Business & Commercial

Going Green: The Growth of Solar Energy in The Bahamas

 

As a country with an abundance of sunshine, The Bahamas is slowly but surely taking advantage of all the benefits that come along with solar energy in terms of improving the country and livelihood of its citizens. In fact, The Bahamas has about 340 sunny days a year! As people begin to look for more sustainable ways to reduce energy consumption and save on costs, more individuals and companies in The Bahamas are opening their eyes to all the possibilities solar energy can bring. 

 

Cutting Down the Electric Bill 

The residential real estate industry has seen an uptick in solar-powered homes throughout the years, with some homes even going completely solar, like this home on Paradise Island which was recently sold by Bahamas Realty agent, Andrea Brownrigg which is completely powered by its own solar grid.

Luxury Home in The Bahamas with Solar Panels | Bahamas Realty

 

Homeowners have recognized the positive impact solar energy can have on their cost savings in the long run. For many homes, the electricity bill makes up a large portion of the expenses so when the energy costs are cut, money will be saved. In addition, the rising energy costs make the transition to solar energy a no brainer for so many homeowners. Even a smaller solar panel for hot water can produce significant savings for the average household. 
 

Commercial Properties Benefit from Financial Savings and More 

Commercial companies like NAI Bahamas Realty Commercial have started making the transition to more sustainable energy solutions by changing out light bulbs to LED, replacing HVAC units with energy-efficient ones, and having programmable thermostats in offices. Although these changes may seem small compared to installing full-blown solar panels, these efforts have led to 25% average savings in energy across the buildings that NAI Bahamas Realty Commercial manages. 

“Many office buildings in The Bahamas are older, and most are multi-tenant buildings. Achieving energy efficiency in these spaces has its challenges. We work with landlords and tenants to help them make practical changes to reduce energy waste which benefit both parties in the long run,” said Donald Martinborough, CEO of Bahamas Realty and NAI Bahamas Realty Commercial 

Not only are there direct financial benefits of a green, efficient space, but embracing green energy ideals can have positive impacts on a company’s brand and community relations. The added benefit? A strong relationship between tenant and landlord and a more attractive commercial space for future tenants. 

“When renovating or building out a new space, tenants and landlords have a great opportunity to collaborate and go green. Relatively small changes in the design and build-out of the space can have a big impact on its energy efficiency and sustainability,” said Martinborough. 

Bayside Bahamas Commercial Building | Bahamas Realty


The Bahamas Goes Green 

The solarized project forged between the government of The Bahamas and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an agreement signed in 2017 to “accelerate sustainable development” in The Bahamas. This $4 million dollar aims to save The Bahamas $350 thousand dollars and annually offset over 800 tons of carbon emissions by displacing thousands of litres of diesel fuel with a grid-tied solar system. 

Similar to the agreement signed in 2017, Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) launched the Family Island Solar Program with support from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and Carbon War Room’s Islands Energy Program. This program proposes to develop “solar-fueled power systems” on the Family Islands of Andros, Bimini, Eleuthera, and Inagua with hopes of meeting 30% of the electricity by the year 2030. 
 

What changes are you making to move toward a greener, more energy-efficient environment? 

Contact us to learn more about our commercial property management solutions, and how we can offer guidance in a green build-out. 


##

Positives in The Bahamas retail space. Is this the push we needed?

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a dramatic shift in how in-person business is conducted in The Bahamas. How retail businesses have adapted, or in some cases, faltered, during the crisis may hold valuable lessons for the future of commerce in the country. If these lessons learned can be applied to our commercial spaces, could this be the push needed to revitalize downtown Nassau?

The Bahamas’ lack of urban planning and infrastructure is not well suited to home deliveries, yet we have seen many examples of innovative Bahamians offering grocery delivery across New Providence. Most Bahamian businesses have used a messenger service for years to deliver documents to other businesses, but imagine the industry’s growth and effectiveness if we invest in urban planning for our Capital city. 

Due to a lack of available land, and the age of most commercial buildings, drive through operations are a scarcity around town, yet over the past few months we witnessed curbside delivery of everything from paint to lawn mowers. Makeshift drive through pharmacies were established in parking lots with nothing more than construction cones.

Will we see a push to remodel or replace our commercial buildings to allow for the new norm?

The tourist retail market has become a ghost town, most stores shuttering their windows and doors painfully awaiting the day when the cruise ship industry returns. Could this be the ideal time for the downtown revitalization project to take hold, to replace the t-shirt shops and jewelry stores with unique cafes, boutiques, green spaces, music venues and a beautiful boardwalk?

Cities across North America have transformed their deserted downtowns into tourist attractions, why can't we?

The idea isn't a new one, but change has been slow to come. The Downtown Nassau Partnership , a public and private sector joint venture, was established in 2009 to assist with overseeing the restructuring of urban space on New Providence. This includes a social and economic transformation of the city of Nassau. However, few of the groups plans have come to fruition due to lack of funding and other roadblocks, including a lack of support from business owners in the more dilapidated downtown areas. 

A step in the right direction.

Recently, demolition began at the Prince George Wharf as the transformation of the new Nassau Cruise Port kicked off. The nearly $300M project is being spearheaded by Global Ports Holding, the world’s largest cruise port operator, and aims to completely revamp the area into a world-class port destination complete with open spaces, a museum and amphitheatre. The ambitious project aims to lead in the much anticipated, and long overdue redevelopment of Nassau's struggling downtown core.

Will this pandemic be the push The Bahamas needs to move forward?

##

 

Welcome Back - No More Travel Quarantine: Everything You Need to Know About The Nov. 1 Changes

The Bahamas is preparing to welcome visitors back ahead of the holiday season with new travel and testing protocols starting November 1st, 2020. Here's everything you need to know about the changes:

No More 14-day Quarantine

Up until October 31st, 2020, all individuals arriving in The Bahamas from abroad were required to quarantine for a period of 14-days. Visitors were required to "Vacation in Place" during this 14-day quarantine period, remaining on the grounds of the hotel or vacation rental they were staying at. As of November 1st, this restriction will be lifted.

New Protocols

  1. The new protocols will require visitors, returning citizens, and residents to obtain an RT-PCR test no more than FIVE DAYS prior to arrival.
     
  2. All travelers will then be required to apply for an electronic Bahamas Health Travel Visa at a cost depending on the length of stay. Note: Health visa processing takes up to 72 hours, so be sure to leave yourself enough time.
     
  3. For the duration of the visit, complete a daily online health questionnaire for symptom tracking purposes.
     
  4. After five days, all individuals who entered The Bahamas and are staying longer than four nights and five days will be required to take a rapid COVID-19 antigen test. The cost of the rapid antigen test will be included in the Travel Visa.
     
  5. In addition, beginning November 14th, 2020, all visitors will be required to opt-in to mandatory COVID-19 health insurance when applying for their Health Travel Visa. The insurance will cover travelers for the duration of their stay in The Bahamas.

 

Visitors and residents are required to follow all Covid-19 requirements including wearing a mask and social distancing in public places.

For details about the new travel protocols and exemptions click here. To apply for a Bahamas Health Travel Visa, visit travel.gov.bs. As protocols are subject to change, and restrictions may vary from island to island, we recommend travelers check the status of their island destination before traveling by visiting Bahamas.com/travelupdates

We look forward to welcoming you back to our beautiful Bahamas Islands. Rest, relax, and rejuvenate. You might just find it's the perfect place to call home.

###

 

Five Unique Ways That Small Businesses Have Pivoted in The Bahamas

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken an economic toll around the globe, and The Bahamas is no exception. In these difficult times, it's inspiring to see how businesses acted quickly and innovatively to diversify their business models to help the country in new ways.

1. Virtual Tours

Although virtual tours have been used in real estate as a form of convenience for years as a way for prospective clients to get an idea of a property and its features, the safety measures that have been put in place as a result of the Covid pandemic to avoid social gathering have made virtual tours a necessity for the real estate industry. 


The versatility of virtual tours is what sets it apart from in-person tours. With virtual tours, prospective clients no longer have to physically be in contact with agents when choosing their homes; they can view these properties from the comfort of their own homes and conduct their own process of elimination that way, saving both parties valuable time.

Whether it's a large commercial office space, or a contemporary condo development, Bahamas Realty agents can offer their clients virtual viewings, personally “walking” their clients through a property. And for many of our listings, we offer 3D virtual tours using state-of-the-art Matterport technology. [View some of our tours here]

 

2. Masks

Mask wearing in public has become a part of our daily life - at least for the foreseeable future. Medical-grade masks are reserved for health professionals, so many local businesses and even individual entrepreneurs are getting creative, producing masks & face shields creating a new product in an in-demand market.

A few businesses that have found new industry in mask production:

  • Bahamas Hand Prints is known for its beautifully handprinted fabrics and uniquely Bahamian-inspired designs and like other small businesses, they have taken advantage of the need for masks. Bahamas Hand Prints has combined its passion for creating wonderful designs and taken it up a notch by creating fashionable masks with signature fabrics, making them recognizable and setting them apart from regular disposable masks. The masks are “available in assorted prints and colors” and are also machine washable.
    Woman wearing face mask
     
  • Signarama Bahamas, known primarily for their signage (like Bahamas Realty's custom property signs), window clings, and vehicle wraps, have added custom face shields to their product offering which can even be personalized or branded with company logos.

 

 

3. Hand Sanitizer

John Watling’s Distillery located in Nassau, Bahamas decided to shift its business to accommodate the Bahamian people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Acknowledging that the business has an inventory of Ethyl alcohol, co-founder, Jose Portuondo told Eyewitness News that the distillery decided to shift its “business to meet the needs of [the] community and those on the front line.” The distillery still produces its famous rums and vodkas, but hand sanitizers are an additional priority. The distillery has also donated many bottles of the sanitizer to local food distribution centers such as Hands for Hunger and The Bahamas Feeding Network to help ensure the health of all Bahamians.

4. Remote Fitness

Some fitness facilities have understood that in-person group classes are not conducive to limiting social gathering, so as a way to stay in business and still motivate people to stay on track with their exercise routines, fitness facilities are hosting virtual fitness classes via Zoom. Both parties benefit from this.

An example of the shift in fitness is Bowflex Barbie Fitness, a fitness company specializing in personal and group training. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, this company hosted in-person one on one and group classes but after seeing the demand for at-home fitness programs, Bowflex Barbie Fitness now provides virtual group fitness classes.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Team Bowflex Barbie Fitness (@team.bowflexbarbiefitness) on

 

5. Online Ordering & Delivery Services

Online ordering app

Delivery service is not a new concept to many, but The Bahamas has been slow to embrace the convenience service; however, during the COVID-19 pandemic, more businesses have decided to offer delivery and curbside pickup options to properly abide by the guidelines set in place by the government of The Bahamas. Businesses like Bahamas Office and School Supplies (BOSS) which offer business, school, and art supplies (essential for virtual learning!), and Ports International, which sells medical supplies and equipment, have built new websites with online inventory and convenient ordering. Other food and grocery businesses like Discount Distributors, Kraven and Bahama Eats have developed mobile apps in recognition of the need for online ordering and delivery services.

The owner of Discount Distributers, Ryan Turnquest, told Eyewitness news that before the pandemic their app “averaged maybe 10 orders a day, now [they] are averaging 100.” People are satisfied with utilizing services that do not require them to leave their homes.