Commercial award: Woolworths

Woolworths has significantly reduced its energy usage by investing R10.3-million over three years on an automated load control system from UGU Engineering Solutions. This forms part of the retailer’s good business journey, which includes goals of protecting the environment and reducing its carbon footprint by 30% by next year.

“We consider our good business journey as key to enhancing our brand while being cognisant of the impact of our business on society and the environment. Over the past few years we have realised that our focus on social and environmental issues can drive innovation and operational efficiencies in our business,” says Anton Kilian, electrical engineer at Woolworths Real Estate Development.

“Internally, sustainability is one of our seven values.
We measure employee understanding and backing for our good business journey programme through our annual people survey, which has shown high levels of support.”

The retailer has decreased energy usage by 18% from its 2004 benchmark. It has successfully rolled out new lighting and energy measurement technologies, as well as retro-fitted refrigeration technologies and is constantly reviewing distribution methods. Part of this sees Woolworths automatically switching off non-essential electrical services outside of retail hours from 7pm to 9am.

“When you have a R220-million electricity bill as a group, this is a remarkable saving. With the automatic load control system of UGU, we have managed to save 11 783 253 kWh year-on-year in our 2010/2011 financial year. This was done using two years’ worth of measurable data gained from online metering, which equates to an independently verified 12,97% saving on the overall total,” concludes Kilian.

Runners Up: First National Bank, Power Optimisa

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