2014 UN-Water Annual International Zaragoza Conference. Preparing for World Water Day 2014: Partnerships for improving water and energy access, efficiency and sustainability. 13-16 January 2014

Case study: Promotion of Sustainable Water and Energy practices in Costa Rica by Companies, Citizens and Administrations

By Andy Backer, ESPH


Sustainable Reference is the company collaborating the efforts of all partners either small or big for the project to ensure Costa Rica becomes a ‘smart country’ in the near future. Costa Rica is suffering the worst drought in 11 years. Normally, over 90% of the country’s electricity originates from hydroelectric plants. But now, electricity is produced to an ever-increasing extent with thermal electrical plants, burning fossil fuels, which leads to a bigger dependency on foreign energy imports, resulting in a loss of capital.

In order to remedy the situation, there are a number of collaborations between companies and institutions. The Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia (ESPH) is a utility company in Costa Rica that offers electricity, water and telecommunication services to their clients. Asociación Empresarial para el Desarrollo (AED) represents over 100 entities including large multinational corporations (Intel, Coca Cola, P&G, Unilever,…). There is also support from three main banks in Costa Rica as well as various public institutions from Costa Rica and Spain.

With partnership from the utility company (ESPH) it is expected that the program will ultimately lead towards a reduction in electricity and water consumption on behalf of the company´s clients by launching new, greater value business services, such as energy consulting and the installation of new hardware solutions (domotic devices, smart meters, etc).

Partnership with the association which represents more than100 companies (AED); helps the associated companies to drive their costs down and increase their reputation. Having AED as the first to introduce this solution and help coordinate different events around the program will increase the perception of value by the associated businesses.