Energy efficiency goes mainstream

Building energy efficiency: My Green Home followed and documented on its website the Ngewana family’s progress as they made their home and lifestyle more environmentally friendly. Photo: supplied

Building energy efficiency: My Green Home followed and documented on its website the Ngewana family’s progress as they made their home and lifestyle more environmentally friendly. Photo: supplied

For the past 25 years, the Eskom eta Awards have been recognising and rewarding excellence in energy efficiency.

This year the standard of entries showed that energy efficiency and the green movement are no longer just the preserve of tree huggers; they have entered the mainstream. Most importantly, it is now generally accepted that energy efficiency makes business sense.

The awards encourage entries across a variety of spectrums, including the commercial, industrial, residential, innovation and youth sectors.

“This year I have been blown away by the quality of the entries,” said Dr Steve Lennon, Eskom group executive: sustainability. “We’re no longer just seeing people experimenting with unusual ideas, we’re seeing businesses, homeowners and young people rising to the challenge of climate change with their innovative ideas.”

Entries were accepted in eight categories. The winner of each category received a cash prize of R30 000 and the runners-up R5 000 each. As usual the quality of entries didn’t disappoint, with some truly astonishing innovations being presented to the panel of judges.

The winners were announced at the annual awards evening, held at the University of Johannesburg on November 28.

The eta Awards were initially established to create awareness and encourage action in energy efficiency. They have grown from strength to strength in the past 25 years, and form part of Eskom’s drive to ensure a sustainable electricity supply well into the future.

Impressive submissions this year included a carbon monoxide ventilation system, energy leadership programmes and people who survive “off the grid”.

“In South Africa we have always tackled problems head on, and we have a wealth of skills and talent in a variety of areas,” said Lennon. “This combination is proving particularly strong when tackling issues of energy efficiency.”

He said more and more South Africans are looking for ways to save energy each year. “From pupils who want to make a difference at school, households which are cutting costs and large companies that are working hard to cut their expenses – at the Eskom eta Awards, we applaud these people.”

Eskom has a role in helping to build a culture of energy efficiency, he said. “It is essential for the country’s future that we all become energy savers and use electricity efficiently. By working together with businesses, communities, civil society and individuals, we can start to find solutions to our energy challenges.

“Through the eta Awards, we hope to recognise more citizens who use electricity sparingly and who can inspire others to do the same,” said Lennon.

 

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