RADISSON Blu Hotel Cebu will get a 15 percent subsidy from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for its environment-friendly air-conditioning system.

The 400-room hotel is the latest project participant of the Philippine Chiller Energy Efficiency Project, (PCEEP), a World Bank- assisted energy efficient prorgam funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Multi-lateral Fund.

Radisson Blu recently purchased two new environment-friendly chillers that will save up to P8.5 million yearly on its electricity consumption. This cost them some $350,000 for each new unit. The hotel maintains four chillers.

“We have been supporting environmental initiatives through responsible business. This is part of our initiative in going green,” said Nishan Silva, the hotel’s general manager during the signing signing of the sub-grant agreement with the DENR, sealing the hotel’s participation in the PCEEP program yesterday.

Silva disclosed they are committed to replace two old chillers to environment-friendly ones in the future. He also promised the DENR that he will raise this campaign to the Hotels Resort and Restaurants Association of Cebu, where he sits as a board member.

DENR officials welcomed Radisson Blu’s inclusion in the program and lauded the hotel’s effort to become a model institution for environmental sustainability in Cebu through their participation in the PCEEP.

The PCEEP encourages hotels, factories, malls and other big establishments to replace inefficient chillers and other cooling equipment that contains ozone-depleting substances (ODS), like chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. It is funded by a $2.6-million grant from the GEF and $1 million from the Ozone Trust Fund.

PCEEP is in support of the country’s commitments to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

To date, at least 10 establishments received the subsidies from the PCEEP and benefited from the improved performance of their chiller efficiencies.

Last year, the DENR provided more than P24 million in subsidies to the private sector. This included the first recipient in the Visayas, SM City Iloilo. Several chiller replacements have been completed in Visayas and Mindanao, aside from those already completed in Metro Manila that included malls, hotels and office buildings.

“The chiller replacements from these establishments contributed to the overall sustainability strategy of their business operations particularly the reduction of energy intensity, electricity cost and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rommel Abesamis, Assistant Secretary for Foreign Assisted and Specials Projects under the DENR.

Despite the clear benefits of investing in efficient chillers, early replacement of chillers is a hard business decision to make, according to DENR- Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Assistant Director Eva Ocfemia.

“Various financial and technological considerations are to be considered. Competing financial priorities and opportunities oftentimes overshadow interests to invest in environment-enhancing technologies,” she said.

However, Ocfemia emphasized that business-as-usual schemes are no longer enough to justify commercial profits and economic gains because of the effects these activities have brought on the environment.

“Now is the time for innovations that lower ecological footprints of business operations,” she said.

DENR, she added, will constantly encourage companies to look beyond and require environmental protection measures as integral part of their business decisions and operations.

“By incorporating environmental consciousness in investment decisions, businesses help promote preservation of environmental integrity as well as intergenerational equity for our children’s sake,” said Ocfemia.

At the end of the project in January 2017, PCEEP aims to replace a total of 30,650 tons of refrigeration that used about 5.7 tons of ozone depleting potentials.

The installation of new energy efficient chillers is expected to generate 124.7 gigawatt-hours in energy savings, abating approximately 10 megawatt of power demand (equivalent to the construction of a $30 to $50 million power plant), and reducing about 64,000 tons of carbon dioxide.