How to reduce your carbon footprint…and save money

Going green and become energy efficient doesn’t just help save the planet, it also saves money. Scott Murray, electrical sales administrator with Mega Systems, gives The Journal the most up-to-date information when it comes to greening homes in Cayman. First in a series of articles.

Can you tell us about current green initiatives that you have in the works with regard to new builds?
Complimenting a full range of MEP services, Mega Systems Ltd is able to provide comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions and services that our clients can use to reduce or eliminate their energy dependency and help protect the environment. We are able to offer our clients, their architects and project managers a single source of responsibility for integrating renewable energy and energy efficient technologies into the engineering of the buildings electrical system for their projects while providing the highest possible value for the client.
We currently have several solar installations in progress. We are now installing a ‘grid tied’ system on a project which we have been involved with since the initial design stages of the home. Another project involves a grid supported ‘stand alone’ renewable energy system with battery back-up which is being installed on an existing residence. Both projects have implemented the use of LED lighting to reduce their overall energy requirements.
These projects will result in environmentally responsive, energy efficient and self reliant homes that produce a degree of their own energy.
What are the main green features people are looking to incorporate in their homes?
 There are a multitude of techniques and technologies available that will result in increasing the energy efficiency of any particular project with the ultimate goals of reducing energy consumption without necessarily drastically changing ones chosen lifestyle and to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the building.
Features can be as simple as reducing the building exposure to direct sunlight through strategic landscaping or shading structures and replacing less efficient energy consuming lighting and appliances with newer energy star rated equipment and LED lighting.
We are also noticing a greater environmental interest by our clients in discussing how to best integrate renewable energy technologies into their buildings to reduce or even eliminate their dependence on electricity supplied by the CUC which is currently 100 per cent  derived from diesel generators.
Do they really save people money as well as save the planet?
Increasing your properties energy efficiency and reducing its overall energy demands are the most cost effective ways of beginning to reduce your impact on the environment. Integrating renewable technologies still represents a significant investment but for many, the benefits of investing in the technology outweigh the upfront costs.
People decide to buy solar energy systems for a variety of reasons. Buying a solar energy system is a powerful and direct way for them to help protect the environment, and make a long lasting commitment to the planets future. Some people like the security of renewable energy because it makes them less vulnerable to future increases in electricity as a result of fossil fuel prices. Others are interested because renewable energy systems can provide emergency power in case of hurricanes or other power system failures. Finally, some people just don’t like paying bills and appreciate the independence that renewable energy provides.

Are they easy to install and run?
Renewable energy systems should be designed and installed by trained professionals primarily due to the voltages that can be involved in this modern equipment.  There is very little maintenance to perform on an installed solar PV system as there are few moving parts. Operating the system can be as simple as monitoring the system performance on a regular basis and possibly having to rinse of the panels occasionally to remove dirt or debris.
Other energy efficiency measures can be implemented quite easily. Converting to energy efficient lighting is as simple as replacing an incandescent bulb with an LED bulb, no special wiring or tools are required. LED bulbs use up to 80 per cent less energy than conventional bulbs and run cool, thus reducing on your air conditioning costs as well.

Next month read about the latest trends in going green.

Previous articleUps and downs
Next articleArt Gossip