Greener buildings a matter of collective security


17-April-2013

Minister Payet addressing delegates at the opening of the workshop

Methodologies to do just this were discussed and debated at a renewable energy workshop held recently in partnership between the Seychelles Energy Commission (Sec) and the Réunion Island Energy Agency (Arer). Also present at the workshop was the principal secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Energy, Wills Agricole, representatives from the Ministry of Land Use and Housing and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, architects, civil engineering contractors and solar panel contractors.

The aim of the workshop was to allow those in the building industry the opportunity to discuss methods to reduce energy and water consumption in housing and commercial spaces, promote sustainable and thermally comfortable houses and install renewable energy sources for buildings.

“Seychelles, Réunion and Mauritius have recently seen increased sudden and violent floods and storms, which can certainly be linked to global warming,” said Minister Payet.
“The islands are, by their high exposure to natural hazards, such as tides, winds and erosion, good indicators of climate change and their evolution.”

The minister said these situations proved the urgency of developing balanced climate policies and said the importance of energy independence and the development of renewable energy could not be overlooked.

“Therefore, we can consider that climate change must now be approached as a matter of collective security. Faced with this enormous challenge, local cooperation is essential,” said the minister.
Minister Payet said that stakeholders were present to build the foundations of an agreement on the subject of sustainable development, including sustainable building practices.

“Réunion has extensive experience in this field, so sharing our tools and methodologies are essential for our two communities.”
Hit by rising fuel costs and worried about the impact of global warming, particularly on its delicate flora and fauna, the small island nation of Réunion set itself the ambitious goal of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

By 2025, the French territory wants to use renewable energy sources to produce 100 percent of its electricity, and to power all of its transport by 2050. Currently, over 34% of its energy is produced from renewable resources.

Dimitry Turpin of the Seychelles Energy Commission said the presentation from Arer aimed to educate Seychellois building contractors on the measures implemented by Réunion to build smarter, more energy-efficient homes and office spaces.

“We will discuss how they are building here, what the challenges are and maybe how we can work together with the Réunion Island Energy Agency to overcome these kinds of problems and go for a greener way to build in Seychelles,” said Mr Turpin.

“Our focus right now at the Seychelles Energy Commission and the government is that air conditioning makes up maybe 70% or more of the total consumption of the buildings that do use air conditioning. We are trying to focus on ways to reduce the consumption of air conditioning and I think with the new building methodology we can reduce consumption by at least 30%,” said Mr Turpin.

“We also need to encourage the use of solar shading to prevent direct sunlight from coming into offices, so the roof overhang, window protection and tinting; these types of things reduce the consumption of air conditioning by reducing heat gain in the building.”

Mr Turpin said that an important factor would be to increase public awareness around the issue of air conditioning. “We have to start educating the public right now and here in Seychelles we also have the awareness project called lenerzi, servi byen. We need to get across to the public that you don’t have to go for 20 degrees; with 26 degrees you will have the same comfort.”

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