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Award-winning project saves millions

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Johnson Controls and affiliate Shared Energy Management (SEM) have received the Eskom eta Award for 2010 in the commercial category, for their work on the SABC building in Auckland Park.

The project contract was originally negotiated by Johnson Controls, which partnered with SEM for the implementation and running of the joint initiative. The venture saved the SABC almost 20-million kilowatt hours in electricity output per annum with monetary savings reaching as high as R1,5-million in the winter months.
Named after the Greek symbol for efficiency, the eta Awards are hosted annually by Eskom and the Department of Energy to reward exceptional effort in efficient energy usage by individuals, students, companies and other institutions.
This year marked the 21st anniversary of the awards and saw SEM take home first place in the commercial category prize, awarded for "the application of sound energy efficiency principles for at least 12 months in the commercial sector".
"The SABC's Auckland Park complex was highly inefficient and had massive power consumption at the start of the project, an original total of around
85-million kilowatt hours a year with a maximum demand per month of 11 600 kilovolt-amperes," says Karl van Eck, regional GM at Johnson Controls Global Energy Solutions. "The predicted savings were approximately 14 million kilowatt hours per annum. The timeline for the project was five years and SEM was called in for the implementation two years into the initiative as they are our specialist partner in retrofitting of buildings for energy management.
"The need for energy savings and more efficient use of energy is a stark reality, not just in South Africa but around the world. In fact, for every kilowatt hour of electricity saved, we can save 1,4 litres of water and power stations will generate one less kilogram of carbon dioxide. This means that the SABC project prevented nearly 58 000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being generated and saved more than 80 million litres of water," he adds.
From a predicted saving of 14-million kilowatt hours a year, the actual achieved savings at the end of the project have almost 4- million kilowatt hours over that, at around 20-million, leaving the total energy consumption of the SABC building at 65-million kilowatt hours a year with the maximum demand now running at a far more manageable 8 500 kilovolt-amperes. During the three-year period since implementation the total energy saving has been almost 58-million kilowatt hours.
"After an energy audit of the site it was discovered that office air conditioning and lighting were left on after hours, that there was unnecessary over-cooling and re-heating, the economiser cycles were defective and there was excessive chilled water flow," says Rip Wyma of Shared Energy Management.
"Our strategy involved using the currently installed equipment to maximise energy efficiency, which involved a number of processes, including fixed operating hours for lighting and air-conditioning with remote after hours switching, reconfiguring the cooling and heating control, re-commissioning the economiser control and decommissioning the excess boiler capacity."
Through more intelligent use of heating and cooling as well as basic energy management solutions, the SABC was able to achieve dramatic savings.