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The facilities management side of commercial real estate is well-positioned to bring creative solutions to the table to help answer South Africa’s most pressing question at the moment: energy security.
With the spectre of increased load shedding on the horizon for winter, the issue of how to literally keep the lights on will be top of mind when the country’s top facilities management minds meet at the Facilities Management (FM) Expo at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 6 to 9 June.
Broll Property Group’s Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) Division is powering the Facilities Management Seminar Theatre at this year’s FM Expo and is hosting a series of discussions that are open to all attendees and which focus on solutions to current market challenges. A strong focus this year is on sustainability.
Batabile Sibaca, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Broll Integrated Facilities Management, will be delivering the opening address. He says while climate change and sustainability have long been on the agenda, the energy crisis in South Africa has forced the IFM sector to move more quickly toward more efficient solutions.
“Technological solutions have really helped unlock efficiencies,” said Sibaca.
“For instance, things like smart meters for water and sensors for lights and equipment really allow us to identify inefficiencies and reduce utility expenses. Right now, the industry is characterised by too much wastage and I believe technology is an important part of the solution in addressing this.
“For the FM sector, being able to offer holistic solutions is a key part of what clients are looking for. They no longer want to contract a raft of different suppliers to manage a building. Being able to offer sustainability solutions in-house is a strong differentiator.”
Broll’s focus on sustainability sharpened last year with the launch of its Energy, Water and Sustainability (EWS) Division as part of its IFM business unit. Mitesh Bhawan, MD of EWS says the division has already been able to dramatically reduce energy and water consumption over the past year. While some audits have revealed flaws in systems, others have pointed to administrative issues.
“In one example, we almost halved an organisation’s energy bill by discovering that there was an error with billing. In another, we saved a client more than three million litres of water every month by discovering leaks that regular leak detection methods missed,” said Bhawan.
Bhawan believes taking a closer look at energy consumption could help South Africa’s bigger picture when it comes to energy.
“Curbing energy waste makes as much economic sense as it does environmental sense. We could reduce the burden on the national grid in a practical way, and perhaps mitigate the need for more intensive load shedding.”