we take a look at why solar water heating and solar electricity generation are two great technologies that we will be seeing a lot more of — not just in Bermuda, but across the whole world as the use of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and LNG (liquefied natural gas) are phased out.

How much energy is available? When picking an energy source to power your car, home, business or even a small island nation, the first step is to consider how much energy is available. We know it’s sunny here, but how does our solar energy resource stack up against our consumption of energy? Pretty well it turns out — covering just a fifth of our roof area with solar photovoltaic panels can produce up to 42 per cent of our current demand for electricity. If we had one or two large-scale projects, such as a solar farm at the airport, this could push this easily past 50 per cent. Considering that we waste more than half the energy we consume through inefficient technologies and bad habits, we can see that it is conceptually possible for our

island to be completely powered by the sun once this waste is eliminated. It is worth mentioning that affordable technologies exist today that could be used to achieve the required efficiency gains. Unlike solar energy, fossil fuels will not be available in the future, which is why it is so important that we learn to live without them sooner rather than later. These fuels have been running out since humans sunk the first oil well and dug the first coal mine.

How reliable is the technology?

Will the energy be available when we need it? One of the main arguments against solar energy technology is that it is unpredictable. As we discussed in the last edition of Go Green, this is not really true as weather patterns can be predicted with such accuracy these days that some companies are now able to offer close to minuteby-minute forecasting by using real-time satellite images to predict when clouds will shade solar energy systems. Clouds aside, the sun rises every morning and follows a predictable seasonal pattern that can be forecast hundreds of years in advance. While solar output may vary throughout each day, we know that it will always be available over the long term. Fossil fuels can provide short term energy on demand, which tends to give the illusion of energy being there exactly when

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renewable energy: A solar energy system could save you thousands of dollars. we need it. The reality is that fossil fuels in Bermuda rely on a complex supply chain vulnerable to storms, political unrest, terrorism, labour disputes and other unpredictable events. With only a few months’ reserve supply on the island, we are living with a constant risk of supply interruption, not to mention dwindling global supplies.

How much can we use? Last year the Pacific island of Tokelau became the first country to be powered 100 per cent through a solar photovoltaic generation system, proving it is possible to power modern society with solar technologies today. Looking at the global context, it is important to consider whether solar production can be scaled

to provide a worldwide energy solution. The vast majority of solar panels are constructed from aluminium, glass and silicon, which are all composed from some of the most abundant elements known to mankind. This is important, as it means solar is a scalable solution. Solar panels can also be recycled at the end of their useful life, so they really do offer a sustainable source of energy. The situation for fossil fuels could not be any different — most climate scientists agree that greenhouse gas emissions produced by their combustion need to peak within the next couple of years and then rapidly decline. We know that their use needs to be rapidly phased out, but trillions of dollars’ worth of fuels must be left in the ground unused if we

are to avoid dangerous climate destabilization.

How much can we afford? Over its lifetime, a solar energy system in Bermuda will generate energy for 75 per cent less than generating electricity using oil. The greenhouse gas emissions produced during the system’s manufacture are usually paid back within a year or two, so these systems are both financially and environmentally affordable. Considering the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the everincreasing cost of fossil fuels, they are unaffordable from both an environmental and economic perspective. We simply cannot afford to continue investing in technologies and fuels that belong in a museum.

Solar water heating and solar electricity generation systems require little maintenance and have lifetimes of many decades. The original solar photovoltaic cell invented by Bell Laboratories in 1954 is still generating electricity today. Because most systems are composed from many smaller individual panels, which each contain dozens of individual cells, they carry a high degree of built-in redundancy as individual panels can be easily replaced. Fossil fuel generators often contain thousands of moving parts that need maintenance, making them vulnerable to sudden failure. In practice, many solar energy generation systems have demonstrated much higher availability than fossil fuel plant. As Bell Laboratories proclaimed back in 1954, “If this energy could be put to use there would be enough to turn every wheel and light every lamp that mankind would ever need.” Despite present concerns about the sustainability of fossil fuel consumption, thanks to solar technologies we can rest assured that the future is bright. n

Chris Worboys is the business strategy consultant for Bermuda Engineering Company Ltd. For more information call 279-5907 or see

Go Green: a special advertising section of THE BERMUDA SUN


Go Green May 2013  

Go Green May 2013, the Bermuda Sun's special supplement to help the environment.

Go Green May 2013  

Go Green May 2013, the Bermuda Sun's special supplement to help the environment.