Cape Town Central City Energy Efficiency Initiative unpacked

Posted On Thursday, 06 November 2008 02:00 Published by
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The Cape Town Partnership presented a case study of the Cape Town Central City Energy Efficiency Initiative (EEI) at the Green Buildings Council of South Africa (GBCSA) conference which took place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre

It is imperative that existing commercial building stock be made more energy efficient, especially given the electricity supply shortage that South Africa is facing in the medium to long term.

The EEI, which was launched in February 2007, is the first South African city-level public private partnership created to increase electrical efficiency in commercial buildings in a large urban node.

“Electrical energy efficiency is the cheapest, quickest, most environmentally-friendly way to help relieve the current pressure on the national grid, and free up power for new developments,” says Andrew Boraine, Chief Executive of the Cape Town Partnership. “While some progress has been made by progressive industrial consumers and commercial property owner/managers, collectively we are still falling short of the 10% saving which is urgently needed. Large opportunities for technically feasible and financially beneficial savings still exist.”

Indications are that for the Cape Town Central City commercial office space alone (approximately 830 000m²), electricity supply for operating buildings is producing over 253 000 tons of carbon a year, and using over 363 million litres of the country’s scare water resources. The EEI case study has examined theoretical and practical issues over the past 18 months, including barriers to implementation of energy efficiency measures in commercial buildings. These include:
• Cost of electricity still too low to be a priority
• Many commercial buildings are multi-tenanted. Owners find it difficult to recoup energy efficiency investment from tenants
• Some building owners are legally making a profit margin on electricity bills and don’t want to reduce revenues
• There are only a small number of owner-occupied buildings who will benefit directly from energy efficiency investment
• Costs of auditing buildings
• Awareness and information levels are still too low.

National policy is heading towards making electricity efficiency mandatory, with financial penalties for non-compliance. In addition, there is a forthcoming carbon tax and national ‘Power Conservation Phase’ penalty tariffs which are to start with the largest users first. According to the findings of the EEI project, there is a lot that buildings can do to become more efficient in order to reduce their operating costs, and reduce their impact on the environment.

Sarah De Villiers Leach, EEI project manager, says that energy management practices and more efficient technologies for lighting, air-conditioning, hot water and mechanical systems in buildings can save money and contribute to wider environmental solutions. Electrical energy efficiency is faster to implement than building new power stations, and results in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions (which helps mitigate climate change), air pollutants and use of scarce water resources. There are also job-creation opportunities from some energy efficiency interventions, which add to the benefit for the country.

Energy efficiency is one of multiple sustainable development issues that are being factored into the Cape Town ‘Central City Development Strategy’ that was launched last week by the Cape Town Partnership and the City of Cape Town.

Publisher: eProp
Source: CTP

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