RIFE International To Introduce Energy Efficiency And Renewable Energy Solutions Into Ghanaian Schools
By: Mohammed Rabiu Adam | GhCampus.com
Many educational institutions in Ghana are faced with high energy bills. RIFE International, an energy efficiency and sustainable energy company is in the process of rolling out a sustainable energy program for educational institutions to help reduce energy cost. The goal of the program is to increase access to education through energy cost savings.
RIFE believes that providing dynamic solutions for energy problems is an important step towards improving the environmental and economic welfare of people. Kwabena Osie-Sarpong, CEO and president of RIFE International has had success introducing and implementing energy solutions in organizations and institutions in the U.S and hopes to do same in educational institutions in Ghana.
Osei Yiadom and Elizabeth Dow, both students in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at the University of Maryland in the U.S., were selected to take part in a prefeasibility study with RIFE’s office in Ghana to the launch of a pilot program in tertiary and secondary educational institutions in Ghana. RIFE connected with the students through partnerships with the Maryland Department of Commerce and the University of Maryland’s Center for Global Business. The students explained that the initiative was inspired by RIFE’s mission to improve access to power and education.
“One of the things that can make tuition bills high is the amount of electricity that is used on campus, hence reducing electricity consumption can really reduce energy costs. Recently, RIFE worked with our university, which resulted in savings of several thousand dollars in dormitory lighting costs annually,” Dow stated.
Yiadom added, “According to our information, a few years ago due to the high cost of electricity, institutions like the University of Ghana were in huge debt and according to media sources exceeded GH₵21 million. The University at that time considered passing this debt into the utility fees of students of the school which caused an outrage from the students, as many students would not have been able to bare the increment. For reasons like these, RIFE International sees the need for sustainable energy solutions particularly in the education sector. RIFE would like to reduce energy costs by implementing some of its advanced energy conservation methods”
Dow went on to highlight one of the long-term benefits of the initiative. “RIFE is excited to provide solutions which would also help students understand and practice energy efficiency as they are the future. It is important to make the most of the energy that we use and always ensure we are being efficient in the way we use it even if the energy sources were infinite. We can improve our future outlook by making certain behavior modifications and making them now,” she added.
“RIFE International also plans to work with other Ghanaian contractors to implement their program. These partnerships will create jobs and, will help the build capacity of the contractors to implement sustainable energy retrofits and install renewable energy devices. The contractors will be able to use these skills and experience gained to impact other sectors of the country like the health sector and so on”.
On the issue of how ready the pilot institutions are to embrace the initiative, Yiadom explained, “Each school has different energy needs and hence solutions would be customized accordingly. The company will start by collecting data through audits and monitoring devices to understand the full picture of each institution’s energy usage to provide solutions that range from retrofits to solar panels to achieve significant cost savings.”
“Energy needs vary from university to university. For example, the University of Ghana has already started some initiatives. Being a government institution, we have been working with Heads at the government’s ministries and the university’s administrators to see what else can be done. At Ashesi University, a private institution, we have been working directly with the university’s leadership to address their energy needs. We have installed an energy monitoring device to get an understanding of how Ashesi uses electricity across different sections of the campus. Through the reports that this device generates, RIFE will be able to map how energy is used by multiple parts of the campus.”
The University of Maryland students later made a courtesy visit to the President of Graduate Students Association of Ghana, University of Ghana Chapter, Ato Brown, where he disclosed that the university spends large amounts of money to pay its electricity bills. Brown stated, “The University spends a lot of money on electricity. In the last quarter, the university spent close to GH₵ 4 million on electricity. This is a huge sum of money.”
He also further proposed some immediate measures for reducing the amount of energy being used. “The first thing is education. Second is the law enforcement. The University should have a policy and law Such as, if you are a student in a room of three people, you can have, at most, one deep freezer, one rice cooker or one electric iron.”
The University of Maryland team also had a meeting with the management of PMDS of University of Ghana to explain RIFE’s pilot program to the management. They also visited the Hilla Liman Hostel to familiarize themselves with the campus grounds.
For additional information about this exciting initiative, please visit http://rifeintl.com/.