The City of Cape Town is proud to announce that it has received Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for three of its municipal buildings.
We can only manage what we measure, so EPCs are a critical first step to reducing our energy use. The City is the first in South Africa to achieve this feat. This is good news for customers as more resource efficient facilities make service delivery more cost effective.
In addition, energy use in transport and the built environment are the main contributors to harmful emissions that are causing climate change.
It is important that the City leads by example by taking climate action as it will take a team effort to successfully tackle climate change. We need to clean up the activities, fuels, materials and waste products that cause emissions, while making sure we meet our essential human needs and grow the green economy.
The three City buildings that have received energy performance grading are:
- A municipal office block at 44 Wale Street in the Cape Town CBD: Grade C
- The Omni Forum municipal office block in Kuils River with a photovoltaic system: Grade B
- The Bellville Civic Centre on Voortrekker Road, which is a multi-purpose building providing office and community recreational facilities: Grade B
‘Apart from being the first municipality in South Africa to achieve this, these City facilities are also the first non-school government buildings to receive certificates. Energy Performance Certificates indicate the amount of energy used in a building in kilowatt hour per square meter per year (kWh/m2/annum). It is then measured against a nationally regulated benchmark. This allows building owners to not only know how much energy their building uses, but also to compare this performance against other buildings of a similar type.
‘Establishing this energy baseline is the first step to identifying how energy performance can be improved; leading to cost savings and a reduction of harmful carbon emissions associated with a building’s operation. It is therefore a valuable step towards achieving the Net Zero Carbon Municipal Buildings Target by 2030 and the broader city-wide ambition to be Carbon Neutral by 2050.
‘Successful climate action is to the benefit of our communities, our health and personal wellbeing. We encourage all residents, organisations, businesses and stakeholders to join the movement for climate action by taking steps in our operations and daily lives to reduce harmful emissions. Small actions can lead to big results. The City’s climate change response and resilience campaign, Let’s ACT. For a Stronger Cape Town aims to encourage residents, communities, businesses and organisations to take urgent climate action,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change, Councillor Phindile Maxiti.
National Government gazetted regulations on 8 December 2021 requiring all government buildings over 1 000 m2 within specific occupancy classes to publicly display an EPC within two years. The City has since introduced the EPC Compliance Initiative to ensure the implementation of these regulations, while also using this as an opportunity to bolster their building energy data collection systems through our state-of-the-art SmartFacility® platform.
With over 100 municipal buildings requiring an EPC in the Cape Town metro the EPC Compliance Initiative was designed to enhance collaboration across City departments and to reduce the time and cost associated with compliance. It is also important that the City walks the talk and helps to motivate all building owners to enhance energy efficiency. This two-part process provides an opportunity to test the methodology for EPC completion and to bring this learning in to the larger compliance process, while internal data collection continues.
Actions residents can take in their homes/workplaces:
- Start or support a neighbourhood food garden.
- Reduce water usage in the home.
- Change the light bulbs in the home to more energy efficient ones.
- Switch off non-essential lights.
- Buy energy efficient appliances.
- Reduce, re-use and recycle, including organic waste through home composting.
- Walk or cycle to the local shop.
- Invest in a solar PV system or a solar water heater and also save on electricity bills.
- Plant indigenous water-wise plants and trees in the garden.
- Teach children about living more sustainably.
- Investigate how their community, neighbourhood watch and church can get involved in climate and community action to make us all, and our city, more resilient.
- Empower colleagues with knowledge about sustainability and practical solutions in the office such as reducing paper printing.
- Buy sustainably produced and organic food where possible. Let their local shops know that they demand more sustainable products.
Tackling climate change
In support of the growing global momentum to tackle climate change, Cape Town, along with cities in South Africa and worldwide, has committed to working to achieve carbon neutrality and climate resilience by 2050. Importantly, reducing global warming is key. These necessary targets can only be reached through significant transitions in urban form, energy sources, transportation and resource efficiency.
Carbon neutrality means introducing new technologies to clean up the fuels and activities that cause greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, while enhancing our social, economic and environmental goals. Read more about the City’s Carbon Neutral 2050 commitment.
The City has in place a range of programmes that support climate change adaptation, mitigation and climate resilience, and is working towards significantly growing these.
In the adaptation and resilience work area, projects include:
- developing our water resilience
- conserving our biodiversity and protecting coastal areas
- enabling appropriate nodal development through the adoption of a coastal urban edge
To reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, our mitigation efforts include:
- driving energy efficiency in our own municipal operations
- shaping regulatory and incentive mechanisms to support net zero carbon buildings
- developing our own clean energy generation
- procuring energy from Independent Power Producers (IPPs)
- enabling small scale embedded generation (SSEG)
- waste reduction
- building an efficient transport network
Over the last 10 years, the City of Cape Town’s energy efficiency in the municipal operations programme has saved over 231 GWh of electricity. This is enough electricity to power 35 clinics over 10 years and translates into 229 035 tons of avoided carbon emissions.