Clicks Group awarded first place in the National Energy Barometer Survey in the head office category

Submitted by: Nadia Shah, Tuesday, September 30, 2014

<p>Clicks Group was found to be South Africa’s top performing head office building, in the National Energy Barometer Survey for the 2012 period. (Image Source: Energy Training Foundation)</p>

Clicks Group was found to be South Africa’s top performing head office building, in the National Energy Barometer Survey for the 2012 period. (Image Source: Energy Training Foundation)

Clicks Group claimed the title of South Africa’s top ranking building in the National Energy Barometer Survey (NEBS) for the 2012 utility year in the Corporate Head Offices category. Clicks Group entered their 25,270m2 property in Woodstock, Cape Town into the competition with the aim of monitoring their energy performance and benchmarking it against their previous year’s score. “The Energy Barometer provides us with a clear indication of how we are doing against other buildings. In some instances, we tend to implement technology without knowing how we are performing. This initiative gives us a clear indication that the Group is performing well within the sector,” said Siglinda Losch, Sustainability Facilitator for The Clicks Group. According to Losch, the company did not expect the win, “Although we have made a few changes and wanted to see a difference from the previous year, it was not quite anticipated to win the category. This only indicated to us that the smallest invention can make such a big difference in energy usage”.

Energy Efficiency Initiatives

There were a number of initiatives implemented at Clicks Group head office which contributed to achieving the best energy efficiency score in their category. All electronic equipment such as computers and printers were fitted with power save modes. Losch added that the building lights are switched off whenever there is an opportunity to do so and that the new bathrooms in the building have been fitted with motion sensors and LED lights.

Losch also mentioned that raising staff awareness has contributed to energy savings achieved. “Employees are informed regularly concerning new initiatives or implementations in the building that can help to save electricity. Luckily, the building has been designed in such a way that energy savings or switch-offs are done from a central point and are adapted to the behaviour of the employees in the building. Awareness creation however only helps for a certain percentage of people; it helps to have automated systems in place as well. We continuously strive and encourage our employees to also save energy at home,” said Losch.

Challenges

As with most companies, the business case required for the implementation of energy saving initiatives posed a great challenge. To overcome this, Clicks strategically installed products in certain areas of the building and measured the performance and savings achieved. Only once the products proved to deliver financial savings were they deployed to the rest of the building.

Uncertainty in the performance capabilities of new technology was an additional obstacle faced. “The energy industry can be very complex at the moment due to energy efficient products developing at a fast rate. Not knowing which products are working most effectively, it becomes a challenge to implement the most appropriate equipment for your building,” said Losch.

A further challenge was the limitations associated with an old building.  According to the latest records available the building was established in 1960, “Older buildings tend to have less natural light and air, this means that there is more equipment used to accommodate the employees. This can be a challenge as the equipment still needs to be in place to create a productive working environment,” explained Losch.

Future Plans

Clicks Group is currently in the process of improving the energy efficiency of their water heating systems, all the geysers in the building are being removed and only two heat pumps will remain for specific areas which require hot water. Furthermore, the company is looking at ways to improve its efficiency throughout its supply chain. According to Losch, their store development teams are constantly searching for opportunities to reduce energy usage at branch level and their distribution system has implemented route optimisation in order to reduce the amount of liquid fuel consumed. Losch explains that the company is committed to reducing its footprint which aligns with its core business strategies. “We are continuously looking at possible ways to incorporate new initiatives into the business. In the long term, we strive to be a sustainable company with a positive future,” said Losch.

The National Energy Barometer Survey

The NEBS is an ongoing initiative which aims to contribute to securing the energy future of South Africa by raising environmental awareness regarding energy consumption of commercial buildings and their associated carbon footprints.

For more information on the NEBS, read our article: South Africa’s most energy efficient buildings – Results from the 4th National Energy Barometer Survey and visit the NEBS website.

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