Small inns get $420K to convert to energy efficient systems
March 7, 2011048
Palmas de Lucía’s energy efficient air conditioning systems.
A handful of small local hotels are getting more than $420,000 in federal funds to adopt technology to harness green energy sources for their operations, and in the process, save a combined $45,000 a year on their bills.
The hotels and inns that are developing such energy projects are the Turtle Bay Inn in Lajas — which has already installed solar panels — the Parador Palmas de Lucía and Costa del Mar in Yabucoa, Guánica 1929 in Guánica, and the historic Baños de Coamo, located in that central mountain town. The latter four hotels are already working on energy upgrades that call for replacing regular lighting for high-efficiency bulbs, as well as installing high-efficiency, high-quality air conditioners and sensor systems.
The funding granted by the local Energy Affairs Administration covers half of the total investment that the hotels are making to adopt energy-efficient ways that contribute to a better bottom line and to reducing their environmental footprint.
“Our hotels have distinguished themselves as pro-environment inns. After replacing the air conditioning units, we are paying a third of what we paid three months ago,” said Juan López, owner of Palmas de Lucía, Guánica 1929 and Costa del Mar hotels. “It has been a significant investment that would not have been possible without the incentives.”
EAA Executive Director Luis Bernal, Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Executive Director Mario González and Economic Development and Commerce Secretary José Pérez Riera revealed the information on the incentives in a joint statement issued Sunday.
“The hotel industry is [a vital component] of our economic development,” Bernal said. “We’ve seen how it has happened with other industries in which the volatility of fuel costs threatens their competitiveness.”
“By improving these facilities by changing the lighting system, modernizing their air conditioning systems and integrating energy efficiency methods, we provide them the resources to support their growth,” he said.