(CMR) The Ministry of Sustainability & Climate Resiliency is launching a new program to provide energy efficiency retrofits for eligible Caymanian homeowners struggling with high utility bills.
The Cayman Home Energy Efficiency Retrofits (CHEER) Programme will implement energy-saving retrofits for lower-income families in small homes facing high monthly utility bills. Priority consideration will be given to the elderly, families with children, and persons with diagnosed health conditions. The Ministry has contracted the local non-profit organization Resilience Cayman to deliver the program.
Premier and Minister for Sustainability & Climate Resiliency Hon. Wayne Panton, said the new program is the latest in a series of initiatives designed to help advance the twin goals of the implementation of the National Energy Policy and helping to lower the cost of living for Caymanians.
“Saving energy saves money. These retrofits will help lower the cost of living for people in our community who are struggling with the high cost of electricity,” he said, noting that strategy 3.3.9 of the National Energy Policy specifically speaks to energy efficiency retrofits of existing buildings.
Under CHEER, approved homes will undergo an energy audit conducted by a trained energy professional prior to receiving tailored energy-saving upgrades such as insulation, upgraded air conditioning, sealing the building envelope, LED lighting, Energy Star-rated appliance upgrades or smart thermostats.
Resilience Cayman Chairperson Jan Gupta said: “The program is very timely and welcomed by many families in Cayman who are struggling to keep up with their energy bills, especially as we enter the hottest months. It will also provide us with an opportunity to assist many homeowners to retrofit their homes towards a more sustainable energy future.”
To be eligible for the program, applicants should satisfy the following criteria:
-You are Caymanian;
-You own your home and you are living in it;
-Your total household income is CI$4000/month or less;
-Your home is no more than 2,500 square feet gross floor space; and,
-Your monthly energy consumption is 2000 kWh or more.
Premier Panton said the CHEER Programme is a prime example of how sustainability measures that balance society, environment, and economy can improve quality of life for Caymanians.
“This summer’s record heat demonstrates that the energy crisis, the cost of living crisis, and the climate crisis are all interlinked. Programs like this one that supports our people, our economy, and our environment help make the Cayman Islands more sustainable, benefitting current and future generations,” he explained.
In this initial phase of the project, the Ministry has allocated $500,000 towards energy efficiency retrofits. Once this funding has been utilized, the Ministry will evaluate the program implementation and consider opportunities for extending the initiative, subject to the approval of additional funding.
“The new CHEER Programme is one of several programs the PACT Government has launched since 2021 to address the escalating cost of living crisis and rising energy costs. Last year, we launched the Electricity Assistance Program to offer direct subsidies to residential customers with monthly consumption between 101 and 2,000 kilowatt hours – an initiative which benefitted more than 22,000 households across the Cayman Islands,” the premier said.
He added, “We also waived the import duty on energy-efficient devices and building materials, and the Ministry of Sustainability & Climate Resiliency achieved two grants from RESEMBID – the Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme – to improve energy efficiency in public sector buildings and Government-built affordable homes.”
Applications open 11 July and the deadline to apply is 31 August 2023. To access the application page and learn more about the program, visit: www.resilience.ky/energy
Resilience Cayman has issued a request for proposal for contractors interested in taking part in this project. Please visit www.resilience.ky/contractors to learn more and submit a bid.