by Yolanda De Lange

Exxaro keen on energy survey

Benchmarking use creates awareness

Ernst Venter, executive head for growth, technology and services and Exxaro.
Exxaro's Ernst Venter.jpg

After participating in every National Energy Barometer Survey since its inception, Exxaro is for the second year running, the runner-up in the Head Office and Corporate Offices category, with winners, the Central Energy Fund (CEF) House, and in third place Anglo Gold Ashanti.

Categories assessed in the 2011 survey included head offices, hospitals, hotels, and motor car dealers, but due to non-disclosure agreements not all winners in all categories may be announced. 

When asked why Exxaro uses the National Energy Barometer Survey benchmarking adjudication process, Ernst Venter, Exxaro’s executive head for growth, technology and services, says, “It allows us to compare our building to others in the industry, and it is very encouraging to know that a 50 year old building fares well against green build buildings, and other more recently built and upgraded facilities.” 

One of the initiatives implemented by Exxaro to assist with its energy management is real-time metering. By being able to monitor energy usage in real-time, problem areas in a facility can be identified quickly, and rectified at very short notice, thereby minimising the risk of unforeseen utility charges. Geysers are also switched off when not required, thereby reducing the requirement for heating water unnecessarily. 

With over 1 000 people using the facility, energy use awareness becomes a challenge. As regularly reported in respected journals, behavioural change can deliver up to 30% of energy savings in a well-orchestrated energy management strategy.

The ‘human element’ at Exxaro is controlled using a Building Management System (BMS) which switches lights off after working hours, removing the possible cost of an employee forgetting to turn off a light when leaving the working area.

“The National Energy Barometer Survey participation has contributed to raising awareness amongst occupants of the building and serves as a motivation to continuously improve,” says Venter.

Exxaro is looking at intensifying the role of energy champions in each business unit to maintain the positive impact the awareness and savings initiatives are making. 

The Energy Barometer is a tool to encourage taking steps in the right direction and is being used by many companies to decide which buildings in their portfolios’ energy management initiatives will deliver the most significant impact, and encourages continuous improvement to maintain and improve its Barometer benchmarking status.

Venter indicated that Exxaro is striving to continuously improve and said, “the next projects that we will focus on are the replacement of lamps with more energy efficient ones, replacing inefficient chillers, and implementing free cooling where possible”.

With support from the National Energy Efficiency Agency (NEEA), the National Energy Barometer was successfully rolled out for the 2009 utility year by the developers of the barometer, Energy Cybernetics.

The Energy Barometer Survey for the utility year January to December 2011 is the third survey period since its launch in 2009, when 20 facilities participated.

Participation has grown to over 100 for the current survey.

For the 2012 Utility Year, the National Energy Barometer Survey will open in the second quarter of 2013 for buildings to enter their energy use, and have the opportunity to benchmark against others in a similar industry. 

Optimising a building envelope through standards and regulations is only a step in the right direction.

The National Energy Barometer Survey encourages companies to become aware of their energy consumption levels and to improve these in the interests of their own bottom-lines, as well as the national economy, whilst providing a platform for comparison and learning. 

Watch the relevant videos explaining the National Energy Barometer Survey on

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Issue 39