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Energy efficiency training at South African airports

The Energy Training Foundation (EnTF) has presented its Energy Management System Implementation (EnMSI) training and workshop to members of the Airports Company of South Africa’s (ACSA) technical and engineering member team who have all undertaken roles and responsibilities to reduce ACSA’s energy consumption through a properly implemented energy management system.

ACSA has already embarked on a number of energy efficiency projects at the various airports under the auspices of chief engineer, Dupie du Plessis, who is based at ACSA in Port Elizabeth. Extensive lighting upgrades to LED technology at most runways of the regional airports, as well as other lighting system improvements have already delivered at least 15% of energy savings. “We are now focussing on ensuring the sustainability of energy saving initiatives which have already been done, as well as any further energy efficiency projects, by following a properly implemented energy management system in accordance with ISO50 001,” du Plessis says.

The workshop session over three days is based on the SABS/ISO50 001 Energy Management System standard. It takes the format of the EnTF’s Energy Management System Implementation (EnMSI) training course together with a consulting service delivering not only an understanding of the ISO standard and its requirements, but is coupled with a delivery module which leaves a skeleton roadmap that includes:

  • What needs to be done on the site to achieve optimal energy management.
  • Where energy can be saved.
  • Estimates of what energy savings could be expected.
  • Savings options that warrant further investigation for more accurate energy saving targets.
  • Training needs of staff and upskilling.
  • What tasks can be done in-house and what would be better outsourced.
  • Short, medium and long-term investment considerations.
  • Which technologies and retrofits need to be considered.
  • Which incentives and rebates can be pursued.
  • What is required to ensure continuous energy saving.

The in-class bill verification process highlighted the importance of understanding tariffs and giving attention to billing received from utilities to ensure energy savings are measured correctly. A downward trend in billing received does not necessarily mean an energy saving if there has been a tariff change downward, the same would apply with upward tariff adjustments where it would not necessarily mean increased energy demand. Du Plessis says, “These comparisons have prompted us to list bill verification as an opportunity to perform better energy management. We have had many ideas of energy improvements that can be made, but the site visit with the EnTF team highlighted even greater opportunities to not only save energy but improve the performance of the equipment we utilise.”

Populating the energy review information, together with the available ACSA energy data, into a plan in line with the standard has given the ACSA team a clearer picture of the energy savings possibilities and how to establish the processes and means to work towards sustainable energy efficiency improvements.

Such on-site training workshops that facilitate the development of an energy policy, action plan and a roadmap to follow allows interaction between team members responsible for the success of any energy efficiency initiatives. It breeds an equal understanding amongst team members on the energy management road ahead, and what is required to achieve the targets set by the team members themselves.

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Energy efficiency training at South African airports