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Saving with free energy audits

Energy efficiency and carbon management award Winner: CCBC Green Economy Joint Venture

When a team from the CCBC joint venture completed a green audit at a hospital in Pretoria in February, their report showed the institution could save more than R400 000 on water and electricity during the first year, and up to R5-million over the next seven years.

This remarkable feat meant the hospital barely needed to pay a cent towards its future rand savings, thanks to a specialised financial model developed by Michelangelo Technology.

Michelangelo is one of the partners in a joint non-profit venture that conducts free green audits on businesses, schools, hotels, factories and more. Named the CCBC (for Capital City Business Chamber) Green Economy Joint Venture, it is a non-profit entity started to save and recycle energy and water in Pretoria.

The hospital audit “indicates the feasibility of energy- and water-saving solutions where the savings are larger than the instalments in a financed model over five years or a service model over seven years, including an extended warranty and maintenance plan,” said André Nel, founder and chairperson of CBCC and chief executive of Michelangelo Technology.

“In other words, the solution pays for itself, making the project sustainable.”

The implementation process, due to start shortly at Zuid-Afrikaans Hospital, has the potential to reduce municipal water consumption by, at least, 63% (1 500kL) and energy use by 21% (92 000kWh) a month, said Nel.

Green economy solutions
“It is the oldest private hospital in the capital city and could soon also become the greenest,” he said. “Energy saving will be achieved by implementing LED lighting, a combination of hybrid flat-panel solar and heat pumps for water heating, as well as a building management system with electronic energy, water measurement and control of the air-conditioning system,” he said.

By the end of April, the team had completed 16 free green audits and 50% have since received approval, in principle, for implementation. Besides the hospital, the projects include a school, a factory, a hotel, a guest house, retirement villages and households.

“We are currently on track to implement green economy solutions that will achieve an annual energy saving of 2.8MWh and annual water savings of 60-million litres by the end of 2012 on water and lights bills,” said Nel.

“Economic sustainability can be demonstrated by a compelling value proposition: schools that do not have the cash on hand can implement a service agreement that takes care of the solution, including maintenance over a seven-year period at a firm monthly fee, while saving on municipal water and electricity expenses.”

A green audit was done at LS Nellie Swart primary school in November 2011. A peak demand of 42kVA was calculated for the current lights on the premises. The CCBC design, using LED lights, would reduce this to 7kVA – an 84% saving.

Nel said if the model is rolled out to 20 business chambers in 2013, 30 chambers in 2014 and 40 chambers in 2015, each with the same annual targets, a massive annual saving of 376 000 tonnes of carbon emissions could be achieved by 2016.

The Greening judges said this kind of innovative and bold approach to carbon management was needed to tackle the causes of climate change. They urged the projects working with the joint venture to make sure all the energy-saving proposals in the green audits were implemented.

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