Energy efficiency in an old building
I was asked to do an energy audit for an old building in Durban and the client asked me to look primarily the chiller air-conditioning system as they believed that this old unit would be where they would save the most money. My team and I went to site and investigated and proposed that the building would benefit from savings….in the millions of Rands!
We went to the roof to look at the chiller and did some data logging to see what the consumption was like. The pumps were already on variable speed drives so there was little we could do there and we looked at the old compressors and their efficiency rating to find that we could help. However once we stated looking at the cost to replace the system the returns on the capital investment was over ten year.
From here we went through the building and this is where we got very excited. The tenants of the building paid a per square meter costs including electricity so saving electricity costs would be a direct saving for the client. What we found was a massive amount of five foot and four foot T8 fluorescent tubes. There lights were very efficient in their day but this technology is now out dated and costly to run. Not just that you have to ensure that when they are replaced that you get them to a hazard site as they are full with mercury. We found a few 500W security lights outside and other little fluorescent lights in the stairwells. Every floor had a kitchen and between every two floors there was a 150 L geysers supplying the basins only.
What we proposed was to replace all the fluorescent and security lights with LED and once we did the full calculation the savings on electricity would be huge. We double checked the numbers as the finding were almost too good to be true. The entire project has an 8.2 month return on capital investment making the project a no brainer. We did the math on if we had to finance the project as we were unsure of the cash flow. We put a rent to own structure in place as it is off balance sheet as this would not hurt their cash flow as we know that they are in the middle of installing new elevators. The reality in this calculation showed the client that we would save them R56700 and the monthly payment to us was R15, 600.00 leaving a positive balance of R40, 100.00 Over the 36 month term we would make the building more profitable by R1, 653,000. Who can throw away this amount of money every month? Well we are about to present these findings to our client and believe we are on the verge of making another business more profitable…in fact with the reduction of carbon emissions of 518 tons in 36 months they are actually getting paid to do the right thing…
If you have a building and are sick of the rising costs of electricity I will offer you a free audit either onsite or by liaising with your maintenance manager. Go on give it a try and see how much you can be paid to reduce your carbon foot print.
This article was written by Derek De Bres, Firefly’s founder and MD