Wind and sun power dive shop

Cayman’s first solar- and wind-powered dive shop opened its doors at the weekend.

On Saturday, Nancy and Jay Easterbrook held an open house at DiveTech at Lighthouse Point in West Bay to show off the new development, with its solar panel-covered rooftop and Skystream wind turbine on the pier.

‘On paper, it looks like we should be carbon negative, which means we produce more energy than we are consuming,’ she said.

Lighthouse Point is entirely powered by alternative energy sources.

‘We could not find just one energy solution that could have meet all our goals, so we found several instead,’ said co-owner Nancy Easterbrook.

‘We now have virtually 24-hour power,’ she said.

With tanks on their backs, divers walked past the wind turbine was powering the whole building for the open day. The day was overcast, so the solar power was not being used.

Any unused energy produced at Lighthouse Point can be stored in batteries, or may later to given back to Caribbean Utility Company’s grid, but if the power does fail. The development is still linked to CUC and can switch over to the utility company’s power grid if necessary.

The walls of the building, which includes a new condo development and a bistro, are made of recycled concrete, while the interior walls in the apartments are white pine from sustainable forests.

The countertops in the kitchens are made of recycled glass and concrete.

Low-wattage LED and compact fluorescent lighting is used indoors and outdoors, and Energy Star rated appliances and fans are used throughout the development.

Even the stair railings and balustrades are made from recycled plastic bottles.

The bathrooms use water-conservation Kohler toilets, showers and bathtubs, and recycled ‘grey’ water is used in the toilets. A rainwater collection system is in place and the water collected in a cistern is used to water plants, in outdoor showers and to wash cars and patios.

The structure is built to withstand a category 5 hurricane.

To complement Cayman’s nautical history, s cannon and anchors are dotted around the property.

Work is continuing on the nine condos, five of which have already been sold, and is expected to be completed in six weeks.

Unsurprising, all the buyers so far have been divers, Mrs. Easterbrook said.

The condos sell for between US$550,000 and $998,000.

‘We have tried to create an environmentally friendly building,’ Mrs. Easterbrook said.

‘We are a small country. We have an awful lot of sun and we have constant winds,’ she said, adding that she hoped others would follow the lead in creating more homes and developments that would be environmentally friendly.

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