Ten housing trust homes to get solar refit

 | 08/08/2023

(CNS): The Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency has started working with a socio-economic consultant to help select ten National Housing Development Trust homes for an energy efficiency retrofit and rooftop solar. This project and another to retrofit public buildings, which are both being funded by a European Union grant of more than €1.2 million (CI$1.09M), aim to help battle the climate crisis, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut costs for homeowners and the government.

Over the coming weeks, the consultant will work with the ministry’s project team to develop selection criteria, shortlist households and provide a final recommendation to the ministry, officials said in a press release. Application forms have already been given to NHDT owners and tenants for those who want to be considered for the programme.

The project is funded by the Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme (RESEMBID), a sustainable human development aid project supporting efforts in a dozen Caribbean countries and territories.

The programme to retrofit public buildings is focused on increasing efficiency in three buildings selected from 13 that have been selected for an energy audit. The selected buildings will be fitted with new efficient air-conditioning systems and spray foam insulation. The project also includes energy audit training for local facility managers and college-level students, establishing minimum energy efficiency standards for new builds, and an assessment of the best financing mechanisms to support the retrofit of additional buildings.

Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn said the project team had been working hard to move these programmes forward and meet the rigorous standards set by the RESEMBID grants. “Improving energy efficiency is an essential component of our efforts to reduce the amount of power needed to keep our homes and offices running while providing solar to those who need it most,” she said.

The ministry is also working with an energy code consultant to develop energy efficiency standards for the Cayman Islands. The consultant will undertake a feasibility study on the adoption of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code for the Cayman Islands and develop energy efficiency standards for public sector buildings.

These projects are separate from the recently launched Cayman Home Energy Efficiency Retrofits (CHEER) Programme, which enables lower-income Caymanian homeowners struggling with high electricity bills to apply for free energy efficiency upgrades.

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