You are here:Home/Media Centre/Latest news
Back to news results
With South Africa’s energy crisis showing no sign of abating, loadshedding regularly shifting between levels two to six, and commercial property owners facing electricity price hikes, the need for sustainable solutions is more pressing than ever.
Broll Property Group’s newly appointed COO for its Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) arm, Batabile Sibaca, says the price increase will affect everyone directly and indirectly. “While the government is being legally challenged in the face of the price hikes and undersupply, property owners should nevertheless increase measures to reduce energy consumption and create efficiencies – it just makes good business sense.”
In addition to changing habits, this will require taking a closer look at operations and analysing the technology, equipment and facilities they have in place to find ways to reduce energy consumption in the areas it is consumed most.
Mitesh Bhawan, MD of Broll Property Group’s Energy, Water & Sustainability (Broll EWS) division, which forms part of the IFM arm, says property owners need to conduct thorough energy consumption analyses. “This type of deep dive involves collaboration with tenants, employees and other stakeholders to identify areas of highest consumption and then institute measures that address these.”
He says instead of only looking to energy generation in the form of solar panels, gas or generators, which come with their own costs, owners should place greater emphasis on identifying the most basic ways to reduce energy consumption such as ensuring lights in a building – or a particular node in a building – are switched off when not in use.
“Renewable energy solutions need to be understood in terms of how they can best meet the consumption needs of a property. As we know, renewables cannot provide energy 24 hours a day. They also need to be constantly maintained, which is an additional cost, and they need to be supported by backup power in the form of batteries. And, what works for one property may not work for another.
“Commonly, it’s the most fundamental things people overlook, such as not switching off geysers, lights or water urns when they are not in use. Creating a habit of sustainable and efficient energy consumption behaviours is the most important starting point for everyone, be they private households or large property energy consumers,” he adds.
While some commercial or real estate property owners have Building Management Systems (BMS) in place to help them monitor and run all facets of their buildings, these systems are not always fully understood or optimised by the people using them. “Too many buildings, even new ones, are unable to compartmentalise and switch off non-essentials for an area when it is not in use,” notes Bhawan.
Sibaca concurs with Bhawan and says the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ adage is why so much energy and water gets wasted. “It’s not an impossible task to reduce consumption and become sustainable. Mostly, what’s needed is basic education, analysis, having a good energy management system in place and understanding how to utilise the system as effectively as possible to solve problems.
“Whether the price of electricity is increased or not, better managed and more sustainable buildings offer their owners greater savings and align them with the global drive towards greener buildings and reduced carbon footprints,” he concludes.