Electrical Power & Protection


Rethinking energy usage in South Africa

May 2022 Electrical Power & Protection

South Africans are all too aware of the ongoing electricity supply issues facing the country. The deteriorating electrical generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure is cause for significant concern. Adding to this are the ongoing climate-related discussions around the long-term viability of the energy sector. It should therefore hardly come as a surprise that businesses and building owners are scrutinising whether their precious kWh units are going to waste.

On the one hand, decision-makers need to be aware of the financial impact of poor energy management. Costs can quickly spiral out of control if electricity is ‘abused’ and not used efficiently. On the other hand, the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in South Africa in December 2020 means property owners who are not seen to be energy efficient could be faced with reputational and financial consequences as cost-conscious and environmentally responsible tenants are likely to opt for energy-efficient buildings as opposed to those with poor EPC ratings.

Sustainability matters

South Africa is coming under intensifying pressure to not only stabilise its electricity supply, but also alleviate its reliance on fossil fuel-based energy generation. It is especially coal that is the culprit as it remains the primary source of energy that powers our economy.

While sustainability is increasingly on the agenda of most organisations, especially the long-term environmental impact, the transition to a sustainable energy mix is not easy. Costs, rapidly evolving technologies, and a lack of knowledge on how to plan and implement transition, are significant inhibitors that present obstacles to businesses and property owners trying to be more energy efficient.

Building owners may have no choice in the matter. In recent years, South African electricity prices have increased by approximately 200%. Unfortunately, this trend is predicted to continue for the next several years. Organisations and property owners must therefore find more effective ways to becoming energy efficient and decrease reliance on unreliable electrical infrastructure that still depends mostly on fossil fuels to generate electricity.

The value of EPCs

This is where EPCs can be the game-changer. Not complying with regulations to obtain an EPC by the end of this year will have significant legal consequences. Those property owners found to fall foul of the law could be fined up to R5 million, be sentenced to imprisonment for up to five years, or both.

Energy performance certification should not be seen as a grudge compliance. Rather, an EPC assists property owners in identifying new opportunities. Undertaking the certification process will put the spotlight on ways to improve the energy efficiency performance of a building. Most buildings present numerous opportunities for reductions in their energy footprint, without the need to sacrifice the comfort, working conditions or safety of the building’s occupants.

The challenge is not so much to identify these opportunities, but rather to develop energy-efficient plans (at portfolio level) that strike the correct balance between financial return on investment and environmental impact. Bold action is required to drive down the energy consumption of a portfolio of buildings by 20% to 30%.

EPCs are already showing that this must be possible – if one building in a portfolio can achieve an A rating and another building achieves a D rating (or even lower), the right questions start getting asked. Why is the one building so good while the other building is so ‘bad’? What can we do to get all our buildings to at least a B or even an A rating? Once these questions start being answered, results are almost a given.

So, EPCs should serve as a driver to help property owners take a considered approach to the energy management of a building, and that is the real value of an EPC.

For more information go to www.epc-certification.com




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Gain more visibility into your power substation operations
RJ Connect Electrical Power & Protection
The key dilemma is that many RTUs, HMIs, Ethernet switches and intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) installed in substations are from different vendors.

Read more...
Power supplies with EtherCAT interface
Beckhoff Automation Electrical Power & Protection
In the case of system monitoring, important operating parameters such as output current and voltage are transmitted in real time and updated continuously

Read more...
Pure sine wave inverters up to 3200 W
Electrical Power & Protection
The new Mean Well units set themselves apart from general consumer-grade products by adopting industrial-grade reliability, safety and quality.

Read more...
Avoiding safety hazards during solar PV installations
RS Components SA Electrical Power & Protection
Safety levels during solar panel commissioning and installation have been strengthened by Fluke’s CAT III 1500 V true-RMS clamp meter.

Read more...
Schneider Electric helps Senwes attain stable energy supply
Schneider Electric South Africa Electrical Power & Protection
Senwes’ head offices in Klerksdorp – and surrounding utility users – now benefit from advanced monitoring technology and higher safety levels.

Read more...
Digitalising the power grid
Schneider Electric South Africa Electrical Power & Protection
Many facilities still use a rudimentary level of technology, which means faults are addressed in a reactive as opposed to a predictive and proactive manner.

Read more...
Measuring the EPC rating of a building
Electrical Power & Protection
Gaining a good EPC rating requires building owners to rethink how they approach energy usage in a modern world.

Read more...
Compact uninterruptible DC power supply
Electrical Power & Protection
Traco Power’s new 240 W UPS module is suited to demanding industrial applications needing a stable source of power.

Read more...
Compact and powerful energy monitoring unit
Opto Africa Holdings Electrical Power & Protection Fieldbus & Industrial Networking
The RIO EMU’s slim form factor is ideal for ‘just one more thing’ retrofit jobs thanks to DIN-rail and panel-mount options.

Read more...
Vacuum circuit breaker with thermal monitoring
Schneider Electric South Africa Electrical Power & Protection
The EasyPacT EXE offers IoT sensors and digital connectivity for a simpler, more sustainable and safer experience for panel builders, facility managers and OEMs.

Read more...