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City gets energy efficient nod
10 March 2010

City officials receive the EnerKey Certificate (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)

For the first time, an EnerKey Performance Certificate has been awarded in South Africa, and the recipient is Johannesburg, for its Metro Centre.

JOHANNESBURG has been rewarded for saving energy through implementing energy efficiency measures in the Metro Centre.

MMC Matshidiso Mfikoe
MMC for environment and corporate and shared services Matshidiso Mfikoe

On Monday, 8 March, the City received the EnerKey Performance Certificate from the EnerKey Project during a brief ceremony at the centre, a council-owned building in Loveday Street, Braamfontein.

This is the first time such a certificate has been awarded in South Africa. The EnerKey Project is a South African-German collaboration that aims to develop and implement innovative projects in urban energy supply and use in order to improve energy sustainability.

After receiving the certificate, the member of the mayoral committee for environment and corporate and shared services, Matshidiso Mfikoe, said: "Thank you very much for doing the inspection of our building; we are hoping that there will be more certificates to follow ... We are hoping to get certificates for Joburg as a whole, not just for the Civic Centre. We will continue to get buildings in Joburg to be energy efficient."

The council building is a prime example of energy efficiency in public buildings, with a total primary energy use for heating, hot water, ventilation, cooling and lighting of 102 kilowatts per hour.

According to Simon Wössner from Fraunhofer Institute of Building Physics, it is 49 percent below the national mean value for office buildings in South Africa. The institute is a German research company.

The handover of the energy certificate was preceded by a training workshop that focused on energy efficiency in commercial and office buildings. It gave participants a deeper understanding of energy efficiency in office buildings and will enable them to analyse energy efficiency in buildings more effectively.

Guidelines
In May 2009, the City and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research released Guidelines for Energy Efficient Buildings. The guide gives practical ways to construct buildings that have minimal energy requirements.

The Metro Centre is energy efficient
The Metro Centre is energy efficient

It states that buildings consume energy throughout their lifecycle - from construction to operation and then demolition.

The guide focuses on passive environmental control, day lighting and the use of renewable energy like solar power. With passive environmental control, there is no need for mechanical heating or cooling; buildings take advantage of natural energy flows such as the sun.

The guidelines centre on the early design stages of a new building and what measures can be taken to ensure it is energy efficient. For example, it can be designed using west-, south- or north-facing strategies to maximise natural sources of energy such as the sun.

Greening buildings can cut operating costs through retrofitting their structures. The effectiveness of thermal insulation, windows and air ventilations can be checked. Passive solar design is another solution as it makes use of natural light through windows and light wells.

Energy efficient lighting systems and controls and solar heating systems can also be fitted into existing buildings.

Speaking when the guidelines were released, Linda Phalatse, the deputy director for climate change and cleaner production in the City's environmental management unit, said: "Retrofitting is an investment that businesses should start looking into.

"They should start weighing their economies of scale by doing a cost-to-benefit analysis of their buildings and see how much they are currently spending on a normal building versus a retrofitted building."

She explained that office parks could retrofit their buildings to be more energy efficient by changing lighting, ventilation and air conditioning systems and by using effective thermal insulation.

Homes could also be more energy efficient, she added. "The geyser is the number one culprit ... solar water heaters can replace current geysers. [Residents] can also replace old candescent lights with compact fluorescent light bulbs and unplug all electrical appliances not being used from the main switch."

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Last Updated on 08 January 2013