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Design for Living

DROPPING THE COSTS – Like almost everywhere in the Caribbean, the BVI is subject to ever-increasing fuel prices and home-owners are feeling the effects – not least from the drastic increases in their energy consumption bills.

A client decided recently to take radical steps to curb his projected energy consumption cost on his newly built dream home.  Now, nestled amongst evergreen tropical foliage, overlooking Cane Garden Bay, is one of only a very few homes in Tortola that can boast energy saving features.

Our first task was to reduce the estimated energy required to illuminate the house.  We achieved this using low-voltage lighting, which requires a power supply of only 12 volts, compared with most conventional lighting systems operating on the standard power supply of 120 volts.  In theory, low-voltage lighting will reduce energy consumption by 66%.  

Our client had requested a contemporary design, so we opted for recessed lighting fixtures with a chrome finish, which would complement the white drop-ceiling and the amber-coloured wood floor.  Once installed, these depicted a somewhat seamless finish with the ceiling and their 270 degree swivel ability granted our client freedom to adjust the light angles to highlight any object or area in a room.

Skylight Windows
The second method deployed to achieve our goal of optimal energy consumption involved the installation of skylights.  The advantage of these windows is that they project maximum sunlight during day time hours, reducing the need to consume energy illuminating certain rooms by artificial means.  The aesthetically designed, wood-trimmed, double layered skylights are manufactured to keep heat in-flow to a minimum whilst providing a maximum of sunlight.  We installed skylights throughout the central hallway area as well as the kitchen and dining room.  The living room, with its wall of windows, required no extra lighting during the day.

Skylights also assist in air transfer, a first-rate asset in tropical regions. When open, they allow rising hot air to escape and be replaced by cooler air entering via usual windows and doors.  The air transfer alleviates the need to use fans and air conditioning.

Solar Water Heating

Our final task was to reduce the $5 – $10 per day normally spent on heating water.  By installing a solar water heater, we could in fact reduce that energy consumption cost to zero.  The operation of a solar water heater is relatively simple.  Solar panels, positioned on the roof of the building, or in a sunny spot in the garden,  convert the suns rays into stored energy which is then used to provide the electric power necessary to heat the water in the tank.

At the end of the project our client was amazed at the vision of the finished product.  “You have made my dream tangible, thank you,” he said.  A month later, he called again, this time the call was to express his gratitude for his low electricity bill.  With www.uniquestyles.com, you can experience living in a marvelous dream home with beautifully lighting, while smiling at your electricity bill.



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