A Regional Project Team (RPT), established to develop a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code (REEBC), among other mandates, will be launched in Kingston, Jamaica, next week.

The launch and the first face-to-face Working Meeting with the contracted consultant will be held 30-31 March, at the Jamaica Bureau of Standards. Nine Member States – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago – are represented on the RPT which consists of 19 Members.

The RPT is tasked with developing the REEBC, as well as its associated application documents and Minimum Energy Performance standards for buildings. To do so, the RPT will review the Minimum Energy Performance Standards for buildings as proposed by consultant, Solar Dynamics, in their final report of the consultancy on the Development of Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) for public and commercial buildings in CARICOM Member States. The team will also review the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in an effort to adapt it, where necessary, and present for acceptance and adoption by Member States as a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code.

This development comes against the background of steps the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has been taking to implement energy efficiency measures and renewable energy resources into their energy mix. The much-needed economic transformation, energy independence and security and the reduction of environmental effects from the combustion of fossil fuels, are expected to flow from the implementation of these measures.

In general, energy efficiency measures are highly cost-effective as investments and all stakeholders in the Region need to re-examine the way in which energy is used and to identify ways of using energy more efficiently. The energy intensity index in CARICOM is higher than the energy intensity index of the world and about two and a half times that of the European Union. A continued focus on energy efficiency practices can help mitigate the increase in the atmospheric temperatures and climatic changes over the years. The CARICOM Energy Strategy recommends a 33% reduction in energy intensity to be applied in all CARICOM Member States by 2027.

Improving the energy efficiency potential across sectors and economies is crucial for countries to deliver not only on climate objectives but to also improve their energy security, economic development and citizens’ health. Despite the benefits from energy efficiency, the current “low” oil prices pose a risk for the serious investment and application of more energy efficient mechanisms. Nevertheless, reducing the energy demand through improved energy efficiency makes renewable and non-renewable energy more affordable. In a world of finite resources; improvements in energy efficiency must be maximised.

Buildings account for over one-third of the world’s total energy use and associated Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions; more than half of the electricity produced is consumed by buildings. Typically, 10% to 20% (depending on building type) of the total life-cycle energy consumed is used for the manufacturing and assembly of building materials, construction, maintenance, refurbishing and demolition; 80% to 90% is used, over the life of the building, for heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation, house appliances, etc.

Recently therefore, there has been an increasing trend to promote supranational collaboration to develop international energy efficiency requirements or standards for buildings, such as, via the International Standards Organisation (ISO), International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

In the same manner, the CARICOM Secretariat and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) are seeking to develop an REEBC. This initiative is being supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, through the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) Programme.

The REEBC is expected to address all of the aspects of energy use in buildings which comprise of, but are not limited to: thermal performance requirements for walls, roofs and windows; day lighting, lamps and luminaire performance; energy performance of chillers and air distribution systems; the electrical wiring system; solar water heating; appliances; renewable energy; zoning of buildings, climate classification and building energy management systems.

(Submitted by CARICOM Secretariat)

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Region's 10th EDF Technical Barrier to Trade Programme Closes Featured

All eyes will be focussed on Antigua and Barbuda next week, when the 30th Council of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) meets for the close out of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Programme and Directors’ meeting.

The March 13 – 17th Council meeting is expected to attract more than 50 persons from the 15 CARICOM Member States, the Dominican Republic, and even as far away as Germany, as many international organisations and agencies affiliated with trade and the European Union-funded 10th EDF TBT programme arrive in the country for the meeting.

The first day will feature a Close out Seminar of the CARIFORUM 10th EDF-TBT Programme which began in 2012. The programme, which lasted for a period of five (5) years, and will conclude this month, and was centred around the building of the region’s capabilities in the several areas of quality infrastructure, and using these capabilities as a means of managing and reducing technical barriers to trade. Quality infrastructure (QI) refers to the development of standards for products and services; metrology - which is the science of measurements and its related infrastructure; accreditation, and conformity assessment - primarily the services of testing, inspection and certification.

The managers and implementers of the project, namely the German Metrology Institute (PTB), and CROSQ, along with the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL), will give a breakdown of the project, with discussions centred on the successes, challenges, and lessons learnt over the past five (5) years.

The Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards (ABBS), which is serving as local hosts to the week of activities and meetings, will also use the occasion to launch the Antigua and Barbuda National Quality Awards Programme, which, once fully established, will recognise local producers and manufacturers of goods, as well as service providers who are and have introduced quality management and other quality-based systems and activities into their businesses.

“This is going to be a big occasion for Antigua and Barbuda to host an event of significant regional importance, and also to introduce to the public of our country the concept of creating a quality culture with the launch of this National Quality Awards. These Awards, which will be launched on the evening of March 13 will say to our businesses that we recognise the efforts to produce quality for our own consumption, as well as for export to the region and the rest of the globe.

“It is an initiative that was encouraged under the 10th EDF-TBT Programme, but one we thought important enough to introduce to our public and private sector here in Antigua and Barbuda. It will be a great celebration and achievement for all of us; and to have the rest of the region watching the unfolding of this Awards will be a tremendous boost for the country,” said Director of the ABBS, Mrs. Dianne Lalla-Rodrigues.

It was a sentiment shared by Chairman of CROSQ, Mr. Jose Trejo. He noted that the CROSQ Council of Directors was pleased to be hosted by the ABBS and the country of Antigua and Barbuda for the closing of the 10th EDF-TBT Programme which he noted had brought several notable improvements to the development of quality infrastructure in the region.

“We’ve seen advancements in equipment, physical infrastructure, skills of staff who have been trained in various areas and have participated in exercises to prove their competence over the period. I can say without contradiction that this programme has been a benefit to our region and has enabled us to form closer and greater ties with our colleagues across the region and further north to the Dominican Republic,” he said.

The Chairman said he was looking forward to the week of activities and to discussing with partners from the European Union, the CARIFORUM Directorate, as well as Germany and the Dominican Republic, the accomplishments that have been realised, as well as the valuable lessons learnt, which can be used for future developments in our quality infrastructure in the region;.

The 10th EDF-TBT Programme Close-out Seminar will take place on March 13, 2017 and will be followed by the meeting of the CROSQ Council, from Tuesday March 14, 2017 to Thursday March  16, 2017, where Directors and Executive Directors from National Standards Bodies across the CARICOM Region will look at arrangements for further developing QI across the region as well as other collaborative efforts for the year ahead.

 

About the 10th EDF-TBT Programme

The Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) component of the 10th European Development Fund - Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (EDF-CRIP), "Support to the Caribbean Forum of the ACP States in the implementation of the commitments undertaken under the Economic Partnership Agreement", is funded through a Financial Agreement between the European Union and CARIFORUM.

The overall objective of the 10th EDF Programme is to support the beneficial integration of the CARIFORUM states into the world economy, to support regional cooperation and the development efforts of the Caribbean, in an effort to meet the requirements under the current Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and CARIFORUM. The EPA-TBT component is expected to facilitate intra- and inter-regional trade as well as international competitiveness and sustainable production of goods and services within the CARIFORUM states for the enhancement of social and economic development.

It is implemented by CROSQ and the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL) in the Dominican Republic, and managed by the German Metrology Institute (PTB).

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From left – Accreditation expert, Mr. Pat Paladino; consultant and trainer, Mrs. Claudette Brown and Technical Officer with CROSQ, Mr. Stephen Farquharson. Featured

The hard work of developing Quality Infrastructure in the Caribbean is just starting to pay off.

That’s the view of quality expert, Mr. Pat Paladino, as he addressed a meeting of National Accreditation Focal Points (NAFP) officials from eight CARICOM countries in Barbados this week. The workshop is an initiative under the 10th EDF-TBT Programme, funded by the European Union and implemented by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality (CROSQ), the German Metrology Institute (PTB) and the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL). It ends on Friday, February 17.

Mr. Paladino is one of the trainers at the workshop, which is led by Mrs. Claudette Brown – Accreditation consultant and trainer.

Mr. Paladino noted that the global market was moving ahead in areas requiring product tested by labs accredited by an accreditation body that is a signatory to international accreditation agreements. Failure to meet the international requirements could result in a close out for products of the Caribbean, he noted.

“Developed markets set the rules and they’ve embraced the international accreditation system. If the Caribbean can’t meet these rules, our businesses and exporters are not going to be able to do business in these markets. Also, if the region is unable to provide recognized accreditation and conformity assessment services, then businesses and manufacturers will have to look outside the region to be able to have their products tested.

“Typically, businesses would have to go to the US, Canada or Europe and the cost of testing in these countries is probably 10 or 20 times the cost of doing it here, if we had the capabilities. That’s pretty significant for these manufacturers,” he remarked.

The expert, who is a former President of the InterAmerican Accreditation Cooperation, the internationally recognised association of accreditation bodies in the Americas and other organisations interested in conformity assessment, said this was why the work of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and the National Standards Bodies (NSBs) of the region was so important to mitigating some of the international risks.

“All the hard work is finally starting to pay off. There was a slow start getting people on board, knowledgeable and trained, but today we have an accreditation body that is already recognised internationally. We are also seeing a number of labs, both in the medical and testing area, come forward and attain accreditation. So, we are taking small steps, but the question is, are we moving fast enough,” he said.

Governments, he pointed out, must be made to understand why these processes are so important to national and regional development. Standards development organisation must adopt or adapt international standards as national standards to support businesses and export.

Mrs Brown’s indicated that participants would be reviewing the requirements of the ISO/IEC 17025 standard.  She pointed out that this standard was applicable to all laboratories and can be used by the NAFPs to assist these labs in the development of their management systems for quality, administrative and technical operations.  She pointed out that the workshop would also be covering other supporting information, including the benefits of accreditation, the accreditation process and assessor attributes.   The participants were encouraged to participate fully in the activities of the week in order to maximize the benefits.

CROSQ’s Technical Officer – Accreditation, Mr. Stephen Farquharson explained that the role of the NAFP was to assist Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) with their quest for international accreditation to meet the needs of businesses. He told the officials from Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Haiti, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis and Suriname that the week-long training would give them the basics needed to provide the necessary assistance to CABs, and especially laboratories.

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Acting Director of GDBS, Mr. Robert Medford (right) poses with Mr. Clifford Bridgeman (left) who accepted for Mr. Walter Charles, and Mr. Benjamin Romain of BIG MAC Enterprises, recipients of interim export licences. Featured

St. George’s, GRENADA -- On February 9, 2017, two (2) exporters of fresh produce received interim licences, allowing them to export fresh produce before obtaining their official Exportation of Fresh Produce Licence. The exporters are Walter Charles and Big Mac Enterprises operating at Soubise, St. Andrew’s and Calliste, St. George’s, respectively.

The Exportation of Fresh Produce Act was relaunched on October 6, 2016 with a consultation between the Grenada Bureau of Standards (GDBS) and the exporters of fresh produce (vegetables, fruits, nuts, ground provisions, root crops, flowers and other plant materials). Since then, nine (9) exporters have applied to the Grenada Bureau of Standards for the said licence, which allows exportation to regional and/or international markets.

The interim licence allows the exporters six (6) months from date of issuance to meet all requirements as outlined in the relevant standard and the Exportation of Fresh Produce Act. No. 28 of 1998. Full compliance to the Act will result in the issuance of an Exportation of Fresh Produce Licence, which will be valid for one year from the date of issue. An interim licence suggests that the exporter has met the main requirements of good management and agricultural practices and that the packing houses with which they are affiliated provides a safe environment to facilitate the processes involved in this trade.

From June 2017, exporters without an interim or official Exportation of Fresh Produce Licence will not be allowed to carry out such activity. All exporters of fresh produce (vegetables, fruits, nuts, ground provisions, root crops, flowers and other plant materials), who have not applied to the Grenada Bureau of Standards, are kindly asked to make contact as soon as is possible, to avoid the impending disruption to trade that will result.

The Grenada Bureau of Standards will be working closely with the Royal Grenada Police Force and the Customs Department to ensure that this Act is strictly adhered to.

 

Contacts:

Mr. Leonard St. Bernard

Head: Laboratory Services

 

Mrs. Kyla John-Walker

Technical Officer: Certification

 

Grenada Bureau of Standards

Tel: (473) 440 – 5886/6783

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An investment in Quality is always a positive step for any country. In addition to saving money in the long run, it is also a step towards sustainability for that country, and in the context of the Caribbean this can extend to the Region as a whole. It is for this reason that the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality (CROSQ) is celebrating this World Quality Month withthe National Certification Body of Jamaica, and the rest of the Region, under the theme Save Money, Invest In Quality.

CROSQ believes that a focus on quality by any country supports sustainable development through nurturing and promoting higher levels of productivity and innovation, with a greater commitment to export trade competitiveness as well as consumer health and safety and environmental protection. Thus naturally, the development of an internationally-recognised and demand-oriented quality infrastructure in trade,encourages adrive towards a culture of quality consciousness within a country and its people.

Development of Quality Infrastructure, that is the implementation of standards, improvements in systems of measurement, and the utilization of accredited testing, certification and inspection systems and services, can have a progressive effect on any society. It provides the boost to the economy by aiding state services in becoming more nationally and regionally accessible, affordable and internationally recognised, thereby enabling the economic, social, environment and technological resilience of countries and the Region overall.

A focus on quality improvements can also help to strengthen the movement towards regional integration with a continuous effort to embed the principles and practices Quality thatare so important to sustainable development. It can help in areas such as research, security, natural resource extraction and energy efficiency and renewal energy other than those aforementioned, leading to the honouring oftrade agreements such as the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, the European Union-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement, the World Trade Organisation Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement and the like.

But this focus on Quality must involve not just quality institutions such as National Bureaux of Standards, but all of the public sector, the private sector, as well as civil society, particularly academia and health. If each of these groups commit to full cooperation and ownership of the principles of Quality, then the Region can feel safe in knowing that an Investment in Quality will bring rewards that surpass mere financial dividends.

 

Omar, Deryck, Mr. "World Quality Month 2016 - Save Money, Invest in Quality." Editorial. Jamaica Observer 23 Nov. 2016: 42. Print.

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The development of metrology in the Caribbean has generally been adversely impacted by many of the specific social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities associated with their characterization as Small Island Developing States (SIDS). More specifically, in many countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), whilst recognized by some of the major industries, metrology is often not high on the list of priorities for policy makers, and, is still more or less unknown to the majority of citizens, due in the main to the lack of awareness and appreciation of the impact of measurement science on their lives. Also, in addition to the limiting cross cutting theme of finance, many National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) are faced with the challenges of limited human and customer capital, weak regional transportation modalities, public misperception and the lack of suitable laboratory infrastructure. In order to address these challenges, the CARICOM NMIs have unified within the framework of CARIMET, the Caribbean sub-region of the Inter-American Metrology System (SIM) to pool assets and develop regional mechanisms to address the measurement demands across the region.

 

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