On Tuesday 15 November, 2022, Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry, delivered the feature address at the launch of the first Regional Centre of Excellence for the testing of Energy Efficiency for lighting products at the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards, Trincity Industrial Estate. The establishment of this Energy Efficiency Lighting (EEL) Laboratory is a testimony of the Government’s dedication to further reducing the country’s carbon footprint, through the use of greater energy efficient technology.

Minister Gopee-Scoon underscored that “the EEL Lab will position Trinidad and Tobago as a Centre of Excellence for testing the Energy Efficiency of Lighting Products throughout the Region.” She elaborated that “the EEL Lab will also bolster the National and Regional Quality Infrastructure (QI) by providing reliable testing services in Trinidad and Tobago and commended the Bureau for its commitment and diligence in establishing this lab in Trinidad and Tobago, as the first of its kind in the Caribbean.”

Elaborating on Quality Infrastructure Service development, Minister Gopee-Scoon indicated that “this new EEL Lab is a positive step in this direction, through the implementation of the Testing and Labelling Programme for Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diode Bulbs (LEDs) lighting products. With the establishment of the EEL Laboratory in Trinidad and Tobago, consumers will now benefit from having accurate information to compare brands of CFLs and LEDs.  Businesses in Trinidad and Tobago and the region can also have their lighting products tested and verified locally. In the past, lighting products would have to be sent to countries outside of the region to be tested.”

This project is being implemented jointly at the CARICOM level, through the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and the German Metrology Institute, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB). In February 2016, CROSQ implemented the “Strengthening of Regional Quality Infrastructure in the Areas of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for Electrical Appliances” Project, known as the “R3E Project”, to meet the region’s need for capacity building in the area of energy efficiency.

The CEO, CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), Mr. Deryck Omar, expressed CROSQ’s vision of having an EEL rolled out in each of the 15 CROSQ member states, where the main domestic appliances of A/C, Refrigerators and Lights, and eventually light industrial equipment, all of which are mostly imported into the region, are energy efficient. Thereby, reducing consumption of energy, reducing electrical bills, and most importantly, reducing the importation spend on fossil fuels in the region. He further highlighted, that “the energy efficiency laboratory of the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards is critical to the EELS’s success.”

Mr Lawford Dupres, Chairman, TTBS, outlined that “the level of energy efficiency awareness has certainly increased during this decade and an appreciation for standards and testing is becoming a more recognisable need amongst communities. A common labelling standard will provide consumers with a uniform performance label with clear information that reflects local conditions. This will enhance the customer’s procurement experience, encourage more energy efficient purchasing behaviours and speed up the region’s progress toward its energy efficiency goals.”

The establishment of this testing laboratory by the TTBS, cements its commitment to testing and conformity standards to ensure the availability of the most energy efficient and safe products at the national and regional level. Ultimately, this lab will have a transformative impact on the quality of CFLs and LEDs in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean Region, whilst enhancing the competition of these items in foreign markets.