Standard Bank Group (SBG) has taken another major step towards becoming even more energy efficient and reducing its carbon footprint. It has installed solar hybrid energy efficient water-heating systems at its head office in Johannesburg.
The new system will be used to heat 48 000 litres (20 000 litres via solar and 28 000 litres with energy efficient heat pumps) of water a day saving up to 5% of current building energy consumption. The savings in energy could be used to generate power for seven households for a year.
The system comprises 100 solar power panels covering more than 200 square metres on the roof of 6 Simmonds Street, one of the buildings that makes up its head office complex known as Standard Bank Centre.
A back-up and top-up system consisting of two heat pumps will support the solar installation for days when the sunshine is not optimal. The new system will save nearly a R1-million a year in energy costs.
This investment forms a small part of Standard Bank Group's long-term commitment to and introduction of cleaner energy solutions across the group.
Marius de la Rey, Director of Channel Development, Standard Bank Group, says: "Water heating, lighting and air-conditioning are three of the biggest energy consumers at Standard Bank. They are also the areas of energy consumption that can most easily be addressed in existing buildings.
"The challenge in implementing clean energy solutions is taking the older infrastructure in existing buildings and upgrading and converting to cleaner more efficient systems using alternative power sources where possible. We have to be more creative in reducing the energy consumption in our older assets. Standard Bank Centre is already achieving benchmark energy efficient performance."
Standard Bank Group is looking at introducing energy saving measures across the group. The pilot of the large-scale solar system, combined with the use of energy efficient heat pumps could be used in areas where energy constraints hinder new business development or the full optimisation of the properties that Standard Bank Group has in its portfolio.
"We are committed to building all of our new real estate developments to 4-star green building standards, and cater for reducing CO2 emissions, optimal energy use and savings, and the introduction of the latest green technology," says Mr de la Rey.
Standard Bank Group has also upgraded its air conditioning chillers at Standard Bank Centre in Johannesburg. Continuous energy audits are also conducted to assist with the introduction of energy efficient technology and other improvements. With the introduction of alternative energy solutions in the areas of water heating, light control and air-conditioning, Standard Bank Group has reduced its energy demand to 56 watts per square metre well below national averages.
Karin Ireton, Director of Group Sustainability, Standard Bank Group, says: "This energy efficiency project is part of Standard Bank's commitment to driving sustainability, and forms part of our contribution to making Standard Bank Group environmentally and economically efficient.
"In implementing new technologies, companies like Standard Bank can reduce the demand for fossil-fuel based energy and take pressure of the electricity grid. Energy constraints are currently a potential cap on growth within the economy and the challenge to all companies is to increase economic output with less energy."
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