For the Dixons, the talk of going green is much more than talk but a passion put ardently into practise, “We are big believers of energy efficiency and do all we can to save,” says Newton Dixon of Retreat, St Thomas.
And indeed Newton and his wife Beulah have put their beliefs into sustainable practise turning their home into a model energy-efficient dwelling, “We make a conscious effort to only buy eco-efficient appliances as well as we use surge protectors, energy-saving LED bulbs, even solar powered garden lights” said Newton.
Their biggest energy efficient venture came recently with the procurement of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. “We had long thought about going solar as an additional way of saving on our energy receipts so we worked with an independent supplier to set up a stand-alone PV system.” Stand-alone PV systems are electrical power systems energised by solar PV panels which are independent of the national power grid. Storage battery banks are used to store the electrical energy produced by the PV panels.
The initial system, however, failed to meet their expectations barely generating enough electricity to run their residence. So the Dixons contracted energy solutions company ATL Energy (Appliance Traders Limited) to inspect it. “We assessed their setup and determined that their system was underperforming due to faulty equipment including faulty batteries, a faulty inverter controller as well as insufficient panels,” said Richard Marquis, Senior Application Engineer at ATL Energy. “We were able to salvage the panels from their previous setup, rewire the entire system and boost it to a powerful 3KW capable structure. We also outfitted the Dixons with a charge controller, which protects the system from electrical surges as well as prevents the batteries from under/overcharging,” said Marquis.
With their system now retrofitted and functioning, the Dixons gush that the move to solar was one of the best decisions they ever made. “Currently we run heavy appliances such as our standing refrigerator, deep freezer as well our entire household lighting completely on solar energy,” said Mrs Dixon, “I am so happy that ATL was able to save our investment because we are truly a ‘green’ family”.
“You’d be amazed at the difference that the type of light bulb used makes on your energy bill,” commented Shani Duncan, Head of Appliance Traders’ Energy Division (ATL).
Duncan recommended consumers make the switch to LED bulbs to bring about immediate savings on future energy receipts. “LED bulbs use up to 89% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 25 years so with cheaper running costs and fewer replacements, you’ll see energy savings straight away,” she said.
Panasonic, one of the world’s leading ‘green’ electronics companies harnesses the use of LED technology, manufacturing a wide range of eco-friendly devices including the relatively inexpensive but effective bulbs. “Panasonic has the best LED bulbs on the market which are not only eco-friendly but also considerably affordable,” quipped Duncan. “They range from J$2500** upward which is remarkable for a bulb that you’ll only change twice in 50 years. The LED emits the same soft white light much like fluorescents but are more efficient, durable and have a long life span which makes them perfect for residential lighting”.
The Energy division head urged consumers to undertake an energy assessment of their homes to develop tailored conservation methods, “Every step towards conservation impacts our financial bottom line so the time is right to make the energy switch.” And for those looking to cut back even further, Duncan advises that there are a plethora of options, from small steps such as switching to energy-efficient bulbs or going completely off the power grid by way of solar panels. “Consumers have the option of going off-grid becoming fully reliant on their own photovoltaic (PV) system or they can introduce a grid-tie system which utilizes both the PV’s and the national power grid,” she advised.