Alliance promotes efficiency innovations

An alliance set up to promote energy-saving activities among office buildings and factories expects more than 200 enterprises will join its project, called the Voluntary Agreement or VA2556.

Started three years ago, the alliance comprises the Thailand Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand and the Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency Department.

VA2556 targets big businesses that consume large amounts of energy.

Interested enterprises must have an energy-saving policy and good standards of energy management if they want to join.

Qualitative measurements are taken to evaluate how the members perform in terms of energy-savings and other environmentally friendly measures.

Already the project has 70 enterprises with 1,380 buildings and 42 factories.

Department director-general Twarath Sutabutr said more than 200 enterprises and institutions have applied for the programme, while an estimated 300 leading businesses want to join.

"VA2556 is aimed at promoting various ways and strategies for energy-savings and sustainable energy development," he said.

Among those signed up already is Vachira Phuket Hospital.

Jessada Chungpaibulpatana, a director of the hospital, said his facility is enthusiastic about improving waste management and has started sharing energy-saving knowledge with surrounding communities.

It also wants to share knowledge of the hospital's energy management in various departments with other VA2556 members.

In terms of business costs, more than 2 million baht has been saved thanks to the hospital's energy-saving strategy, said Mr Jessada.

The alliance said the programme can raise public awareness of saving energy by addressing concerns about future energy consumption.

VA2556 is also aimed at srengthening network ties between members in terms of knowledge sharing and training in energy-saving procedures.

Some members said it also helps a business connect more with nearby communities.

Energy saving is a vital part of a firm's survival, said Wichit Prakaypan, an executive adviser to Mahaphant Fiber Cement Co, another VA2556 member.

He said competition is driven by innovation, not pricing, and ideas for innovation often originate from community activities.

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Writer: Sarissa Indhakanok