27 November 2012 – The nine winners of the Eskom eta Awards were announced on 15 November. The Eskom eta Awards have been acknowledging and rewarding good work in energy efficiency since 1985 with winners receiving R30,000 each and the runners-up taking home R5,000.

Since first being established the awards have grown and now feature nine categories. Some of these include: commercial, industrial, innovation, energy efficiency awareness and champions as well as a young designers category dedicated to unearthing youngsters with real passion for energy savings.  

The winner in the individual young designer’s category this year was 12 year old Daniel von Eschwege who designed a cost-effective solar water geyser system that can reduce a household energy bill by 40%. He hopes to produce these DIY packs and help poorer communities access hot water at an affordable price. The runners-up were Daniella Oosthuizen and Keegan Cordeiro.

The team from Bay College in Plettenberg Bay took home the top prize in the young designers group category. The group of grade eight learners looked at how to reduce electricity consumption during cooking. By comparing cooking using a microwave, a stove-top and a clay oven they found that using a clay oven is the most energy efficient method. Runners up were the Pretoria Boys high school team and the Cornwall college team.

In the residential category the City of Cape Town won for their lighting retrofit programme. The city is replacing all incandescent light bulbs in traffic lights and street lights across the city. Since 2009 when the programme began, 15,370 megawatt hours have been saved, which is the equivalent of approximately 17 million MWh a year. The runner up in this category was the Ellies renewable energy power save project.

In the commercial sector V&A Waterfront won for its comprehensive energy saving initiatives that included fitting lighting controls right through to energy efficient lifts and escalators. Across the precinct it has managed to save 11,261,449 kWh of electricity or R5.6 million while reducing its demand on the grid by 10.53%.  ABSA and Spier wine farm hotel were runners-up in this category.

In the industrial category Magnet Electrical took home the prize for its ammonia heat pump hot water system project, the first ammonia heat pump of its kind in South Africa at the time of implementation. The heat pump offered a solution for reducing the amount of power used to produce hot water that Rainbow Chicken requires for ablutions and hygiene at its plant.  AngloGold Ashanti was runner-up in this category.

The innovation category saw the team at Grosskopff, Lombart, Huyberechts and Associate Architects win this award for its design of the Vodafone Site Solution Innovation Centre. This unique building is the only 6 Star Green Star accredited building in the country and features a double glazed façade with sun-tracking blinds, a slab cooling system, cool radiant panels, 100% fresh air, rain water harvesting and the treatment of grey water (water from wash basins).

Runner-up was Frikkie Bruwer for his solar water heater for intermittent energy source that ensures a constant supply of warm water, even when there is intermittent energy supply, by using a stratification method.

Louise Williamson won the energy saving in households prize for 2012. Williamson and her family decided to go green and have been living off the grid for 56 months. The family uses solar power for cooking, powering the fridge and deepfreeze and in the four years on the farm have saved 33,908 kWh or made a saving of R20,000.  

In the energy efficiency awareness category Gareth Burley’s Green Hour radio programme took home top honours. The weekly radio programme airs on Kingfisher FM, a community radio station in Port Elizabeth. The idea behind the programme is to create awareness around energy efficiency and showcase the good news stories coming out of South Africa. The runners-up were Creatrix and the NAA-SA go2natural partnership.

The official eta Awards energy efficiency champion this year is Barry Bredenkamp. Bredenkamp has spent his whole life working in the energy and electricity sectors and was instrumental in introducing energy efficient lighting into South Africa in 2000. He also set up the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and the National Energy Efficiency Agency in South Africa in 2007. Andre Nel and Vivienne Walsh were runners-up.

In the community category the judges were impressed with two projects so have awarded two winners.Billy Hadlow was rewarded for this innovative power in a bottle project that aims to provide solar power to informal settlements. Khaya Power is a five litre plastic container converted into a solar energy power pack that can supply electricity to a house. The pack contains a 12 volt battery, a DC socket and is fitted with LED lights. Khaya Power is charged with solar energy during the day and can supply LED lights, a small TV, rodent repellent device, a DVD player, a radio and cell phone charger with electricity for eight hours.

The other joint winner was Seven Schools Club from Nelspruit. This group of seven schools included: HS Sakhile, primary school Inkhanyeti, high school Khutsalani, Phatfwa high school, Sandzile primary school and Embonisweni primary school and Tsembaletfu primary school. These schools joined forces to establish a recycling campaign. They have raised R5,380 by recycling 16,244 kg of waste, while 53,473.92 kilowatt hours of energy have been saved.