Kermit, once said; ‘It’s not easy being green’. And that is certainly true in the Bahamas. There are no real recycling programs and the vast majority of the electricity consumed is produced by diesel generators. However, we are trying to do our best to make a difference. With an electricity cost of about $0.50/kwh (that’s 3-4 times the average cost of electricity in the rest of North America), there is a huge incentive to be energy efficient. Here are a couple of things that we have done:
MR. FUSION HOME ENERGY REACTOR – In the basement, we have installed a fusion reactor supplied by Dr. Brown and M. McFly that consumes all of the garbage produced and provides the entire island with electricity….just kidding, we don’t have a basement (or a DeLorean or a flux capacitor).
PLASTICS FREE BAHAMAS 2020 We did not do this but The Bahamas government did (and we support it). As of January 2020, a ban was placed on the import of single use plastics.Specifically banned are plastic shopping bags, plastic utensils, styrofoam containers and cups and plastic straws. The biggest impact on visitors is that you will have to use a reusable shopping bag when you go to the store (we have a number of them at the house) and any take out or left overs will be in cardboard boxes, rather than styrofoam. See the PLASTICS FREE 242 site for more details (242 is the telephone area code for all the Bahamas).
SOLAR AIR CONDITIONING is our biggest effort is in the area electricity conservation. About 50% of the power consumption is found in the air conditioning so we installed a solar powered system. We have three units that run off power generated by solar panels located on the roof during the day. They switch to grid power at night but because they are so efficient, they don’t use really use that much electricity. The total SEER with the solar panels is about >65 (the typical household AC unit is around 15). That means that overall we use about a tenth of the electricity normal AC does. Hot Spot Energy is the supplier.
HIGH EFFICIENCY FANS that use about 1/3rd the amount of conventional fans have been installed in most of the rooms. Other than in the heat of the summer, the fans are a great way of keeping cool without using AC. Haiku Home (by BigAss Fans) is the manufacturer.
LED LIGHTING is used all though the house wherever possible. These lights use almost no electricity compared to the old incandescents and much less than the fluorescent. As well, the bulbs seem to last forever.
OCCUPANCY SENSORS switch a number of the lights and fans on when you enter and then turn off after you leave so there is no chance of leaving something running for long periods of time. It makes things very ‘Star Trek’ (sans William Shatner).
ULTRA LOW FLUSH TOILETS – We use the Kohler ‘Watersense’ toilets. They are rated as ‘great flushers’ but only use 1.28 gallons per flush (most toilets use 1.6 gal. Spanish Wells has plenty of water so this is not that big of a deal but every little bit helps
If you have a suggestion to make our home more energy efficient or more sustainable, please let us know.