Efficient use of energy is more than just a popular practice – it’ becoming a company imperative for doing business in your industry.
South Africa generates 93% of its electricity from its own coal, making it one of the 15 largest emitters of carbon dioxide (CO2) worldwide.
“Improving energy efficiency offers benefits few can afford to ignore – job growth, reduced consumption and carbon emissions, lower operating costs, reduced dependence on foreign energy supplies, and improved balance of trade and economic growth,” says Phumulo Masualle, Premier of the Eastern Cape.
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The Department of Energy has identified the Coega Industrial Development Zone for the construction of 1000 Megawatt liquid natural gas fired power station. The project will unleash a host of opportunities for developing the gas industry in the province.
Lower operating costs make you more profitable
Many local companies are not aware of their own energy consumption, thereby inadvertently adding to grid constraints and operational expenditure, notes Alexander Haw, Massmart Group sustainability manager.
“It has never been easier to implement renewables as part of a business plan, as it is more readily available and competitively priced than ever before. Onsite solar farms and bio-gas plants are effective options for many businesses. The current drawback to this is that businesses can’t put energy back into the grid, and are therefore constrained in terms of planning these builds,” he says.
Along with reducing carbon footprints, a strategic long-term energy efficiency plan is vital to streamlining business operational costs.
Greener practices you can implement
The economical method of using wind and solar power is gaining popularity among companies that are concerned about both the environment and their bottom line. Factories and manufacturing plants, like those of Honda, have led the way by using wind turbines to power its manufacturing plants.
Apel Steel Corporation has installed enough solar panelling that generates nearly all the electricity needed by one of its manufacturing plants. Renewable energy may have initial set-up costs, but the savings are easily seen after a short period of time.
General Motors (GM) is greening differently, with a focus on waste reduction. The company aims to have 125 facilities adhering to a zero-waste mandate by 2020. “All production waste generated is reused, recycled, or used to create energy,” according to GM in a press release.
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An energy management plan aids consistency
It worked for GM, but how do you make it work in a local context?
The government gazette on the development of an Energy Efficiency Monitoring System (EEMS) proposes that certain manufacturers be required to report to the Department of Energy within 30 days of the end of each financial year on the implementation of the energy management plan. The report must at least include:
- Annual energy efficiency savings achieved
- Energy efficiency measures implemented
- Any barriers encountered in trying to achieve the performance improvement anticipated
Being environmentally conscious also means being financially savvy, which has spurred a shift towards leaner, greener manufacturing. By using greener practices, you’re not just earning praise and recognition, building sustainability too.
- Become aware of your energy consumption to avoid inadvertently adding to grid constraints and operational expenditure
- Seek alternative power sources and way to reduce your production waste
- Consistently measure your production against an EEMS