Jamaica growing eco-smart

AINSWORTH MORRIS Observer writer

Local consumers are becoming increasingly energy conscious and are going after more eco-efficient electronic products.

This is according to reports from Appliance Traders Limited (ATL), a leading supplier of residential, commercial, industrial and business equipment which has recently forayed into energy solutions.

Eco-smart lightbulbs are among the energy efficient products on show at ATL.
Some of the Panasonic brand of a/c units with inverter technology.
A selection of refrigerators with inverter and econavi technology. (PHOTOS: GARFIELD ROBINSON)

Product Manager for ATL Home Division Stacey Campbell told the Jamaica Observer that an internal comparison of sales demands between 2008 and 2013 reflects an increase of 100 per cent in the company’s range of products, mainly refrigerators and washers with inverter technology.

For 2012-2013 alone, that increase was approximately 30 per cent, a doubling of the increase for the 2011-2012 period.

The Observer requested the figures following the signing of an agreement at the ATL eco-store on Monday between ATL Automotive and Panasonic Latin America for the outfitting of the former’s Volkswagen and Audi showrooms with photovoltaic equipment that feature HIT technology.

The technology is said to be more efficient than conventional crystalline silicon cells and is billed as 100 per cent emission free.

“You’ll find more persons, mainly homeowners coming in and asking for information about the range of Eco-smart appliances that we have to offer. Many of them start out small, by purchasing our energy efficient bulbs which allow them to save monthly on their electricity consumption. Then, they return and purchase our Eco-smart certification sealed refrigerators which come with inverter technology,” Campbell told the Observer.

One main reason for the increase Campbell said is that customers can readily identify the company’s eco-efficient electronic product line-up through its new ATL Eco-smart certification seal. Much like the international trademark standard Energy-Star certification, the ATL Eco-Smart seal is affixed to electronics and appliances that have been proven to meet international standards in energy efficiency.

Inverter technology, Campbell explained, can save consumers significantly in energy consumption.

“The cost of energy in Jamaica is significantly high and this is reflected in our consumers’ utility bills. Inverter products are up to 60 per cent more efficient and this allows customers to save on energy and see immediate reductions on their bills,” she said.

Another proof of the growing eco-consciousness of the Jamaican consumer, Campbell said, is reflected in the questions they ask upon entering the ATL stores, such as the recently opened eco store.

“Customers come in and ask questions such as, ‘How much can I save on a monthly basis?’ ‘What is the equivalent wattage of an LED to incandescent light bulbs?’ and ‘Can I sell back to the grid when I purchase a PV system?’ she said.

That they do a lot of research and are more aware of the economic benefits of energy consumption, is also evident, she added.

ATL is currently pushing the Panasonic brand of products which are designed with inverter and econavi technology. Inverter compressor air conditioning models, for example, can save up to 50 per cent on energy usage. Inverter refrigerators, meanwhile, are said to offer up to 40 per cent energy savings, while the econavi feature offers an additional 10 per cent.

A promotional flyer from the store said the econavi refrigerator monitors the level of lighting and temperature in the room, when and how often the fridge doors are opened and the fridge’s internal temperature.

“It analyses and responds to this information to maintain cooling and avoid wasting energy,” the flyer said.

In addition to fridges, a/c units and lightbulbs, ATL eco-store offers an extensive range of energy-efficient products including solar water heating systems, photovoltaic panels, inverter batteries, pool pumps, fluorescent and LED lights, and smart thermostats.