Journey to green technology in established structures
By C Vella, SAM
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Electricity+Control, April 2013 (pages 56 – 58)
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In South Africa, there are many old style commercial buildings that were built in an era of cheap energy. Little thought was given then to the environmental impact through energy usage. Retrofitting these buildings to make them modern, energy compliant structures is ‘a journey to green’.
Why a journey? Simply put, because retrofitting old buildings takes time and effort. Many commercial and industrial organisations are aware that they have to implement some form of green technology into their existing buildings; they have to change the mindset of their employees… encourage them to think about saving electricity and reduce their carbon footprint; they need to find the budget; then schedule the time, plus choose the best solution from a myriad of products available…all claiming to be the best. It all seems overwhelming. Adding to the anxiety is the rising cost of electricity – carrot or stick?
- Making new buildings energy efficient is important, but the impact is very small compared with making existing buildings energy efficient.
- In existing buildings, start by identifying those systems which consume the most energy.
- The next, and very important, step is to get the staff to understand the issue.