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New AC system to save Spanish Town Hospital $1.6m annually

Wednesday, April 23, 2014    

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THE Spanish Town Hospital in St Catherine is expected to save more than $1.6 million per annum in energy cost, with the installation of a state-of-the-art air-conditioning system.

The system is being acquired at a cost of $8.4 million by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) under the Government's Energy Efficiency Programme.

Leading energy solutions provider, Appliance Traders Limited (ATL) has been awarded the contract to supply and install the unit on the maternity wing of the 62-year-old health facility by June.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell; PCJ's Acting Group Manager Winston Watson; and managing director of the ATL Group Danville Walker signed the contract for the implementation of the project at the ministry in New Kingston, yesterday.

According to Paulwell, ATL will, under the agreement, supply and install a 20-tonne air-conditioning system in the maternity wing's operating theatre and a 12-tonne system on the labour ward.

He said the significant savings to be accrued was a welcome reprieve for the hospital, where AC units now account for close to 43 per cent of the energy used. At the same time, he reiterated the Government's commitment to reducing the national energy bill by improving the energy conservation and efficiency measures in the public sector.

"The Government spends just about $14 billion per annum on electricity. Our goal is to cut that by about 20 per cent, which would mean significant savings and more revenues to spend on other activities," he said.

Watson, meanwhile, said the initiative was part of the PCJ's mandate to reduce the national energy bill by equipping public facilities with energy-efficient technology. "High energy costs present a serious impediment to service delivery at government institutions, so the PCJ is carrying out interventions to alleviate some of the financial pressures being faced by the public sector," Watson said.

"Projects such as the one we are undertaking at the Spanish Town Hospital won't solve all of our energy problems, but they will help to cut our energy spend, while we seek to implement longer-term solutions," he added.

Walker said ATL was pleased to partner with the Government to not only provide such services to the people of Jamaica, but more importantly, to contribute to the reduction of the country's energy purse and, consequently, its sustainability.

"Public health care facilities are heavily reliant on power, and with ballooning energy costs it becomes integral to reduce consumption patterns without sacrificing [the] quality of service. As demonstrated by this partnership, ATL is well poised to not only engineer scalable energy solutions, but also provide the requisite equipment to impact energy receipts," Walker said.

According to Paulwell, reducing the public sector's energy bill is one of his ministry's top priorities. "The Government is currently spending over $14 billion on energy every year, so we welcome every energy-efficiency project which helps us to reap savings, because money saved is money earned," he said.

The upgrade of the maternity wing's air-conditioning system is the third energy-efficiency project the PCJ has undertaken at the Spanish Town Hospital. Last year, the corporation carried out a complete retrofitting of the internal lighting system on the maternity wing at a cost of $1.2 million. That intervention was projected to cut the hospital's energy consumption by 36,000 kWh per year. In addition, in March 2009, the PCJ installed a $3.8-million solar water heating system at the facility.

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