With ever increasing consumption costs and a greater awareness of the impact of carbon emissions, tenants are becoming increasingly motivated to occupy buildings that are resource efficient. The problem is that Green Star SA rated buildings are hard to come by, given the relative infancy of carbon neutral building development in South Africa. As a result, landlords usually charge premium rental rates for them.
When it comes to energy management, many people are unaware that South African offices and warehouses have access to technologies that accurately measure, manage and correctly apportion energy consumption costs to respective occupants. Instead, the majority of South African landlords and management companies clumsily charge blanket pro-rata rates across entire buildings and business parks – sometimes even adding additional discretionary charges for managing this process.
To counteract this, property consultants should go the extra mile in ensuring that their clients – the prospective tenants – are well aware of the monthly consumption charges involved in any long term lease commitment. They should also make their clients aware that the cost of electricity is likely to increase significantly given the price hikes experienced over the past four years.
Andy McKay of Green Wave Automation recommends a couple of effective ways to take action and manage costs, which in turn can increase savings.
“The first step for any company is to install power meters to establish a baseline energy consumption and to trend usage,” says McKay. “By installing a ‘web based’ power metering system you are putting in place a permanent solution that allows you to monitor and improve your efficiency on an ongoing basis from any location. The solution displays usage every 30 minutes, allowing you to pinpoint areas where you consume the most and identify peak periods during the day. Not only can you log in and monitor usage, you can compare month by month or site by site, verify Eskom bills (kVA & kWh) and analyse your power quality”.
“Once consumption is profiled you can tackle areas where you can maximise savings. The degree of savings is dependent on many factors i.e. the type of building, tenant working patterns, building configuration and how efficient current equipment is. Building Management Systems (BMS) are used to bring all utilities onto one ‘easy to use’ web based platform, automating monitoring and control of air-conditioning (HVAC), lighting, UPS, generators, lifts, fire alarms, boilers, power meters etc, increasing the efficiency of your building. The system is designed to manage peak demand by turning off non-essential equipment or throttling back equipment during peak periods. Other savings are achieved by installing power factor correction, replacing inefficient lamps with efficient ones and installing occupancy sensors to control lights and air-cons according to occupation.”
Once these systems are instituted, buildings will be monitored and controlled more efficiently, which ultimately leads to lower monthly electricity bills and lower operating costs for tenants.