The next time you go shopping for an appliance and see a bright yellow sticker with the Barbados Energy Label caption on it, take note as you will be able to save yourself some much needed dollars!??

Coming at a time when many Barbadians are looking to save money as well as invest in an appliance that will give their hard earned cash greater mileage, it will also save on energy in the long run.

To this end, the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) has joined in the effort by encouraging Barbadians to save and has launched the Energy Labelling Programme, which officially came into effect last October.

Chief Technical Officer (Specifications) at the BNSI, Fabian Scott, explained that the Barbados Energy Label Programme was not only an initiative of his organisation but also of its stakeholders, Government and other partners as its main priority was to increase energy efficiency in the residential sector and help persons save money.

???It has [the programme] many other benefits to which there are different levels, for example, there is a national benefit, there is a benefit to the suppliers and retailers, and there is an individual benefit to the consumers.

“If we start at the consumer level, imagine you are about to make a purchasing decision, you are about to buy an appliance, a household appliance, for example, a refrigerator is going to cost you $300 to run a year by consuming X amount of electricity and one of the same class, same size is going to pull $50 less; then it is going to be more efficient than the other one. You would make a very obvious choice; you would choose the one that is more energy efficient.??So, initially the programme at the consumer level is seeking to save individuals money,??? the Chief Technical Officer pointed out.

Noting some retailers have already begun to post these labels, Mr. Scott stated that in many other jurisdictions, as soon as standards and energy labels are introduced there is actually a sales bump or sales spike.?????If you have an old appliance at home, maybe seven or 10 years and the technology is outdated, then it may not be as efficient as current technology and probably costing you more than it should. The obvious thing to do is to invest in something newer that will save you money over the next five to 10 years.

???Again, you have this old refrigerator, it???s maybe five or seven or eight years old; as we tend to keep our appliances that long, but it???s costing you $500 to $600 a year to run but the current ones may cost you about $300. So, here you are going to cut your yearly energy bill in half,??? he said.

Explaining that the Energy Labelling Programme was already in place in some retail stores, Mr. Scott noted that the appliances that were expected to be labeled according to the Barbados Energy Label Standard, included refrigerators and freezers; clothes washers and dryers; dish washers; electrical cookers and ovens; televisions; radio and audio sets; DVD and VCR players; household fans; evaporative coolers, room air-conditioners, light bulbs; electric water heaters; electric pumps and motors.

He also indicated that at the national level, 95 to 98 per cent of Barbados??? electricity generation was fueled by petroleum. He said that it was his department???s aim to facilitate the reduction of electricity consumption in the residential sectors.??

???We are aiming to reduce [energy consumption] by approximately 22 per cent over the next 15 years. We would expect that if your electricity consumption is reduced you are obviously going to be generating less electricity, which naturally means you are importing less fossil fuel and, therefore, the country will spend less money. And, once you can do that it gives the country some fiscal breathing space not to be spending money on fossil fuels that they don???t need to,??? he asserted.

The BNSI official also noted that his organisation started to train the point of sale retailers in printing and displaying the Barbados Energy label.

???We have done that with about 48 retailers so far and there are about another 30 on stream to go and we will try to get through with those as soon as we can. We expect by the middle of 2014 that we will finish conducting training for all of the retailers in Barbados and then we will have to manually seek out the small window shops in Swan Street that sell appliances such as fans and so on???So, we know that we have to continue the programme right down until the end of the year. However, the programme does not have a time frame, as it is continuous because we do suspect that every year, we will need to do some refreshing to inform and remind customers and retailers as well,??? he outlined.

The Label, which is bright yellow and has the Barbados Energy Label caption on it, gives consumers two pieces of information ??? the principal display, which is the electric consumption in terms of kilowatt hours per year or per month, and an estimation of the annual operating cost, or the cost for the period if it is monthly for that appliance.

Mr. Scott also explained that in some instances where it was difficult to calculate the operating cost they would give the efficiency of an appliance in terms of percentage, so persons would see comparatively how efficient one appliance was to another. He further added that the Label, which is approximately 9 cm by 14 cm, is somewhat similar to the US Energy Guide.

“???We have designed our own label ??? so, it will actually be on the appliance itself or tagged onto the shelf where the actual appliance or product is. You can look for it in stores. In some cases you actually see it on those small light bulb boxes. You can see it on the light bulb???the label, however, should be prominent and you should be able to see it and read it to get the information on the electrical appliance,??? he advised.??

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