While the country’s building standards have, for the most part, been considered adequate, the impact of climate change and more destructive storms has demanded that adjustments be made. Globally, those adjustments have included the use of alternative sources of energy, new technology, and improved building strategies. Led by alternative energy expert Greg Uptagrafft, PowerPlus Bahamas, has become a leader in providing local alternative energy solutions for both homes and businesses across the country. Known best for its ThermX systems, which have been found to drastically reduce the energy consumption of cooling and refrigeration systems, the company has had tremendous success in addressing the energy needs of customers in Grand Bahama, Abaco, and New Providence. “Because of our geographic location, we are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, but we now have a chance to rebuild in a way that helps protect homes and businesses” he explained.
“Construction standards have to change, and alternative energy should be the NEW normal” noted Uptagrafft PowerPlus Bahamas has been working to introduce new strategies locally. The company recently embarked on a major energy reduction project designed to improve efficiency at the popular Taino Beach Resort and replicate the significant savings realized by Abaco Beach Resort. “Reduce Before You Produce is our motto,” said Uptagrafft. “Based on our audit of the company’s current usage, we set a goal to significantly reduce their energy consumption. Conversion to LED lighting and the installation of THERMX technology to reduce their air conditioning consumption has put them well on their way to achieving this goal. We believe the introduction of these new strategies, will help create a new baseline for the company’s energy consumption trends, making it a far more sustainable operation.” PowerPlus Bahamas is also lending its expertise to the upgrade of essential hospital services as well.
Along with two other companies, PowerPlus Bahamas has been sub-contracted to provide energy-saving upgrades to new cooling systems being installed at the Eight Mile Rock clinic. In addition to this work, PowerPlus Bahamas has joined forces with MESOCORE Solar Homes a Florida based company, to provide complete pre-built homes created solely for sustainability. “If there’s one thing Hurricane Dorian has taught us, is that cutting corners and failing to adapt to a more sustainable standard of construction will not hold up in the long run,” explained Uptagrafft. “Especially with Cat 5 storms and the inundation of seawater.” Each MESOCORE home is designed to be hurricane and water resilient incorporating alternative energy options including solar electricity and a 2,000-gallon rain reservoir with its own filtration system.
The partnership brings with it improved construction standards which include insulation for floors, walls, and ceilings. It also uses grid-tied solar systems, watertight features, LED lighting, and solar thermal air conditioning systems – the most efficient on the planet. “Dorian brought unimaginable destruction but it also presents an opportunity for us to do better, expect better and of course prepare better for future storms,” said Uptagrafft.
“If you have to rebuild, then here is your opportunity to include efficiency standards to reduce your energy consumption and features to survive after the storm.”
Uptagrafft whose own home was flooded (minor compared to many) is
proud to be able to offer these resilient homes to those who want to rebuild but know that they must build differently. “Yes, it is true that some of these measures cost more upfront,” he added. “But the return on all these types of upgrades is definitely worth it, as we all know our power bills are our largest consumer expense and having power and water days after a storm – is the key to survival.”