Absa has become the first bank to be awarded an EPC certificate verifying its above-average performance and compliance with South Africa’s new energy performance regulations.
Every company and building owner has a role to play in South Africa’s drive to curb carbon emissions. With climate change a looming threat, energy efficiency measures must be adopted across the board – especially considering South Africa’s coal-dominant energy sector.
In December 2020, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) gazetted Regulations for the Mandatory Display and Submission of Energy Performance Certificates for Buildings. Under these regulations, buildings in South Africa must have their energy performance assessed by an accredited party, who then issues an EPC, which rates the building from A – G for energy efficiency.
At least a D-rating must be achieved, to be compliant with the minimum energy efficiency requirements contained in the national Building Regulations.
As an agency for the DMRE, the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) has been tasked with developing, hosting and maintaining the National Energy Performance Building Register in terms of the regulations.
Absa has been a pioneer in this regard, being the first bank to achieve compliance with the country’s new building energy performance regulations.
The EPC regulations apply to non-residential buildings with a net floor area of at least 2,000m2 in the private sector (schools, malls, theatres, etc.) and 1,000m2 for government buildings. For the purposes of the EPC, a building’s energy performance is measured in terms of kilowatt-hours per square metre per annum (kWh/m2/pa) of net floor area in accordance with the National EPC Standard (SANS 1544). The certificate must be issued by a SANAS accredited inspection body, in this case, EMVS.
Edwin Mavhungu, Vice President: Energy and Systems at Absa, says the recognition is further proof of Absa’s commitment to play its part in reducing carbon emissions. “We are delighted that the Absa Oude Bloemhof Building in Stellenbosch has received an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) after a comprehensive building energy performance assessment in accordance with SANS 1544.
“With a C-rating, the building performs above average and complies with the new government regulations. We will be looking to improve on this rating in the future, in line with our Road to Green strategy.”
SANEDI’s Barry Bredenkamp, General Manager Energy Efficiency & Corporate Communications explains: “Buildings have until December 2022 to comply with the new building energy efficiency regulation. Once issued, an EPC must be displayed at the building’s entrance and needs to be renewed every five years, giving building owners the opportunity to improve their energy performance during that period.”
Bidvest Facilities Management’s Executive: Energy Management and Sustainability, Onisms Manyewe says that this EPC is just one of many ways through which Bidvest Facilities Management is supporting Absa to effectively operationalise its Environmental Action Plan and achieve its 2030 Net Zero commitments. “We believe that in the fight against climate change, it is important to lead by example. The EPC regulations are a clear commitment by government to curb carbon emissions, and we support this initiative.”
Kgomotso Jaca, Energy and Green Building Specialist for Bidvest Facilities Management, who has been working closely with Energy Management and Validation Services (EMVS) in this programme, added that work will continue as finding ways to improve energy performance ratings can make a meaningful contribution towards a greener South Africa.