Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) technology is an excellent way to leverage the natural environment and conserve energy in Jamaica and the Caribbean according to Hon. Horace Chang, Minister without Portfolio (Water, Works & Housing), Ministry of Economic Growth & Job Creation.
The Minister was commenting on the NZEB building being constructed as a prototype for the region at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, following an update on the project by Professor Tara Dasgupta, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, Dept. of Chemistry, UWI.
The project being implemented by the Institute of Sustainable Development (ISD), at the UWI with financial support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and technical assistance of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is expected to transform building policies and practices region-wide.
It includes a component which will see the retrofitting of the National Housing Trust Headquarters in Kingston, their car park and the adjoining Emancipation Park, in line with NZEB guidelines.
Minister Chang noted that Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean were still too dependent on fossil fuel and that “renewable energy is our best bet for the future.”
He reminded that in the past “Jamaicans in rural areas in particular, were very proficient at recycling and water harvesting” and suggested that greater emphasis in this area would greatly benefit home owners and the country in general.
Prof. Dasgupta advised that the NZEB model at UWI would maximize use of natural sunlight for lighting, use air currents to cool the building and utilize energy efficient technologies to reduce the need for air conditioning and artificial lighting.