By Marion Ali
The Kolbe Foundation, which manages the Belize Central Prison on the Boom/Hattieville Road, expects to save close to $60,000 a year ($5,000 a month) in electricity bills by switching to a new, energy-efficient lighting system on its compound.
Chief Executive Officer at Kolbe, Virgil Murillo, told The Reporter this week that before the switchover, the prison’s electricity bill averaged around $8,000 a month, using 26 of the standard 1500 watt halogen lights to illuminate the yard and the outer layout of the facility.
He said that based on their own research on the new cost-saving lights, and on a projection given to them, their electricity rates are expected to go down by two-thirds.
The prison facility has already replaced more than half of the 26 halogen lamps with the new energy-saving ones, and has also purchased an additional six to illuminate areas of the facility that didn’t have adequate lighting.
In addition to the projected cost-cutting measures, Murrillo said that the halogen bulbs, which cost around $1,300 each, also required ballasts which had to be purchased, to regulate the flow of current to the lamps and to provide sufficient voltage to start the lamps. In addition to that, each lamp bulb required expensive maintenance workfrom time to time.
Murrillo explained that the new lighting provides adequate illumination across the compound to allow the facility to carry out its job of keeping Belize’s most dangerous men, women and youths confined. The savings in the electricity bill was the determining factor in purchasing the light, he said
The new energy-saving perimeter lights are heavy duty induction bulbs within a post fixture. They cost around $200 more than the older halogen models and are the product of Amko Solara, an international company whose representative in Belize is Energy Management Ltd.
Energy Management Ltd. is a company that offers energy-efficiency solutions and energy-saving advice to the local market.
The company was formed witha vision to supply Belize with modern, affordable and reliable solutions to lower electricity rates.
Technician at Energy Management Ltd., Armin Zaldivar asserts that Kolbe will see a major reduction in its energy bill as a result of the lamp replacement project.
“Technological advances have made our energy-saving options more affordable than ever before” he says.
“Energy saving is something that just about any business or organisation can achieve these days.”
Kolbe hopes to invest the savings from its change-over into other sections of prison improvement.