THE 500-acre housing development at Richmond in St Ann is a good example of what Jamaican homes of the future should look like, certainly when it comes to energy conservation.
This is according to Damian Lyn, managing director of Alternative Power Sources, who has supplied the homes with solar water heaters and optional solar power.
"At Richmond, the energy conservation project there is an excellent example of how developers should think, mainly when designing housing communities. All the street lights there have solar panels attached to them. All the houses have solar water heaters and solar panels. This is a community that is highly promoting energy conservation and how to go green," Lyn told Environment Watch during a recent tour of the community which is still under construction.
In recognition of those efforts, the development was last year nominated for the 2010 International Renewable Energy Project of the Year Award — an international accolade offered annually by the Association of Energy Engineers out of the United States.
"The Jamaica Society of Energy Engineers recognised the difference the developers of Richmond were making — a difference in how communities in Jamaica are to be designed. So they decided to nominate the community for the award," noted Lyn, who also served as a consultant for the development. "Each house in Richmond has a well-galvanised and uniquely designed water heater that is not located on the roof of the house; it is on the ground at the back of the house."
He added that the placement of the water heaters on the ground, there was less pressure on the roof of the homes.
Lyn has encouraged homeowners outside of the Richmond development -- comprised of The Palms, (three bedroom, three bathroom houses); Fern Court (two bedroom, two bathroom apartments); and Country Walk (two bedroom, two and half bathroom townhouses) -- to follow their example.
"What also makes this place a good example of how communities should be is the fact that not only is the community built and designed on the basis of solar energy conservation, but it (also) promotes a great green environment," Lyn said. "Along the community's border wall, where the community faces the highway, the 50 bulbs there are connected to a solar system."
The bulbs are supplied with power by six 140-watt solar panels.
The development -- which comes at a cost of between US$165,000 (J$14.6 million) and US$360,000 (J$32 million) to prospective homeowners —is also landscaped with the idea of a 'green' community in mind. At the same time, it boasts the benefit of eco-friendly sewage disposal and reliable water supply.
Residents are required to make a payment toward the maintainance of the grounds, solid waste collection and disposal, common area water, sewage, and common area electricity.