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COMMERCIAL FEATURE A tale of tall cities By Shaun Wilson, director of energy and sustainability services at Schneider Electric South Africa. High performance buildings: the larger and more economically viable a city is, the more buildings and infrastructure it has. Ironically though, it is also these structures that sap a city of its energy and a business of its profitability. E nergy efficiency has moved to the fore of the overall business strategy, resulting in executives having not only to look at their core business, but also take a comprehensive holistic view of their building, identifying how the building functions and operates and how the space will be occupied. The purpose of this is to allow the company’s physical infrastructure to play a major role in its profitability. More than ever, energy efficiency is crucial to the creation of high performance buildings and business success. South Africa’s Department of Energy (DoE) has set a national target for energy efficiency improvement of 12% by 2015. In its energy efficiency strategy for South Africa, the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) says that commercial and public buildings account for 3.5% of final energy demand. The commercial sector alone contributes 45% towards total national GDP. It further states that “the majority of energy is used in the form of electricity, the main end- users being HVAC systems, lighting and office equipment”. The vision of the strategy is to contribute towards affordable energy for all, and to minimise the negative effects of energy usage upon human health and the environment. As a global specialist in energy management, Schneider Electric takes an integrated approach to building management that can reduce energy use by 30%, reduce capital expenditures, decrease operating expenditures and improve overall business performance. Targeting the southern African building environment, it has developed solutions for both medium and large buildings. These solutions are made up of enabling products, management systems and added value services. Enabling products include: • Lighting control; dimmers, timers, switches, movement and presence detectors. • HVAC; variable speed drives for flow and pressure control of fans and pumps. • Energy management; power compensation and filtering, meters. • Renewable energy; systems for the production of solar energy. • Management systems that encompass building management systems and power monitoring and analysis. Added value services are site audits, data collection and analysis, financial analysis and return on investment, planning of improvement plan, and remote monitoring and optimisation. In its four-step approach, Schneider Electric measures energy use to identify potential savings and dysfunctions; installs low-consumption equipment and systems; improves long-term use by deploying automation management, consulting, training and tracking resources while maintaining high performance; and continuously analyses In the near future, the most powerful companies and institutions will be those with the least power. 52 energy savings through maintenance, supervision and monitoring. In 2011, the DoE made the standard for office buildings, SANS 204, mandatory and incorporated it into the National Building Regulations. It is now policy that buildings conform to the building energy efficiency requirements as set out in the SANS 204 specification. As an energy expert, Schneider Electric has vast experience with different regulations worldwide, which has provided it with a great knowledge base from which to work effectively and quickly. Improving energy efficiency should not be an overwhelming task. When taking into account the 2010 Jakarta presentation by the International Energy Agency, which showed that 50% of the world’s CO 2 emissions reduction will come from end-user efficiency by 2035, it should be viewed as a positive measure to reduce the environmental footprint of a company whilst also achieving business goals. Importantly, energy efficiency applies both to old and new buildings. In fact, it has been especially satisfying to see the astounding environmental and monetary outcomes of Schneider Electric’s energy efficiency solutions when implemented in older buildings on university campuses and the like. In the near future, the most powerful companies and institutions will be those with the least power. ESI ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As the director of energy and sustainability services at Schneider Electric South Africa, Shaun Wilson’s focus is on providing solutions within the energy management field for all industries, from mining, minerals and metals to commercial buildings and data centres, in order to grow the business. ABOUT THE COMPANY: Schneider Electric South Africa (Pty) Ltd is a specialist in energy management and offers integrated solutions that make energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green. The company services multiple market segments in southern Africa, including; utilities and infrastructure, solar, non-residential building, data centres and networks, and residential. ESI AFRICA ISSUE 1 2014