ENVIRONMENT: Green ‘Tipping’ Point Reached in SA
Recent Gauteng Business News
South African businesses lag their international counterparts in terms of turning their buildings 'green' but a tipping point has been reached – going green is today driven by a convincing mix of financial imperatives, adoption of triple bottom line principles and moral conscience. Being late to migrate to greener practices does have some advantages, however.
Says Philip Gregory, Senior Regional Executive - Middle East and Africa at Johnson Controls' Global WorkPlace Solutions: "There are proven methods, approaches and practices to lean on, and demonstrable business benefits that will allow executives to make a strong business case in terms of joining the green building revolution."
Possibly the most important considerations, however, are: understanding your status, assessing long and short-term interventions, being able to measure your progress, and ensuring you have the buy-in from staff.
Says Gregory: "Going green is more complex than just changing the light bulbs. A formal analysis of your situation is possibly the most important step. Get professional advice that the service provider is willing to stand by. If you are going to invest, you need guarantees in terms of savings and you need to know how to measure those savings."
Says Karl van Eck, Africa Regional General Manager for Johnson Controls newly formed Global Energy Solutions division, "The first step is to examine your building's equipment and operations to determine how your building consumes energy, then identify opportunities to eliminate waste and increase efficiency and develop a program to seize those opportunities."
Typical improvements include enhancements to heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, lighting and electrical systems, control systems, motors and pumps, and eliminating leaks and waste. "For example," notes van Eck, "most fan systems are oversized by 60% while chillers are often 50-200% oversized." Opportunities include upgrading or replacing inefficient equipment, installing high-efficiency lighting, and installing variable speed drive chillers that operate up to 30 percent more efficiently than the industry average, and geothermal heat pumps that heat and cool buildings more efficiently than conventional HVAC systems. Renewable energy technologies, such as photovoltaic (PV) solar panels can
reduce your utility bills while providing clean, sustainable energy. Deploying a building management system, which controls and integrates key mechanical and electrical building systems - HVAC, lighting, security, fire and safety - can help you optimise energy and operational efficiency, comfort and safety. "There are a number of ways to make your projects affordable," notes van Eck. "For example, performance contracting is a way to fund improvements by using the energy and operational savings to offset the project costs."
Johnson Controls does offer this option, funding the investment necessary to achieve savings, then recouping the investment from an agreed percentage of the savings. "We are fully invested in our clients' success so we provide ongoing support to help identify additional savings opportunities and educate occupants on what they can do to conserve energy and water," he notes.
SABC goes green
A good local example of performance contracting is the energy saving being achieved by SABC on the back of a retrofit by Johnson Controls. The broadcaster implemented a five-year energy management project in 2005 that, three years into the initiative, delivered operational savings of over R500 000 a month. In 2007, 23% energy savings were measured. In May 2010, savings per month are at 5 281 738 kWhr, equating to approximately R900 000,00 per month.
Explains Bruce Phipson, engineering manager at SABC: "In 2005, the SABC took a strategic decision to reduce its energy consumption. At the time, our electricity usage accounted for 25% of our operational costs. We considered a number of alternatives but selected Johnson Controls' proposal for its depth and breadth of insight into our operations, their familiarity with our systems and challenges, and the financial model they proposed."
The retrofit, which included the refurbishment of plant equipment, (AHU and chiller optimisation and scheduling, and the addition of variable speed drives on chillers and pumps) the modernisation of approaches to energy usage (lighting optimisation and scheduling) and the adaptation of control
processes, cost R 3,5m.
Empire State Building saves 38% more Another example of how planning and forethought can deliver significant green benefit is the retrofit that was done at the Empire State Building. Explains Gregory: "The goal of the project is to make the Empire State Building about 40 percent more energy efficient and significantly reduce carbon emissions while providing an economic justification through return on investment. Johnson Controls, as the energy services company, is executing a broad range of renovations and retrofits to achieve these goals.
These improvements include refurbishing 6,500 windows with new components to reduce the summer cooling load and winter heat loss; adding insulation behind radiators to reduce winter heat loss and summer heat gain; upgrading tenant and common area lighting with controls and sensors to lower electricity costs and cooling loads; retrofitting chiller plants to improve efficiency; introducing individualized Web-based power usage systems so tenants can manage their power consumption more efficiently; installing of one of the world's largest digitally controlled wireless networks, enabling 24x7 monitoring and control of every steam valve, pump, louver, fan and other elements of the building's HVAC system; and integrating the Johnson Controls Metasys building management system to monitor and optimize HVAC, lighting, and other building systems.
To help ensure these efforts achieve the project's goals, Johnson Controls and the Empire State Building's owners have entered into a performance contract which guarantees the projected energy savings over the life of the project. Says Gregory: "When the project is complete in 2013, the Empire State Building will be more than 38 percent more energy efficient, placing it among the top 10 percent of all office buildings in the United States for energy efficiency of any age. These improvements will reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years.
The building owners calculate their energy savings to be $4.4 million a year with payback on their incremental investment in just three years. After that, savings will continue to flow right to their bottom line, year after year, making the building more profitable.
Concludes van Eck: "Buildings are both a significant cause of and a potential solution to climate change and energy insecurity. The goal for any building owner or occupant should be to start now to make a difference - every tiny bit helps, and it begins with increased awareness. Buildings that work benefit owners, occupants, and their communities. They operate efficiently and profitably and provide comfortable, safe living and work
spaces - minimising the negative impact on the environment. .
Business News Sector Tags: Business| Environment|