25 July 2012 – One of Johannesburg oldest institutions, King Edward VII School (KES), has cut its electricity bill in half thanks to Solarsave, the trading arm of Industrial Plumbers. Accredited on Eskom’s rebate scheme, Solarsave installed energy efficient lights in all the school buildings and hostels, and replaced the old water heating systems with modern, electricity efficient heat.

As a result of the savings KES is already experiencing, it will recoup the capital outlay in less than 12 months. All-in-all, about 850 light fittings and 1,500 bulbs were replaced with new energy efficient versions. These are brighter, more environmentally friendly and use about 60% less electricity than the old lamps.

In addition, the new fluorescent-type globes installed as part of the project do not flicker, do not fade and will last on average twice as long as the old fluorescent lights. Down lighters that were installed should last up to 10 times longer.

When it came to modernising the hot water supply, Solarsave replaced the old boilers, which were expensive to run, with heat pumps. These, which use the heat in the ambient air to warm the water, use 50% less electricity than the old boilers (heat pumps use electricity to move the refrigerant that is continuously boiled and cooled to transfer the heat from the air to the water).

Solarsave also replaced all old worn and leaky pipes, and insulated all the main water feeder pipes to minimise heat loss. Circulating pumps ensure the hot water is immediately available throughout the hostels. This saves on water as, in the past, the boys would waste hundreds of litres waiting for the hot water to arrive.

Importantly, the capital cost of the project should be recouped in full by the electricity savings within eight to 12 months. Solarsave director, Enzio Zambetti, says that KES showed considerable foresight by adopting sustainable energy solutions now. “From a financial point-of-view, it made sense to explore ways to reduce the amount of electricity the school is using. Electricity is currently expensive, and will also increase substantially over the next few years.

“Then, the school also considered potential changes to South African law, for example, Government intends promulgating legislation banning the use of the old incandescent type of light bulb. Finally, it acknowledged that the country as a whole has to cut its use of carbon-based energy and, by opting for heat pump technology, it was playing its part.”

Solarsave supplies and installs energy efficient lighting, heat pumps, solar heating systems, water- saving shower heads, hot water radiators, general plumbing and fire sprinkler systems.