SUSTAINABLE ISSUE 02/18
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CONTENTS ISSUE 02/18
Welcome to the latest North American edition of Sustainable Business Magazine Sustainable Business Magazine aims to spread awareness of the values of sustainability, as well as the brilliant ways in which organizations continue to meet challenges and champion corporate social responsibility. To begin this issue, we spoke to multidisciplinary construction company W.S. Nicholls about a major expansion project for the City of Toronto. Aleksandar Ilic, Director for Business Development, and Allen Nagel, Project Manager, talked us through the Dufferin Organics Processing Facility expansion project, and how sophisticated bioreactor technology is diverting organic waste from Canada’s largest city away from landfill and processing it into fertilizer. We also spoke to Udi Merhav, CEO at energyOrbit, about another cutting-edge technology which is helping to minimize waste. The energyOrbit cloud-based platform allows utilities to integrate energy efficiency programs, improving emissions and resource consumption, and ultimately improving relationships with customers. As part of our ongoing focus on Jamaican development, we spoke to Sol Petroleum Jamaica’s General Manager, Robert Jackson, and Marketing Implementer, Karoline Smith, about maintaining a strong brand in Jamaica while contributing to the community. We also spoke to Mark Barnett, President of the National Water Commission in Jamaica, and Vernon Barrett, Vice President, about efficient, broad-reaching water infrastructure. And we spoke to Kevin Richards, CEO at Kingston Properties Ltd, about investing in the Caribbean and engaging with Jamaican shareholders and young people in the local communities. We also begin our new series produced in partnership with the Trinidad and Tobago Green Building Council (TTGBC). TTGBC aims to foster green building practices in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean. Each installment of the series features detailed profiles of member companies and is prefaced by a foreword from Mandilee Newton, Founding Member of TTGBC. This issue, we spoke to Rick Rennes, CEO at Information Technology Energy Management (ITEM), about how information technology can reduce energy waste in the Caribbean. Details of upcoming sustainability events in North America throughout May and June can be found on our events calendar. Our featured events are the Water Expo (7th Edition) on August 29 & 30 at the MACC Convention Center in Miami, and the Energy Expo (formerly the MiaGreen Expo & Conference) on January 23 & 24 2019, also at the MACC Convention Center. For more information, or to view previous editions, please visit www.sustainablebusinessmagazine.net We hope that you find this issue both interesting and inspiring. Thank you for reading. The Sustainable Business Magazine Team
W.S. Nicholls Construction
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THE EXPANSION PROJECT WILL ADD 30,000 TONS OF CAPACITY TO THE DOPF, MORE THAN DOUBLING ITS EXISTING CAPACITY.
ORGANIC EXPANSION Sustainable Business Magazine speaks with Aleksandar Ilic, Director for Business Development at W.S. Nicholls, and Allen Nagel, Project Manager, about the major expansion project at the City of Torontoâ€™s Dufferin Organics Processing Facility.
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The Dufferin Organics Processing Facility (DOPF) is a waste processing facility in Toronto, run by the City of Toronto’s Solid Waste Management Services (SWMS) Division. Constructed in 2002 by W.S. Nicholls, an Ontario-based multidisciplinary construction company, and featured in Sustainable Business Magazine issue 5/16, the DOPF was a core component of Toronto’s Green Bin Program. The DOPF was designed to process 25,000 tonnes per year of source-separated organics and commercial food waste per year using a sophisticated bioreactor which converts organic waste into biogas and a solid fertilizer product. Due to the success of the original DOPF pilot plant and Toronto’s Green Bin Program, and the growing population of the Greater Toronto area, SWMS decided to expand the facility, increasing its processing capacity to 55,000 tons per year. The search began in 2013 to find the best possible candidates to undertake this expansion. W.S. Nicholls
is the general contractor leading the team of companies involved in the project. The other companies in the team include Anaergia, who are supplying the technology for processing the organic waste, as well as the wastewater treatment system, exp Services Inc. as the design engineer, and the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) as the lead facility operator. NATURAL RECYCLING The Expanded DOPF will use Anaergia’s technology to separate out and process organic material. An organic extrusion press applies high pressure to the waste, separating organic material (‘pulp’) from non-organic material (‘residue’). Anaergia’s system then pretreats the pulp, with recycled water added to produce a slurry. The slurry is put through a hydro-cyclone, leaving a clean stream which is fed into an anaerobic digester. In the digester, bacteria called methanogens break down the organics, producing SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
biogas which can be further processed into a high-purity renewable natural gas for injection into the natural gas pipeline or use as a vehicle fuel, and a ‘digest solid ’, which will be taken by a third party to be used as a soil amendment product. As the Expanded DOPF facility is situated in a dense urban environment, the site is particularly sensitive to odor and other gaseous phase emissions. A sophisticated BIOREM biological odor management system was employed to remove odors and hazardous air pollutants from the exhaust air. BIOREM’s solution maintains the Expanded DOPF buildings and processes under negative pressure, and the collected air is conveyed to the biological reactor. Within this reactor, a specially engineered media is used to
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immobilize naturally occurring bacteria, yeast, and fungi, which use the air pollutants as a food source. This process is energy efficient, does not consume or produce any harmful byproducts, and converts the pollutant into carbon dioxide and water vapor. Other environmentally-friendly design features were incorporated into the Expanded DOPF facility. The roof is specially designed to reduce heat emissions, with steel decking and a white membrane cover. The building has been made more energy efficient, with new cladding on the walls and roof insulation. The old boilers have been replaced with dual fuel boilers which can use biogas produced onsite or natural gas from the grid, and the HVAC systems have been upgraded to high-efficiency units.
Also, the new wastewater treatment plant will maximize water recycling and reduce potable water consumption. APPROACHING COMPLETION The expansion project will add 30,000 tons of capacity to the DOPF, more than doubling its existing capacity. Work is expected to finish later in 2018. “We’re at the beginning of the commissioning stage on the project, working with Anaergia,” says Aleksandar Ilic, Director for Business Development at W.S. Nicholls. “We expect to have substantial completion in roughly Q4 of 2018. Currently, everything is going according to plan, and there have been no major upsets. There are always one or two things that need to be tweaked, but that’s a necessary part of the process.”
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W.S. NICHOLLS velope to fit this equipment in and still have the room for operations and maintenance.”
“We’re starting to have the original equipment manufacturers come in and verify the installation of all the different pieces of equipment,” says Allen Nagel, Project Manager at W.S. Nicholls. “We’re making sure all the interconnecting piping and wiring of all the units can operate on the SCADA. During the summertime, OCWA will be supplying operators for the facility, and we’ll start seeing product running through it. Because we’re dealing with biology, it’s a little more than just flipping a switch. We have to culture these bugs in our digesters to deal with the organics, which will take a little time. In the summertime will also be finishing the wastewater treatment plant. Then in Q4 we’ll finish up our acceptance testing and prepare for substantial completion.” NEW INTO OLD The biggest challenge for the team working on the DOPF expansion project was utilizing the preexisting infrastructure. “We had to incorporate the existing facility and
structures into a new facility envelope,” says Mr. Ilic. “That was a big challenge. It’s easier to start from a clean slate and build from the ground up. The major thing here was we put the right people in the right place. We’ve encountered many different types of projects over the years, and Allen is a very experienced project manager with many years of experience, which plays into making sure that even with a project of this magnitude and complexity of Dufferin there aren’t going to be any big issues.” “The challenge, as with any construction where you’re tying new into old, is we needed to bring some of that old building up to the new codes,” says Mr. Nagel. “We’re reinforcing structural steel, getting elevations to match, putting in concrete elevations and slabs to tie into each other. This building was never designed originally for this purpose. This is an old building that has already been repurposed a few times over the thirty years it’s been around. Space was our biggest challenge, using the building’s existing en-
WATER WORK Another challenge was the wet summer of 2017 in Toronto. “I think we only had three weeks in total of nice weather in the summer, and not consecutively,” says Mr. Ilic. “That affected our job site. You don’t have control over the weather, but you react to it and try to deal with it as best you can. There were some preventative measures we put in place to mitigate this issue, which allowed us to adhere to the schedule.” “There’s new construction laws in Toronto with respect to dewatering sites,” says Mr. Nagel. “You can’t just send it down the drains like we used to in the old days. That was new to us, and the challenge of using containment areas to pump and store the water, and then facilitating trucks to come in and take the water away. So that was a challenge, as well as just working in those wet conditions. Of course, it wasn’t just our job site; it was everybody’s job site. So when the sun was shining, every job site was trying to pour concrete, and if we didn’t have our ordering soon enough, they couldn’t manage it. It came down to water management, bringing people in on weekends to make sure things were cleaned up for Mondays so the crews could get started, and good scheduling.” TEAM EFFORT Once the expansion is completed, the facility will continue being operated and maintained by Anaergia and OCWA for at least three years. “It’s a team effort, from our end and the customer end, because we all want the same thing,” says Mr. Ilic. “We all have the same goal, and there is really good communication going on between us. The support has been great, and the right peo-
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ple have been put on the Expanded DOPF project. So far there have been no significant issues, just the regular issues any project like this will come across. But we just deal with those in a timely manner.” “With the stakeholders, we all got together in a room at the beginning and had partnership meetings, before we got too heavily in the construction side of it, which meant we could openly discuss our expectations and needs,” says Mr. Nagel. “Some of the stakeholders we’ve worked with before, and some were new to us, but it meant we all got started on the right foot. The strength of the relationship has been that even when there have been discussions to be had, we’ve all worked together to find the right solution together and move forward.” “The City of Toronto took a very active role in the development of this facility, and they provided invaluable feedback in terms of the design and the construction,” says Mr. Ilic. “A lot of their recommendations were incorporated into the facility. They also created those partnering sessions, which established the values and goals for the project from the start and helped us all keep a pulse on the overall project.” MONETIZING WASTE By taking residential products and transforming them back into the raw materials
for future use, the Expanded DOPF is a key component in ‘closing the loop’ of consumption, and part of a holistic vision of a sustainable city. “At the end of the process we have some products that can be marketed and utilized for the betterment of the municipality or the city,” says Mr. Ilic. “In the case of organics, that could mean biogas, which can be turned into renewable natural gas (RNG) or electric power. A second possible outcome would be digest cakes. These are the result of the anaerobic digester, and they can then be sent for composting. This is what DOPF does. Ideally you have a system that combines all of them alongside also improving awareness and the knowledge on how to properly recycle throughout the general population. With the growing population in Ontario there is more and more need to have a better system and to be able to divert as much as possible from the landfill.”
DOPF improves Toronto’s environmental footprint by reusing rather than sending waste straight to landfill, and makes it possible to identify new revenue opportunities for the City. “This is important for long-lasting, holistic sustainability,” says Mr. Ilic. “It’s great to do projects which benefit the environment, but you also have to look for ways to give people financial incentives. Interest in these types of projects is growing across Canada and North America. We particularly see a lot of projects on the horizon in Ontario, as many municipalities are faced with increasing populations, and as people become more aware of the benefits of recycling. The Ontario government have ambitious goals in place in order to divert more garbage from the landfill, as part of the Waste-Free Ontario Act. As municipalities look into building similar facilities, with our experience from DOPF, W.S. Nicholls is ideally placed for this new market.” c
SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
THE CUSTOMISABLE NATURE OF ENERGYORBITâ€™S PRODUCT IS AT THE CORE OF THEIR UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION.
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Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Udi Merhav, CEO at energyOrbit, about their unique product, digitized efficiency, and customer engagement. EnergyOrbit is a cloud software firm based in San Francisco. This cloud-based operations platform was created in response to the inflexibility of previously existing software, which struggled to integrate energy efficiency programs into utilities’ portfolios. Since 2007 energyOrbit has been focusing on EE (Energy Efficiency) through both DSM (Demand-Side Management) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and they are dedicated to continuing to improve and develop a superior product for utilities, thereby reducing national energy waste and improving efficiency. “The company was incorporated in 2005,” says Udi Merhav, CEO of energyOrbit. “During the first two years of the journey, we primarily focused on implementing Salesforce CRM. In 2007, when I discovered the world of DSM and EE through a project with someone who was implementing an energy efficiency program on behalf of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) here in the San Francisco Bay Area. We thought this would be a good area to specialise in, and so in 2007 we started working with other DSM organisations here in the United States. We started small, but slowly and surely we climbed the rungs of the ladder, and before long we had landed a very large project with an investor-owned utility.”
I’m talking about the full spectrum that ultimately leads to reductions in electricity, gas, and water consumption. So, we came along to accommodate any energy efficiency program under the sun. Our product is offered as a product package, and we update this package at least six, if not eight times, a year with new features that we believe the market requires, or that the market is telling us is required, so the product has been continually evolving since that initial conception.” “Emissions impact how much greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere, and how much of it we want to curb is determined at the state level,” explains Mr. Merhav. “On the one hand, you have this autonomy as a state under the federal system, but on the other hand, there is no nationwide standard, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all for efficiency solutions. Therefore, one of the hallmarks of our product is how malleable it is, and having the ability to accommodate any DSM program under the sun. Other products have a huge
UNIQUE PRODUCT EnergyOrbit addressed a complex issue with simplicity and originality, helping utilities cut costs and reduce waste. “When we came online with energyOrbit we realised that there was no existing product for helping to run DSM operations,” says Mr. Merhav. “When I’m talking about DSM operations, SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
ramp-up time where it takes six months or a year to configure and customise the solution, whereas we can raise the barn here within a matter of weeks or months.” EFFICIENCY & SPECIALISATION The customisable nature of energyOrbit’s product is at the core of their unique value proposition. “It is possible to create customised packages very quickly,” says Mr. Merhav. “In 1999 our business partners at Salesforce profoundly disupted the software world when they introduced to the market the cloud platform, multi-tenant architecture and on-demand computing, thereby doing away with clients’ server architecture and any worry about keeping all the IT infrastructure in-house or to contract it with a third-party hosting company. A company adopting a cloud-based enterprise solution does not have to worry about all the ‘plumbing’, the IT stack, and security. All that is taken care of, in our case, by Salesforce. This allows both the solution providers and the customers to focus entirely on innovation and the application layer since you are spared from dealing with everything related to infrastructure. So, you are allowed 10 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
to fit the solution to your needs through configuration rather than through expensive software customization. I would say it is thanks to this simplicity and usability we can provide a huge amount of flexibility and extensibility to our customers.” Salesforce is energyOrbit’s biggest strategic partner. “We were the first of 25 solution providers to publish a solution on the Salesforce AppExchange,” says Mr. Merhav. “The AppExchange marketplace is similar to the Apple App Store, so you can visit it and install all sorts of applications that compliment your CRM or vertical solution deployments. Overall, there are so many different steps and people involved in the journey to kilowatt-hour savings and permanent reduction of kWs. Initially, you have to take stock of what’s currently in the structure and run all the calculations to find out what the difference is and what the savings are between the old fixtures and the new. This involves marketing, sales operations, working with contractors and program managers, then you’re dealing with the folks who come in to verify the claimed savings. Our relationship with Salesforce is symbiotic in that we refer
to one another opportunities in the utility world cloud stack.” DIGITAL APPLICATION PORTAL EnergyOrbit is focused on achieving the energy efficiency and Demand Side Management (DSM) goals of utility companies, but is equally dedicated to reducing energy waste. “Another large and exciting ongoing project is extremely unique,” says Mr. Merhav. “Seven separate New England utilities have banded together to create a working committee and offer an energy solution for their constituents, regardless of the service territory. We worked very hard to win this deal, and in the end, we managed to win over some giant companies contending for the oppourtunity to serve New England. We launched at the beginning of 2018, and are giving millions of people in New England a unified interface to use, to apply for energy efficiency rebates with e-commerce convenience. The project in New England is very innovative, not just because of the magnitude of the project, but because so many utilities decided to band together to do something purely beneficial for their customers under the auspices of enhanced collaboration.”
“Once again there is no one standard one-size-fits-all,” explains Mr. Merhav. “Every state has its own energy savings measures or regulatory requirements with varying energy efficiency portfolios and goals. Con Edison of New York, with five different neighbourhoods all with substations in them, were faced with two options to deal with the increased energy demand: To increase investments in these substations, or through DSM initiatives avoid capital expenditure in these substations. We helped Con Edison through the use of the energyOrbit solution to track each borough’s energy usage and to achieve a certain amount of kWh savings; this initiative resulted in a resounding success. Another example is power plants running on natural gas. Those are very expensive to build and maintain, and peaker plants are even more expensive, filling in the needs for peak times during summer’s hottest months when everyone is using their air conditioners. By reducing consumption now, they, as well as other utilities in North America, are avoiding the need for building more power stations in the future, thereby fulfilling two important goals: reduction of greenhouse gases emissions and avoiding capital expenditure costs.” CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT EnergyOrbit uniquely bridges the gap between utility providers and their customers with convenient digital accessibility.
“Right now the buzzword in the utility world in America is customer engagement,” says Mr. Merhav. “The utility sector desperately needs to reinvent itself with that in mind. There is a rush right now towards customer engagement initiatives where utility companies are working hard to increase touchpoints with their customers. And this is one of the things that the energyOrbit marketplace, an extension of our product, is facilitating. We offer a familiar e-commerce, shopping cart experience, and people can decide what fits, what doesn’t fit, add it to the shopping cart and get all the calculations and eligibility, and then be referred to a trade ally to help them implement the pro-
ject. Once again the traditional utility model is being challenged, and our job is to help utilities reinvent themselves through what we call enhanced customer engagement.” “Important facet of the company is our extensive CRM expertise,” says Mr. Merhav. “As it has built up over the years, we now also have an extremely deep bench of energy efficiency and DSM experts. We are 100% focused on DSM operations as well as enterprise CRM. There is an agreement amongst utility leaders that the linchpin for enhanced customer engagement strategy is DSM itself. These energy efficiency programs are the best opportunities for utilities to deepen their relationship with their customers.” c
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SOL PETROLEUM JAMAICA
PART OF SOL’S DEDICATION TO THE COMMUNITY COMES FROM THEIR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE PRODUCTS THEY MARKET AND DISTRIBUTE.
BRIGHT SUN, BRIGHTER FUTURE Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Sol Petroleum Jamaica’s General Manager, Robert Jackson, and Lubricants Marketing Implementer for Sol Western Caribbean, Karoline Smith, about expanding their brand, contributing to the community, and providing quality products.
Sustainable Business Magazine last spoke to the Kingston-based company in 2015 (see Sustainable Business Magazine issue 08/15 for the full feature), when Sol Petroleum Jamaica (Sol), a leading petroleum marketing company, discussed their position 12 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
within the Jamaican landscape, their expertise in Shell lubricants, and their firm belief in training and support for their employees. Since that initial interview, the company has further increased their presence beyond the lubricants sector while remaining committed
to their business practices and the communities they operate within. “We are still focusing on lubricants, but our customer base and product portfolio has increased significantly since then,” says Robert Jackson, General Manager at Sol
we have the mining sector, agriculture, and pretty much every other sector that uses lubrication. The bunkering sector is where we service the vessels that come into the harbour, primarily cargo vessels entering at Kingston Harbour. We have about 3000 vessels that come here every year, and we provide both fuel and lubricant to them.” But Sol Petroleum Jamaica is not only focused on growing market share. While the company is in the petroleum industry, they are ‘in the business of people first’. “We’ve
also launched a number of impactful and meaningful promotions that the customers have really gravitated towards,” says Karoline Smith, Lubricants Marketing Implementer for Sol Western Caribbean “Safety, integrity, and service remain our core values, and we employ these ideas across our business operations to ensure that we are able to contribute positively to Jamaica.” EXPONENTIAL GROWTH A member of The Sol Group, Sol Jamaica emphasise safe and conscientious practices
ST ANDREW TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL.
Petroleum Jamaica. “We have been doing quite a bit as we grow our business, and we are making a lot of inroads in terms of our market share and creating a great deal of traction on the products that we are offering to the public. So our brand presence has been much stronger than it was before.” “We really have two primary areas of business that we offer here,” says Mr. Jackson. “One is lubricant and the other is bunkering. In relation to lubricants, there are several sectors that we work across in addition to the consumer market, of which marine is one. We also have transportation and heavy-duty fleets that we service; SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
SOL PETROLEUM JAMAICA and believe that their growth stems from their meaningful contribution to the national economy. “In 2013, when we started operations, we were number five within a survey studying brand recognition and awareness amongst consumers,” says Mr. Jackson. “But when the survey was repeated in 2015, just a year and a half later we were already at number 2. We have been able to reach the international community through our marine offerings, which has been a large factor in our sales growth. We have also grown in other sectors as well including the Passenger Car Motor Oil sector.” Sol is constantly thinking about their business strategies in a customer-centred fashion and is passionate about giving back to customers and providing excellent customer service across their entire network. “Also in the previously mentioned survey, we were number one in terms of being more impactful with customer relations than all of our competitors,” explains Ms. Smith. PROMOTIONS & PROJECTS Inventive collaborations and promotions are integral to Sol’s success in marketing and distributing their lubricants within the
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local and national community, in line with their customer-focused business model. “We have several promotions coming up in the next few months,” says Ms. Smith. “One of them will be football/soccor-related which is a great fit as Jamaicans are avid football fans. These various exciting
offers and promotions are very popular with our customers.” Joint initiatives are also an integral part of the petroleum company’s promotional strategy. Ferrari, one of Sol’s long-standing partners, was featured in a joint promotion last year. “Ferrari celebrated their 70th anni-
JONATHAN GRANT HIGH SCHOOL.
versary last year,” says Ms. Smith. “They have had a technical partnership with Shell spanning over 60 years. Through this relationship, there has been the development of the Shell Helix brand motor oil, which is actually tested in the Formula One races. There is even a track-side lab there to facilitate that. And we always tell persons, if the oil can perform optimally under those extreme conditions, then it certainly can perform in regular
vehicles. To commemorate Ferrari’s anniversary, we executed a promotion to leverage that partnership. Ferrari created model cars in different designs and colours which we gave away free with a certain amount of oil purchased. A similar promotion we had was a phone credit promotion, where we gave away phone cards with purchases. We have done other promotions but those two in particular did very well for us last year.”
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENTS Sol take the welfare of Jamaican communities very seriously, and reinforced their commitment to giving back. “We have forged a partnership with Jonathan Grant High School, based in St. Catherine,” says Ms. Smith. “They have an auto club and as a part of that program they teach mechanics. So we go there several times a year to teach and provide technical
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SOL PETROLEUM JAMAICA
INVENTIVE COLLABORATIONS AND PROMOTIONS ARE INTEGRAL TO SOL PETROLEUM’S SUCCESS MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTING THEIR LUBRICANTS WITHIN THE LOCAL AND NATIONAL COMMUNITY.
support, basically providing a course on lubrication and how it influences the workings of motor vehicles. They have one of the more equipped programs and actually have a car that was donated to them that they work on as part of the course too. So we help them to connect the dots in terms of how lubricants work, and we also donate lubricants that they can use for this program, so that cost is taken on by us and not by the school. We view it as creating opportunities and providing skills that will help students be integrated into the workforce.” Sol recently made contact with another high school which runs an auto programme, with the intention of enhancing 16 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
their work. “That is now finalized as we bring the same level of education and support to that selected school, based here in Kingston,” says Ms. Smith. But education is not the only area where Sol contributes to community development. “We also recently went to the university hospital here in Kingston and visited the children’s wards to bring them some cheer.” Ms. Smith explains. “We brought them writing books, colouring books, crayons, and toys, and spent some time with them, which was really well-received. Yet another project we have finalised is a lunch program for an inner-city basic school. That’s something we feel is important and are really passionate about.”
STAFF TRAINING & SAFETY As Sol has expanded over the past few years, the company continues to focus on employee safety, training, and development. “One thing that we have always made sure of is that we invest a lot in training,” says Mr. Jackson. “We just feel that it is a critical part of the development of our employees and the organisation itself. We keep our staff on top of any changes and provide refreshers when necessary. Skills training is crucial too, and we even consider training for senior staff and managers such as negotiation skills, and supervisory and leadership training. We do a lot of in-house training. For example, every year we run a Lubricants 101 that every member of staff
way related to our business. Whether you’re a contractor or a customer, we want everyone to understand that safety is something we take very seriously. We want people to understand that part of being a world-class organisation is having safety as part of the development plan.” NATIONAL WELLBEING Part of Sol’s dedication to the community comes from their attitude towards the products they market and distribute. “We are very serious about high-quality products and a high-quality service,” says Mr. Jackson. “It’s something that we pride ourselves on. What we try to convey is that with a high value product from us you have to spend less on repairs, maintenance, and parts in the long run. We want people to understand that we believe in quality and that this will have a long-term positive effect. We speak with our customers about how we can operate ethically and maintain the storage facilities to keep a clean and safe environment. We want to ensure that we work with the relevant agencies in the marine and bunkering businesses, the suppliers and the government bodies too, because we want to ensure that the harbours are protected from any incidents, and so we operate in such a way that we ensure that our business is clean and sustainable.” This idea of national wellbeing ties into the philosophy of safety and development espoused by Sol through their various internal and external policies. “Another thing that we do is our wellness programme,” elaborates Mr. Jackson. “We focus on this in-house and there are packages that staff can choose from. Wellness is a very impor-
tant part of productivity. I try to lead by example, so in 2016 I changed to a healthier lifestyle and lost about 60 pounds over the course of a year. I very strongly believe that promoting a healthy lifestyle can work in everyone’s favour.” JAMAICAN CONTRIBUTORS Sol seems set to continue growing and branching out into other sectors while continuing to contribute to the Jamaican community. “We expect to be in this business for the long haul,” says Mr. Jackson. “We want to continue to expand, and in terms of lubricants we will continue to look for a bigger market share. Ultimately, we want to be the premier lubricant supplier in Jamaica. We are currently working on a few projects which are too early to share, but we are looking forward to keeping you posted when we can. We remain committed to quality products, facilitating more tourism and cargo ships through our business, and contributing to national economic wellbeing.” “We will continue to ensure that we bring value to the Jamaican consumer,” agrees Ms. Smith. “We will also ensure that we do business with fairness and equity. We will continue to invest in our team as we have been doing and we really are passionate about the future and making these things happen. Our brand continues to grow as we expand our reach to better serve persons locally and nationally. Once again, Sol is a company that is invested in doing things the right way, so through our core values and the ways in which we do business, we will ensure that we are able to contribute to Jamaica in a positive and sustainable way.” c FLEET/TRANSPORT FORUM.
is invited to, so they stay familiar with the products we sell. Even if you’re not a sales team member, the fact that you can be asked and have the answers to questions about our products is important to us.” To promote health and safety, Sol holds regular sessions with employees. “What we do to get people more involved with our safety programme is get everyone to give a presentation,” says Mr. Jackson. “We try to think of it as a competition about who can make the best presentation to the other team members within 5 minutes. We have a very strong safety culture and we want to enhance this among our customers, not just within the organisations but with all the people that we interact with and are in some SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
NATIONAL WATER COMMISSION JAMAICA
THE NWC HAS CONTINUED THEIR FOCUS ON INCREASING PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL WELLBEING THROUGH EXPANSION AND WORKING CLOSELY WITH OTHER ORGANISATIONS.
Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Mark Barnett, President of the National Water Commission in Jamaica, and Vernon Barrett, Vice President, about optimizing efficiency, creating municipal infrastructure, and serving the region.
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The National Water Commission (NWC) is Jamaica’s primary provider of both water and municipal sewerage infrastructure, supplying more than 190 million gallons of potable water each day to approximately 2 million people across Jamaica. Established in 1980 under the National Water Commission Act, NWC last spoke to Sustainable Business Magazine in 2016, when they talked about streamlining their operation with increased efficiency and decreased waste, maximizing the number of people able to access their services, optimizing their service provision, and their work towards the Vision 2030 economic development program, created to increase the availability of potable water to ordinary Jamaicans. (See Sustainable Business Magazine issue 03/16 for the full feature.) In the two years since, the NWC has continued their focus on increasing public health and environmental wellbeing through expansion and working closely with other organisations. “There have been some significant developments, and there are some initiatives that we are currently pursuing related to non-revenue water,” says Vernon Barrett, Vice President of NWC. “We are starting to see some results from those activities in terms of conserving water and reducing waste. We have also been pursuing and advancing far in developing essential sewerage systems for the resort town of Port Antonio. This project is expected to be completed in August of this year, and
will serve the entire township. We have also recently been embarking on some energy efficiency approaches to install sources of renewable power within our structure.” “Because of the nature of the rural communities in Jamaica, we need to really explore other approaches,” explains Mark Barnett, President of NWC. “And we want to explore new approaches that will hopefully complement our existing projects. Most of the work we are now doing involves extension into the rural communities, both looking to improve existing coverage and replace some of the aging infrastructure as part of our services. The other aspects of our mission for 2030, some of which I’ve mentioned before, include how we can become more self-sufficient in terms of renewable energy within our water system.” IMPROVING EFFICIENCY For the NWC, efficiency is crucial. “Recently we have been looking into energy efficiency programs,” says Mr. Barnett. “We have found assistance in the form of a grant from the US Trade and Development Agency for $1,000,000 to help fund these projects. We have had some investment-grade audits, and we have recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, with a view to utilising their services and implementing renewable energy programs within our projects. Once feasible, the intention is to install anywhere between 5 and 10MW of SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
NATIONAL WATER COMMISSION JAMAICA
renewable energy at our major reservoir. As you can imagine, all of this feeds into not only how we intend to maximise the amount of renewables, but how we simultaneously reduce our carbon footprint as a utility.” The NWC are also pursuing the increased use of solid-state water meters to measure customer water consumption to improve efficiency and customer service delivery. “This is especially useful from the perspective of how a utility measures
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consumption from the consumer’s point of view,” says Mr. Barrett. “We installed 50,000 solid-state meters in Kingston and St. Andrew in 2016 and 2017. It is our intention to install an additional 450,000 solid state meters right across the island over the next 5 years under an arrangement with the meter manufacturer in Germany. This should also improve our revenue and has the potential to revolutionize how we approach customer relations as well.
“On the sewerage side, we have consolidated the operations of five waste water treatment plants that served the Portmore area in St. Catherine by converting them into pump stations and the wastewater pumped to the Soapberry Wastewater Treatment Plan for treatment,” says Mr. Barrett. “This has brought about an improvement in the environmental conditions of the bay in that area.” PUBLIC-PRIVATE WATER Over the years, NWC have increased the number of customer service centres and payment facilities, modernised their offices, and emphasised new technology and employee training. Today, the agency is exploring public-private partnerships (PPPs) as a way to improve efficiencies across the company’s operations as well as to expand water supply and sewerage services. “We are looking at the relationship between government and economic policies and projects, and how exclusively reliant on the government they are,”
says Mr. Barnett. “We are pursuing some projects now from a PPP perspective, and have at least one that is in advanced negotiations. This project involves the establishment of a new water treatment facility under a PPP arrangement to supply water to the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA). We also intend to pursue non-revenue water (NRW) initiatives through PPP arrangements. In this case, rather than having to find the funding up front to carrying out the required improvements, we wish to partner with investors with whom we can share the incremental revenue from the benefits of the reduced NRW.” VISION 2030 NWC is aiming to move Jamaica’s direct house-to-house piped water supply coverage from 75% of households to at least 85% by 2030, while boosting efficiency and service reliability. “For 2030, our mission is to continue improving our coverage and form further initiatives,” says Mr. Barnett. “One big question really is how to drastically improve the availability of potable water within rural communities. It is a big challenge, and so one of the things that we are going to advocate within the water sector is
how do we include other modalities for the supply of water which may not necessarily fall under the current purview of the NWC. We are currently dependent on the national grid for electricity; we would like to generate some of the electricity for our systems from renewable energy systems. The extent to which PPP arrangements could be used to realize this is being actively pursued. Some of the PPP activities that we are now considering also include the construction and maintenance of sewer infrastructure that will provide an improvement in public health and address environmental concerns. So these various activities are simultaneously focused on the water sector and will also effect broader changes, addressing various other concerns which are also detailed in our 2030 plan.” “We now currently have an arrangement between the NWC and the government of Jamaica, along with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB),” says Mr. Barnett. “We’re joining forces to look at how to effect large-scale change and what is expected in vulnerable areas of the country. We are also looking at how technology feeds into the achievement of our various
goals; this is usually the area that often lags in the sector. We must look at how we can maximise our service delivery and efficiency by adopting certain existing technologies.
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NATIONAL WATER COMMISSION JAMAICA
OUR OVERARCHING GOAL CONTINUES TO BE CONTRIBUTING POSITIVELY TO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
One area that we have really stepped up is the question of how do we successfully impact lifestyle changes, which we believe is really important. We’re giving air to messages about how people can improve the use of their water, promoting conservation and planning for the future. From where we stand, one of the things within our control is being able to talk about these issues to our customers with a certain amount of authority based on our experience and the successes we have had improving our own efficiency. We believe what we are doing is a game-changer, not only in terms of the revenue, but also from a public health and conservation perspective.” 22 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
TOURISM AND FURTHER EXPANSION Tourism is an important national source of income in Jamaica, and the NWC contribute to this economic driver by providing vital water supply and sewerage infrastructure. “There are efforts to further develop the Port Antonio area in terms of tourism,” says Mr. Barrett. “We are developing the sewerage infrastructure in that area, as well as strengthening the water supply. Our plans will tie in well with the broader plans to develop the region.” “We also have plans to develop and increase the capacities of water treatment plants that serve the northern section of the island, from Ocho Rios in St. Ann through
strategies. “Our main plan is to continue to improve and pursue our non-revenue water activities,” says Mr. Barnett. “And then a secondary priority is to continue increasing capacity. A third priority is to look very seriously at our organisation, its relevance, how it fits into the utilities sector, and how those services are provided. A fourth is the way in which we intend to try to make all of this more independent. We want to see how far ordinary Jamaicans can use the stock market to participate in a meaningful way, and then see a positive return on their investments. Of course, there’s also our continued expansion of the water supply and making sure that is available to more people. Efficiency really is key in all of the things that we do.”
“We know that there are opportunities that existing technology can provide, and we intend to exploit these for our benefit,” says Mr. Barrett. “We plan to enter into more PPP arrangements so we can improve our efficiency, overall operations, staff development, and the aforementioned technological advances. Involving ordinary Jamaican people in a meaningful way is important to us, and we are preparing an action plan based on that. Our overarching goal continues to be contributing positively to national development, providing high quality potable water and sewerage services as widely as possible, and providing them in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.” c
to Montego Bay in St. James, since that area is targeted for major tourism developments over the next 5 or so years.” says Mr. Barrett.” And in the case of Negril, which is further West, we are putting in further systems to allow flexibility in supply, since we don’t want to be reliant on one system. That’s most of the traditional tourism areas - but on the southern side, east of Kingston, there are plans to develop an area for tourism purposes. NWC will need to develop adequate infrastructure to support this.” COST-EFFECTIVE AND SUSTAINABLE For the NWC, water accessibility is at the core of their business plan and project SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
KPREIT IS COMMITTED TO BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE COMMUNITIES IN WHICH THEY INVEST.
SHARING THE WEALTH Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Kevin Richards, CEO at Kingston Properties Limited about successful real estate investing, corporate social responsibility, and engaging young people in the community. Kingston Properties Limited is a Jamaican real estate investment company which is listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange under the symbol KPREIT. Kingston Properties invests in, owns, and manages real estate properties, and has a mission to provide an above-average rate of return to investors through dividends and capital appreciation from their real estate portfolio. Now in their 10th year of operations, Kingston 24 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
Properties Limited was founded at a time of considerable financial uncertainty and turbulence. Through sound planning and a regularly reviewed investment strategy, the company has seen their portfolio and value increase year on year, with ongoing investments in several new markets. “We began operations at the start of the global recession, after real estate prices in most major markets had started
to plunge,” says Kevin Richards, CEO at KPREIT. “Our first project was a hotel condo project in Trinidad and Tobago called the Carlton Savannah. We exited that in 2010 and embarked on taking a foothold in the South Florida market. We saw greater opportunities there because it was at a time when condo prices had hit rock bottom, and we acquired 19 units in a downtown Miami building called The Loft 2. When
known as Little Havana,” explains Mr. Richards. “There were plans to have the zoning regulations changed to allow high-rise buildings in the area, so it was an opportunistic purchase. The plan was that once the zoning laws were changed we would look at either developing or selling the property at a significant premium. There has still been no change in the zoning laws and we exited this investment nonetheless at a premium. We have also increased our South Florida presence with the acquisition of more condominiums between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, bringing our total to 27 to date.” Since starting out, KPREIT have managed to grow significantly whilst minimizing their debt liabilities. “In 2012 we only had our initial Florida investment and 2 properties in Jamaica,” said Mr. Richards. “We’ve grown a lot since then. We didn’t have much debt at the time, so there was tremendous potential for increasing leverage to bolster our acquisition strategy. In 2015 we raised around $5,000,000 from a rights issue which we used to acquire the other condominiums in South Florida, and in 2016 we acquired more new properties, funded primarily through debt. Debt is currently just under $6m US, and we’ve moved from $9 million in assets to $20.5 million, so we’ve more than doubled in the last 3 years.” DIVERSIFICATION STRATEGIES KPREIT recently purchased their first investment property in the Cayman Islands. “To continue our geographic diversification strategy, we looked at both strong econ-
omies and economies that, as Jamaicans, we have a solid connection with,” explains Mr. Richards. “The Cayman Islands proved to be a very natural option for us, and we acquired our first building there in January last year. It’s along a very ‘buzzing’ stretch of the island, where there’s a high demand for space. We are in negotiations for another acquisition in the Caymans and one more in Jamaica. We also hope to expand our regional footprint with opportunities in other Caribbean islands, other states in the U.S., and to explore opportunities in Panama and the Dominican Republic. When looking for new investment markets, KPREIT looks at several key factors. “Firstly, we look at the economies and what is happening in terms of employment trends,” says Mr. Richards. “This helps us to determine what the realistic market is going to be like, not just now, but in 1, 2, 5, and 10 years’ time. If we’re looking at doing business in those countries, we do a lot of due diligence and try and understand the process as much as possible. Then we consider how efficient it is to make an investment in these areas. We also look closely at yields and performance to see what the trend is indicating for them, and to see if those yields are acceptable to us. We tend to tie yields to weighted average costs of capital, and it has to at least meet that rate before we can even consider that investment.” Finding the right partners to work with is key to how KPREIT manages risk. “We try to understand the risk of a particular market, and then aim to determine the rate
it comes to investing, timing and opportunity are key, and with the Loft 2 units these things came together perfectly for us. We later acquired a warehouse facility in Jamaica, and have since deepened our participation in the South Florida market. Our strategy remains focused on building a solid portfolio of income-generating assets in diverse geographic locations. Our latest foray is in the Cayman Islands where we acquired a mixed-use commercial residential building along the bustling Seven Mile Beach corridor.” CONTINUED GROWTH Over the last few years, KPREIT has maintained and strengthened their investments in South Florida. “In 2014 we sold 4 of the 19 units in The Loft 2 and acquired an apartment building in a section of Miami SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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KINGSTON PROPERTIES of return we’d find acceptable given the assessment of said risk,” says Mr. Richards. “Once we’ve accomplished that, we try and find suitable partners to work with in those markets. These will be people with experience and a proven track record of working with real estate investors. They’ll know the idiosyncrasies of the market, and will have lived in the area doing this for a number of years, so they can guide us in the process. Of course, it helps even more if they have a connection to Jamaica, as they’ll have an appreciation of our cultural differences and how we do business. This is very important in deal making and can smooth things out considerably. We’ll work with them in terms of identifying suitable properties that would meet our metrics, and then we’ll explore how we go about acquiring them” ENGAGING COMMUNITIES KPREIT is committed to building a sustainable relationship with the communities in which they invest. “The local people can give us a sense of how what we are doing may have an impact on the community and the environment,” says Mr. Richards. “They can help us make sure we’re staying within the regulations. Simple things like making sure our investment meets all the building codes is invaluable. In our condominiums, we are active in the homeowners’ associations, because we must make sure we look after our properties and protect the value of our investments. At home in Jamaica we also try to engage members of the community who live or work close to where we own properties. Community engagement is absolutely critical, not only to protect the value of our investment, but to educate and inspire the local youth as they are the future of our
country. Over the past few years we have been funding summer school programmes and sports programmes in these communities, and as we progress we will continue to increase the budget that’s available for these activities.” “We are a proud Jamaican company,” says Mr. Richards. “As our tag line says: ‘Buy Local, Own Global’. Our shareholders are primarily Jamaican, so they can buy our shares on the Jamaican Stock Exchange and through that they get access to global real estate investments. We were the first in the market to serve this need, and we remain the largest company providing this service to local folk. That’s something we pride ourselves on. We keep our operating expenses fairly light, and in our acquisitions strategy we try to ensure we’re not adding more costs to our operations. Also, when we acquire properties, we aim to have very limited landlord involvement. This means
we are able to create value to our shareholders through distribution of dividends and an increased stock price.” But KPREIT refuses to rest on their laurels. “We’re not yet at the level where our shareholders can achieve the highest dividends possible,” says Mr. Richards. “Our plans are to increase our efficiency even further, so within the next two years we are able to double the amount of dividends we will pay out to our shareholders. This is a primary objective for us, and means fairly aggressive growth resulting from a topdown strategy of maximizing our revenues while keeping operating expenses light. So far we’ve shied away from development risk, but in the future we’ll be looking at commercial or residential developments with joint venture partners, initially in Jamaica, then further afield. This is another way of giving us the high rates of return we need for sustainability.” c
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TRINIDAD & TOBAGO GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL PRESIDENT OF THE TRINIDAD & TOBAGO GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL DEVANAND RAGBIR (RIGHT) PRESENTS TTGBC’S CERTIFICATE OF GREEN BUILDING LEADERSHIP, 2017 TO RGM LIMITED ON THE ROOFTOP OF RGM’S SAVANNAH EAST – THE FIRST LEED CERTIFIED BUILDING IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. TTGBC AWARDED 100MWH OF RENEWABLE ENERGY CERTIFICATES. ACCEPTING THE AWARD ON BEHALF OF RGM LIMITED IS SENIOR MANAGER, FACILITIES SERVICES, RONALD AYOUNG. PHOTO CREDIT: CURTIS KHAN
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
GREEN BUILDING A foreword to the ‘Trinidad & Tobago Green Building’ series by Mandilee Newton Founding Member of the Trinidad & Tobago Green Building Council. The Trinidad and Tobago Green Building Council (TTGBC) was established in 2010 by a small group of industry professionals seeking to thrust green building into the national agenda. Today the Council’s membership stands at over 100 companies, individuals and student members. Green building and sustainability are particularly relevant to Trinidad & Tobago not just as an island state, but also due to the fact that electricity is immensely subsidized (the cost of electricity being approximately US 4-7 cents per kWh). In addition, the country has a disproportionately high 28 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
rate of CO2 emissions per capita, largely because Trinidad & Tobago is based on an oil and gas export economy (i.e. all the attributes from fossil fuels which are extracted and produced are allocated to Trinidad & Tobago rather than to the importer who actually uses them). At present the TTGBC operates strictly as an NGO and is run by an elected board of directors who serve on a voluntary basis. The board is made up of a President, Secretary, and Treasurer, with Vice Presidents in Marketing and Communications, Advocacy and Awareness, Public Relations, and,
Research and Development. The operation of the Council is driven by (1) membership subscriptions, (2) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate training, and (3) seminars. The mission of the TTGBC is to foster green building practices in Trinidad & Tobago and the wider Caribbean through participating in the following activities: • Development of programs to educate professionals and the general public in green building practices. • Cooperating with non-governmental agencies in the promotion of green building practices. • Advising governmental agencies on green building practices.
TTGBC EXECUTIVE (FROM LEFT) MS. ALYSSA KURBANALI, MR. MALI QUAMINA (FORMER EXECUTIVE), MR. DAVID FOJO, MR. DEVANAND RAGBIR, MR. CHAD LUE CHOY, MR. COLIN COCKBURN, MS. MANDILEE NEWTON.
• Representing professionals involved in green building practices. • Developing green building best practices and standards. • Contributing to the development of codes for green building practices. The values of the TTGBC are centered around the following: • Sustainability - respect for the limits of natural systems and non-renewable resources by seeking solutions that produce an abundance of natural and social capital. • Equity - respect for all communities and cultures, aspiring to an equal socio-economic opportunity for all. • Inclusiveness - practice and promotion of openness, broad participation, and full consideration of consequence in all aspects of decision-making processes. • Progress - striving for immediate and measurable indicators of environmental, social, and economic prosperity. • Connectedness – recognition of the critical linkage between humanity and nature as well as the importance of
place-based decision-making to effective stewardship. The TTGBC is currently an active participant in the development of a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code for the Commonwealth Caribbean. In addition, the TTGBC has participated in the development of the National Spatial Development Strategy for Trinidad & Tobago. Also, through invitation from the US Green Building Council, the TTGBC has served on the USGBC’s International Roundtable for the development of region-specific credits for the LEED green building rating system. The TTGBC was the recipient of the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries Service Association of the Year Award in 2013. This award is a prestigious award “designed to recognize role models in the industry for outstanding performance and contribution to the growth and development of the Services Industries in Trinidad and Tobago. Launched in 2011, the TTCSI Excellence in Service Award is the highest accolade given to local organizations for their achievements in quality and performance. It also contributes to
raising awareness about the importance of quality and performance excellence as a competitive edge.” In 2014, TTGBC in partnership with the USGBC brought the LEED Green Associate exams to Trinidad and Tobago in paper-based format. Prior to this, candidates would have travelled to the United States in order to test for the credential. Now, the electronic exams are available locally through a Prometric Testing partner. This has had a significant impact on the development of green building culture in Trinidad & Tobago, from 5 LEED credentialed professionals in 2010 to over 30 in 2018. Recently, Trinidad & Tobago witnessed its first LEED certified building (RGM’s Savannah East). The TTGBC sees this as a validation of its cause and is very proud of this accomplishment. Going forward the TTGBC will continue to play an active role in the development of the green building agenda in Trinidad & Tobago and the region. The TTGBC will continue to collaborate with public and private enterprise to safeguard sustainability for future generations. www.ttgbc.org c
TTGBC’S SEMINAR ON “GREEN BUILDING MAKING PROFITS SUSTAINABLE”, PAST EXECUTIVE MEMBERS (FROM LEFT) MR. ROGER SALLOUM, MS. SHAREN BIDAISEE, MR. CHAD LUE CHOY, MS. MANDILEE NEWTON,
HIS EXCELLENCY YOSHIMASA TEZUKA FORMER AMBASSADOR OF JAPAN TO TRINIDAD & TOBAGO AND MRS. CHIZURU TEZUKA AT THE TTGBC’S ANNUAL END OF YEAR EVENT ‘GREEN DRINKS’. PAST EXECUTIVE MEMBERS (FROM LEFT) MS. LENIQUECA WELCOME, MR. ROGER SALLOUM, MS. MANDILEE NEWTON AND MR. MARIO LANS.
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SMART ENERGY Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Rick Rennes, CEO/President at ITEM, about relationships predicated on shared values, reducing energy waste with technology, and transforming the Caribbean into a green leader. Photography provided by Anthony Moore. Information Technology Energy Management (ITEM) is a cleantech company that provides customized energy efficiency and management solutions. The company effectively began operations in 2007, focusing on residential properties, with an emphasis on simplifying lives by automating domestic conveniences and lighting, and utilising controls and occupancy sensors instead of switches. After initial successes and the allure of greater challenges, ITEM’s focus swiftly switched to commercial energy management. “We transitioned in 2009 into the energy efficiency market,” explains Rick Rennes, President and CEO at ITEM. “That’s when we really got our start in effecting significant change. We were engaged by one of the largest clients in the English-speaking Caribbean, Republic Bank Limited, and they afforded us the opportunity to do a pilot
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project for them in Grenada. After successful completion and outstanding results, the project was extended to 11 buildings across 3 separate countries, which by itself was a seemingly monumental task. But not only did we complete the project, we were able to do it under budget and on time. The client has since made our energy efficiency solutions standard in all their building construction and retrofit models.” Primarily based in Trinidad, ITEM now has locations in St. Lucia and Seattle with an active presence in Guyana, Grenada, Barbados, and Jamaica. Through their active role in the regional reduction of carbon emissions, their reputation as an industry leader continues to grow. STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS ITEM attributes much of their successes to strong relationships with their partners and an in-depth understanding of each customer’s needs. “We have selected our partnerships based on a holistic approach with major emphasis on customer satisfaction,” says Mr. Rennes. “We believe our strength is in the unique relationships that we forge with our customers. And any manufacturer or supplier that we select to work with must share the same vision. It’s not about the underlying factors or the overarching policies, and it’s not about money. It’s about customer satisfaction and effecting change. So when we go looking for suppliers or engage clients, it’s important that we’re like-minded, with the same ideals and similar passions.
ITEM TECH COMMISSIONING A BUILDINGâ€™S LIGHTING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.
PRIORITISING LOCAL AND GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS MEANS THAT THE COMPANY IS VALUED BY THEIR CUSTOMERS AND BUSINESS PARTNERS ALIKE.
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MAINTAINING THE DATABASE AND UPGRADING SOFTWARE TO ENSURE CONTINUOUS SAVINGS AND THE SMOOTH OPERATION OF THE LIGHTING SYSTEM.
One such supplier is MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions, based in Seattle; another is Lutron Electronics, one of the leaders in the lighting industry.” Just as vital are our employees who share our values. “We’re always seeking out new skilled personnel with the same vision and passion,” says Mr. Rennes. “Our team is constantly in ‘upgrade mode’. It’s an ongoing process and since the industry is constantly evolving, we are always sending our engineers for further training and exposing them to new and innovative ideas and concepts. Whether it’s to observe energy management processes in Sweden or to attend conferences in Dubai, the aim is always the same – find new ways to deliver cost savings to our
clients through energy efficiency solutions. By pairing our customers with the best possible products, practices and solutions tailor-made to their individual needs, executed by our specially trained teams, we have achieved unparalleled successes.” LIGHTING RETROFIT AND HVAC INTEGRATION Recently, ITEM refined its processes resulting in a dramatic reduction of energy wastage in both lighting and air conditioning. “My vision is to see our energy efficiency models embraced throughout the Caribbean region,” says Mr. Rennes. “Approximately 60% of utility bills can be attributed to HVAC usage and run times, due to the very humid and warm climate of the Caribbean.
So by integrating HVAC equipment into our lighting control systems and automation processes we can significantly impact the reduction of a building’s carbon foot print and allow our clients to realize considerable cost savings.” By tightly integrating the two, ITEM is able to construct systems in which both lighting and air conditioning function through building occupancy. “It’s going to revolutionise the market,” says Mr. Rennes. “There is no other company in the Caribbean doing anything like this, with this level of success. Typical results have shown a 65% reduction in lighting consumption, and now through the HVAC integration, we have seen up to 35% reduction in the client’s overall energy bill. The carbon emission reduction of this
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particular method is going to be somewhere in the range of two to three cars off the road per year.” ADAPTABLE PROCESSES The success of ITEM is also due, in part, to their ability to meet each client’s individual needs and specifications and as such the bespoke nature of their projects. “No two buildings are the same,” says Mr. Rennes. “For example, some clients may have already implemented energy efficiency measures, whereas others may have larger footprints and of course sequence of operations and network policies and protocols always differ. In Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean islands, homes and buildings are primarily built with concrete and steel, making it more challenging when it comes to providing automation, simply because of the amount of cabling and infrastructural support necessary. We see a huge disparity between different designs and different client objectives, and our process of designing the infrastructure must be completely adaptable. This adaptability allows us to work with various IT departments to take the model we created and have it implemented across varying existing networks.” BUILDING A GREEN CARIBBEAN The Trinidad and Tobago Green Building Council is a body of multidisciplinary
building professionals committed to achieving sustainable buildings in Trinidad and Tobago, a goal shared by ITEM. “One area the Caribbean is somewhat deficient in is an exportable commodity outside of the energy sector,” says Mr. Rennes. “One of the key reasons we continue to work in the Caribbean is that the Green Building Council is doing a great job in trying to raise energy awareness, especially Trinidad and Tobago. One of my passions is the establishment of new industry, created to allow for export, up and down the Caribbean; an industry that will truly effect change. Thus we’re always trying to do our part for a better global community. This I believe the Green Building Council really wants to see come to fruition, and we are happy to be a leader in this movement.”
As ITEM looks to the future, their dedication to putting clients first and prioritising local and global environmental concerns means that the company is valued by their customers and business partners alike. “The key is that our processes are unique to our company,” says Mr. Rennes. “There are no other companies in the Caribbean who do what we do, and our customers echo these sentiments. So in terms of the future, we want to be able to deliver these savings to as many customers as possible to help reduce the overall carbon emissions footprint across the Caribbean. That way we are going to minimise the impact on our natural resources, introduce the best possible products, paired with the best possible service, and can have that exported to as many customers around the Caribbean as possible.” c ITEM TECH ACTIVATING COMPONENTS.
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Apr 30th - 3rd
Offshore Technology Conference 2018 Houston, TX, USA www.2018.otcnet.org
The Offshore Technology Conference is where the worldâ€™s energy professionals meet to exchange ideas and opinions to advance scientific and technical knowledge for offshore resources and environmental matters.
3rd - 4th
Green Schools Conference & Expo 2018 Denver, CO, USA
The Green Schools Conference & Expo is the only national event to bring together all the players involved in making green schools a reality: people who lead, operate, build and teach in U.S. schools.
7th - 10th
AWEA WINDPOWER 2018 Conference & Exhibition Chicago, IL, USA www.awea.org
WINDPOWER is the place to turn that momentum into action - make the connections, get the training, and learn about the innovative technologies that will power this industry forward.
15th - 16th
Solar Power Southeast 2018 Atlanta, GA, USA www.events.solar/southeast
Solar Power Southeast has proven to be the premier solar event in the region. The event has grown each year due to the exponential solar growth thatâ€™s happening in the southeastern United States, as well as the passion of the region.
30th - 1st June AWE USA 2018
Santa Clara, CA, USA
World Environmental & Water Resources Congress Minneapolis, MN, USA
As the recognized leader within ASCE for the integration of technical expertise and public policy in the planning, design, construction, and operation of environmentally sound and sustainable infrastructure impacting air, land and water resources.
Canadian Environment Week Canada
Canadian Environment Week is a time for grassroots action to help preserve, protect and restore our environment. This annual event provides an opportunity to celebrate the progress that has been made but also to encourage further efforts all year long.
LEAN and Green: Embracing Excellence 2018 Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Embracing Excellence 2018 features workshops and presentations by LEAN experts to deliver leading-edge methods and tools to drive operational excellence throughout the organization, including sustainable manufacturing.
16th - 21st
Resources for Future Generations 2018 Vancouver, BC, Canada www.rfg2018.org
RFG2018 takes its theme from a new IUGS initiative of the same name designed to mobilize geoscientists, policy-makers and other stakeholders to explore resource and related sustainability issues.
21st - 22nd
ICSDCE 2018 Toronto, ON, Canada
Bringing together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Sustainable Design and Construction Engineering.
3rd - 7th
4th - 10th
4th - 7th
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Showcasing speakers, startups and organizations who are using AR & VR to drive economic growth, encourage empathy and collaboration, democratize healthcare and education, and promote sustainability in the world.
ADVERTISERS INDEX B Bercon Rentals Inc. BIOREM Inc. C CGM Gallagher Insurance Brokers Jamaica Ltd. G Guillevin Int. Co.
H Hood-Daniel Well Co. Ltd.
S SOL Petroleum Jamaica
J Jamaica Stock Exchange
T The Plant People Ltd.
P Petrospec Ltd.
V Vanguard Security Ltd.
R Rainbow Realty
W Water Expo 2018
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Sustainable Business Magazine 02/18