Business can use the National Energy Barometer Survey as an opportunity to calculate their energy consumption to make improvements.
This is what The Clicks Group did when they used the National Energy Barometer Survey (NEBS) as an opportunity to collate energy use information for the entry. This enabled them to see what the Group’s energy baseline was, in order to improve its performance on energy-saving projects year-on-year.
This effort awarded Clicks with the top performer in the Head Office NEBS category for the 2012 utility year.
NEBS’s focus is on new and existing buildings and whether they are occupied and operated in an energy-efficient manner.
Even old buildings can perform well with tweaks
The Clicks Group head office building in Woodstock, Cape Town has 1 200 employees that use the building. In spite of existing since 1960, the building still showcased that it can be a top-performer by ensuring efficient use. The Clicks Group head office has measured up to industry standards by achieving the top energy efficiency score in the NEBS 2012, winning this category.
“It is a challenge to implement the most appropriate equipment for your building. That’s because the energy industry is complex at the moment with energy-efficient products developing at a very fast rate. You are left not knowing which products are most effective, ” said Siglinda Losch – Sustainability Facilitator for The Clicks Group. “This way, a yearly check is done to see if the technology being implemented works and delivers the anticipated savings.”
Energy-saving initiatives benefit from employee involvement
Employee engagement contributes to the success of the energy saving initiatives at Clicks. Staff members are encouraged to save energy at home and are regularly informed about company energy-saving initiatives. The Group has an online sustainability report, where initiatives like these are communicated. Customers are also informed about these initiatives through the Clicks ClubCard Magazine whenever there is an opportunity.
“Luckily, the building was 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,” continues Losch. Some of the other savings initiatives implemented, that have delivered positive results, include fitting all equipment, like computers and printers with power-saving modes. The new bathrooms in the building are all fitted with motion sensors and LED lights. Building lights are switched off whenever there is an opportunity to do so.
A project currently being undertaken is the installation of two heat pumps to replace all the current geysers that are being removed.
Overcoming challenges by testing products in selected areas first
To overcome challenges, Clicks found it best to install products in certain areas of the business, measure the performance of the products and evaluate the savings achieved, before further deployment to the rest of the building, once they are proven to deliver financial savings.
The greatest challenge for further energy saving initiatives has been the capital expenditure needed for implementation, and this is almost a fact for most organisations. Technology is expensive and implementing great savings comes at a great cost, so measuring performance assists with justifying capital expenditure.
Contemplating the value of the exercise Losch said, “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.”
NEBS participation takes 2 minutes the register, 10 minutes to complete the whole survey, and there is no charge. This will add tremendous value to facility managers, building owners, and energy and utility manager’s challenges to monitor building performance every year against other in a similar industry.
What is the National Energy Barometer Survey?
The National Energy Barometer Survey (NEBS) is in its 5th year of benchmarking buildings in South Africa. It was developed by Energy Cybernetics, Energy Efficiency Engineering Specialists and is administered by the Energy Training Foundation (EnTF), sole training partner of the AEE in America and the training provider of the SAEE in South Africa. The ultimate objective of NEBS is to create an awareness of consumption levels and the emissions footprint for each facility, with a view to become more environmentally aware and to play a much needed role in energy conservation.
To see where your hotel, shopping centre, car dealership, airport, general office building, head office, retail store or hospital ranks, enter your building in the 2013 NEBS, logon to www.energybarometer.com.