South Africa’s most energy efficient buildings – Results from the 4th National Energy Barometer Survey

Submitted by: Nadia Shah, Monday, June 9, 2014

The 4th National Energy Barometer Survey (NEBS) results from the 2012 utility year have been announced. 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.

It offers businesses a cost-free opportunity to assess and compare their energy consumption against the national average benchmark by submitting their electricity consumption information from the previous year’s utility bills into the ‘Energy Barometer’ tool online. In addition, participants are required to enter industry specific data and information such as the occupancy, the size of the building and the weather conditions experienced in the area.  This information enables the Energy Barometer tool to execute a scientific comparison of the energy consumption of participating buildings in relation to other buildings in the same sector, taking a variety of factors into consideration.

According to Yolanda de Lange, from the Energy Training Foundation which provide administrative support for the NEBS, the response rate has grown from 20 entries in 2009 to 130 entries in 2012 and there are already over 200 buildings registered for the 2013 utility year.

All participants receive an Energy Barometer e-certificate which details their results together with the annual survey results report. Results are kept confidential and, with permission from participants, only the results of the buildings which rank top 3 in their respective categories are announced and published.

The 2012 utility year winners for each building category are summarised in the table below:

Table showing the results of the 4th National Energy Barometer Survey

Data submitted aids the NEBS to monitor and evaluate industry trends by developing a comprehensive, reliable and accurate energy benchmark database of buildings in South Africa. This allows building owners to compare their energy performance to the industry average and other buildings in the same sector. “How far you are below or above the average for the industry will indicate how much more opportunity you have to improve. If others can do it, there must be more options for your building to get closer to the average or top performing buildings,” says de Lange. In addition the NEBS enables building owners to assess their energy intensities and compare these with their historic consumption to quantify improvements. “For energy savings to be achieved year on year, one needs a system to continuously remain informed of energy of energy consumption patterns, and using the barometer helps benchmark this annually and keeps track of your internal performance versus others in a similar industry,” explains de Lange.

De Lange notes that each year there are a number of registered buildings which withdraw from the competition because they are unable to find the data required to complete the survey. “This is an indication that they are not aware of their energy consumption. Those that return once they have got their information together are in my view our greatest achievers - whether they rank first or last as they have taken the first step.”

If you would like to participate in the National Energy Barometer Survey, please note that registration for the 2013 utility year closes on the 1st of July 2014.  For more information please consult the Energy Barometer website.

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