A section of the Lighthouse Point roof.
By Kevin Shereves
Lighthouse Point is a category 5-hurricane structure that consists of nine oceanfront condominiums constructed with green technologies. The facility is set in a rugged iron shore landscape and is located along North West Point Road in West Bay.
The building is aesthetically pleasing and boasts unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea from each private balcony.
The facility is eco-friendly and is equipped with both solar and wind power. It is surrounded by flora and fauna indigenous to the Cayman Islands and offers a great deal of natural beauty. Shore diving is available from your front door courtesy of Divetech, and the solid stone exterior blends naturally into the landscape. Antique anchors, cannons and nautical features including of course, a Lighthouse, accent the facility.
“Lighthouse Point offers strata ownership with clear title to your condo and is also registered as a member of the United States Green Building Council,” said Nancy Easterbrook, Managing Partner of Divetech.
“Its green amenities include solar power, wind power, on-demand hot water heating, comprehensive water reclamation and re-use program, solid wood interiors (from sustainable forests, of course) and many more features, including a daytime Cafe “Salt” and a diving shop operated by Divetech.”
“We worked for a long time trying to purchase products that were sustainable. The exterior of the building is 100 percent recyclable concrete and the interior is solid wood. It is all white pine and is treated and sealed. White pine is imported from the North East US and was chosen because it is a very fast-growing tree and the supplier practices sustainable forestry.
“We selected the wind turbine because it runs at night time when the solar is not running and we felt that solar and wind power would complement each other. Our wind turbine is rated to 140 miles per hour and is rated even to withstand category three winds but if the winds get too strong the unit will stop working and shut itself down. The turbine operates at peak efficiency output in-between 8-30 knots.”
She added: “The wind turbine is 33 feet tall and meets all zoning requirements and it is on a hinge system that allows for the windmill to be let down to the ground in the event of a hurricane.”
Mrs Easterbrook explained: “On the solar side, we installed a total of 10 different solar arrays. There are nine condos and each one is equipped with its own solar array. The tenth solar array is used to generate power for the strata including the outdoor lighting, sewage treatment plant, and all external fixtures are powered by the 10th solar array.
“We produce a total of about 20 kilowatts of clean renewable carbon free power each day depending on the amount of wind and sunshine. In the energy portion we also selected some gas options and decided to go with gas stoves and dryers. While propane is not renewable, it is a clean burning fuel and low cost and provides the additional benefit that after a power outage or hurricane you still have the ability to cook.”
To compliment the renewable energy sources with the appliances the facility uses energy star-rated compact florescent and led light bulbs. Energy efficient light bulbs will cost you more initially but will have a much longer lifespan and will pay for themselves while at the same time reducing your carbon footprint.
“A compact florescent 3-watt bulb actually generates 40 watts but instead of using 40 watts an hour it only uses 3 watts per hour. The fact is that your energy consumption is drastically reduced,” she said.
“We also purchased a street lamp which we converted to a 7-watt compact florescent bulb down from a 400-watt ballast system and retrofitted it to accommodate a low energy bulb that only draws 7 watts with effectively the same luminescence.”
Mrs Easterbrook explained: “Every kilowatt of power that we do not buy from an electrical provider, that uses fossil fuel or carbon generating fuel is an environmental bonus because it reduces the carbon that is being released into the atmosphere. Going Green is both a financial and environmental bonus.
“We looked at insulation very carefully because air conditioning placed very heavily into energy usage, so we purchased windows and patio doors that are double glass and 99.8 UV rated. The result is that heat cannot penetrate into the house and so cooling costs are reduced. This insulation factor also prevents furniture from being affected by sunlight. The concept of sustainability is to use products that will last a long time.
“We should generate more power than what we can consume even at full occupancy. One of the benefits from the energy side is that the monthly operating cost is extremely minimal for owners. Part of our development goals is to reduce the monthly cost of living for tenants and owners.”
Mrs Easterbrook said that toilets use up to 35 percent of the water consumption within the home.
“To further save on our water consumption we installed a grey water system which collects water from the bathroom sinks and shower and filters it and then cycles it back to feed the toilets,” she said.
“Our water management strategy also includes a 6000-gallon cistern installed underground. All the rainwater collected goes into the cistern and provides water for the outdoor taps or rinse taps used to rinse off after scuba diving. The cistern also feeds the washing machines in each unit, which provides soft water for washing cloths in.
“We have installed 4 deepwater injections well which go down 100 feet so that when we get heavy rainfalls the wells will take the water down 100 feet before dispersing it into the ocean. We also have a sewage treatment plant and the output from that is used for landscaping. All the fixtures are water conservation and energy efficient.
“We are a part of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System which encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green buildings and development practices. We are going for our LEED certification and we are working towards getting a platinum rating which is the highest rating available.”