Eskom commends SABC on exceptional efforts to reduce electricity usage

While Eskom continues to urge customers in all sectors to reduce their electricity usage, some are taking the extra steps in ensuring not only a more stable electrical system but also the sustainability of our natural resources. “The SABC Broadcast Facilities in the Free State and Northern Cape have shown their commitment to the safekeeping of the environment by investing in various “green” energyefficient technologies.

This proves that they are serious about their global citizenship and that they are willing to make investments that will benefit all South Africans,” says Lindi Mthombeni, Eskom’s General Manager in the Free State. “We are impressed by the innovation that they have shown and hope that other businesses will follow suit.”

To reduce their carbon footprint and their electricity expenses, an initiative was started in August 2011 to create an organisation for the future by making the SABC offices in Bloemfontein and Platfontein (Northern Cape) more energy efficient. According to Refiloe Maraka, Technical Manager, it was not done as a special project. “When we replace our aging infrastructure, we go green. Green is energy efficient and saves us lots of money,” he explains.

Starting with the lighting, fluorescent fittings and tubes as well as downlights were replaced with more energy efficient ones. This resulted in an 84% saving on electricity used by lights, leading to a steep decline in money spent on electricity. A next step was to replace the 63kW boiler with a 16kW heat pump. Not only did this result in a reduction in electricity use, but the 5°C air by-product produced by the heat pump is used to cool the server room.

As air-conditioning systems are infamous electricity guzzlers, the old infrastructure was recently replaced with units utilising advanced heat pump technology. This will optimise airconditioner performance and reduce energy consumption, running cost and carbon emissions, whilst still providing a reliable service. These systems also provide absolute airconditioner control.

“Because we didn’t do everything simultaneously and since we had to replace old infrastructure anyway, the monetary investment was not so severely felt. The whole project thus far cost us R1.98 million. Our light technology – replacements led to an immediate monthly decrease of R12 000 on our electricity bill. The impact of the heat pump and air-conditioner replacement will only be seen from next month,” says Maraka. “As we continue to expand our offices, we will do it in such a way that our environmental impact is limited to the minimum.”

The SABC Broadcast Facilities in Bloemfontein and Platfontein will act as a pilot site for all SABC offices across the country as far as energy efficiency and green technology is concerned.