Ricochet News

Port Elizabeth firm comes out tops in UK government sponsored energy audit

DECEMBER 10, 2015
Port Elizabeth firm comes out tops in UK government sponsored energy audit

Auditors reveal most businesses “can still save 20 to 25%” in energy consumption

  • Programme has identified over 14,000 gigawatt-hours [GWh] of lifetime energy savings – report states
  • Aberdare Cables joins 10 other SA facilities with ISO 50001 certification
  • By just adjusting the air-con, medium-sized retailers can save more than R60,000 annually, auditors find

International cable manufacturer Aberdare Cables has come out tops in a UK government sponsored energy audit, the Port Elizabeth-based company has announced.

The company completed the UK-backed Private Sector Energy Efficiency (PSEE) Strategic Energy Management (SEM) audit last month. Rhino Lighting was the successful service provider chosen to undertake the energy audit, as part of the PSEE programme.

Following the audit, Aberdare’s Port Elizabeth plant has been able to fulfil the stringent criteria required to become ISO 50001 compliant, enabling it to cut its energy consumption by at least 10% annually. Aberdare now joins 10 other facilities nationwide in being ISO 50001 compliant.

According to Rhino Lighting, many businesses could reduce their energy consumption by 20 to 25%.

“In most cases it includes what we call ‘low hanging fruit’,” said Rhino Lighting MD Heather McEwan.

“This includes basics such as putting timers on lights; not leaving PCs and other electronics on standby mode and instead switching them off entirely; and setting the air-conditioning to 20?C instead of 18?C.”

This, said McEwan, was saving medium-sized retailers more than R60,000 annually.

Businesses enrolling in the free (for small to medium enterprises) and heavily subsidised PSEE programme (for lager businesses), it has meant significant reductions in overheads by cutting energy consumption, thanks to the often easy-to-implement energy savings suggestions from PSEE auditors.

“The programme has so far identified over 14,000 gigawatt-hours [GWh] of lifetime energy savings,” said PSEE national programme head Dr Peter Mukoma in a recent report.

Audits in the Eastern Cape included 155 medium-sized and two large companies, according to provincial PSEE coordinator Kevin Tarr-Graham. In offices in the Eastern Cape, PSEE audits have revealed the highest energy consumers, with 56% of consumption going towards air-conditioning systems, 19% to lighting, 10% to kitchen appliances and 8% to UPS systems.

Aberdare has been aware of the importance of energy conservation “for quite some time”, said Rist.

“The PSEE programme seemed a fortuitous opportunity to utilise part funding from the British government and involve professional energy consultants Rhino Lighting to coach us and bring both comparability and assurance to our energy saving efforts,” he said.

The company is investigating introducing green energy solutions, such as concentrated solar as a means of heat generation, as well as potential biomass and wind derived energy generation. These would be introduced “if determined to be truly sustainable”, said Rist.