BUILDING: City Undertaking Energy Retrofits
Recent Western Cape Business News
The City of Cape Town is currently undertaking energy efficiency retrofits of some of its largest buildings, namely Durbanville, Fezeka, Ottery and Plumstead Civic Centres.
An audit of the City’s flagship building, the Civic Centre, Hertzog Boulevard has been completed and a tender for the first phase of the energy efficiency intervention for this building is now also in preparation. This work will be done with capital funding provided by the City.
“Work on making the City’s buildings more energy efficient is absolutely necessary if we are to reduce our carbon footprint and keep in line with the commitment that we, as the City, have made to be a low carbon city,” says Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt, Mayoral Committee Member for Planning and Environment, and Chair of the City’s Energy Committee.
In 2008 the City engaged a contractor to perform a preliminary assessment of the viability of performing energy efficiency improvements to 13 of its largest corporate buildings. This assessment, received early in 2009, indicated that all 13 buildings could benefit from such interventions.
The City has long recognised the importance of buildings as energy consuming infrastructure and their impact both on electricity consumption and on the carbon emissions of the metropole.
“Whilst the majority of our buildings were built in an era when electricity was cheap and plentiful, that era has now past. Current realities of scarcity of supply, and increased cost of electricity, demand from both the City and its citizens that they use this resource wisely,” says Alderman Clive Justus, Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services.
In fact, the first comprehensive energy efficiency intervention, comprising both technical modification and staff behavioural change, was performed on the Parow Administrative building during the period 2002 to 2005, with good success. Lack of capital funding and more pressing needs in other areas resulted in this initiative not being repeated.
When climate change requirements and electricity supply constraints once again brought energy use to the fore, and on the strength of the preliminary assessments, an application was made to Danida, the Danish funding agency, for grant funding to undertake energy efficiency interventions in three of the City’s administrative buildings. The application was successful.
In the interim, under the Green Goal 2010 programme, a fourth building was added to the group and a tender was issued for the technical modification and staff behavioural change training of four buildings, namely Durbanville, Fezeka, Ottery and Plumstead.
A reduction in energy use in these buildings ranging from 12% to 18% (depending on the building) is expected to be realised in coming years.
This heralds the beginning of an era, where the improvement in energy use of the City’s buildings will join with the retrofit work already done (and continuing to be done) to the City’s streetlights and robots, the fitment of solar water heaters to the City’s clinics, nature reserve facilities and fire stations, as well as the electricity savings campaign, to make Cape Town a much lower carbon use city.
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