by Braam Dalgleish

National Energy Barometer

Raising the bar: N1 City Mall voted most energy efficient

Energy efficient shopping on the rise.
Barometer.jpg
Setting the benchmark in energy efficiency for shopping centres is N1 City Mall – the winner of the Shopping Centre Category in the National Energy Barometer Survey. After hearing about the initiative from one of the inaugural award participants, the management team took the decision to enter the building into the initiative, with the main aim of receiving a clear indication of how the N1 City shopping centre benchmarked within its relevant retail sector.

With the mall having opened for trade in 1990, the age of the building posed challenges to energy efficiency since many other pressing matters had to be attended to as well. Another challenge management faced was sourcing the correct energy services company (ESCo) to run with the various funding projects.As the savings in energy costs are often used to pay back the capital investment of the project over a five- to 20-year period,or reinvested into the building to allow for capital upgrades that may otherwise be unfeasible, the management team realised the importance of selecting the proper ESCo if the project were to eventually provide returns on investment.

Implementing technologies
Identifying the best suited technologies for this specific building formed a fairly daunting task for the Mall’s management team. Some of these included the spraying of the centre’s roof with heat-resistant paint to minimise heat penetration into the centre, and the installation of two brand-new chillers in order to achieve substantial electricity savings. Further to this, cooling towers and water reservoirs were installed to help maximise the centre’s energy efficiency. Thanks to these developments, water is now cooled overnight, then stored in the reservoirs. This cold water is then pumped into the air-conditioning system, cooling the air which, in turn, is distributed throughout the mall.Real-time metering information technologies installed have enabled more effective management of usage trends with the smart metering platform that allows remote real-time metering.This enables immediate action when matters go wrong, for instance a load fluctuation or a failed power factor unit. Thus, by being proactive and addressing the matter immediately, efficient usage can be ensured, which results in savings.

Employee involvement
All employees, operations managers and staff at the centre are fully aware of the energy-saving initiatives and are actively involved in implementing these in day-to-day operations. The management team believes this policy of involvement has been the key to its success in reducing utility costs, resulting in lowered expenditure and improving the company’s bottom line.

A new benchmark
The National Energy Barometer Survey is based on international methodology standards, specifically developed for South African conditions: the methodology, models, and scientific and mathematical logic behind it have been applied and adapted for local use. Because buildings vary greatly in size, location, climatic conditions, type of use and service delivery, among others, this is all evaluated and normalised for each industry.

For more information contact Braam Dalgiesh:
braam@energycybernetics.com or telephone 018 297-3460.
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