Monday 1 October 2012, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji. This year was declared the UN International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, and the initiative has three major goals to be achieved by 2030.

- Providing universal access to modern energy services.
- Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.
- Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

On 26 September, SPC launched its Home First Programme to improve its energy efficiency and corporate carbon footprint. The Home First Programme is aimed at practising at home what one preaches to one's neighbours and the wider community.

Energy efficiency is very much at the heart of what SPC's Energy Programme is promoting in Pacific Island countries and territories. It is a key strategy to reduce reliance on fossil fuel and create more affordable and cleaner energy services.

Energy efficiency interventions can be introduced on the generation, or supply side (supply side management - SSM) and the consumption, or demand side (demand side management - DSM). The regular overhaul of electricity generators is a SSM and turning off the air conditioning when there is no one in the room is a DSM.

Another DSM measure is the introduction of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and labelling for electrical appliances. MEPS prevent the less efficient products from entering a country, and labelling allows buyers to seek out the most efficient products on the market. SPC is currently working with its members to educate and raise awareness about this, as well as putting in place legislation that will ban the importation of inferior products and authorise relevant arms of Pacific governments to enforce the legislation.

DSM activities target the key energy-consuming activities and appliances used. In the office of SPC's Economic Development Division (EDD), the appliances are the air conditioning units (for cooling) and the lights (for lighting). SPC has now entered into an agreement with Paradise Technologies* for implementation of DSM measures that guarantee a saving in electricity consumption for cooling by 15% and for lighting by 50%.

It is a win-win arrangement, where the savings will be shared by the parties and where Paradise Technologies will be paid only if the guaranteed savings are achieved. The Home First Programme therefore demonstrates support to the private sector, where the private sector has confidence in its technology and is willing to take the risks of its investment, provided there is a guaranteed return based on the actual savings the programme will generate.

* Paradise Technologies is a Fiji-based energy management company offering energy-saving and environment-friendly products and services to clients to reduce the cost of energy and the greenhouse effect on the environment.