17 October 2013 – Kia and Hyundia have opted for energy efficient building technologies in South Africa. In the case of the Kia flagship dealership in Weltevreden Park, Gauteng, the company opted for total reliance on solar power, whereas the Hyundai Automotive headquarters in Bedfordview, Gauteng, focused on cost-effective design that would meet the requirements of a 4-Star Green Star SA – Office Design v1 rating.

Started in January 2012 and completed in February 2013, the solar power Kia dealership project is the first eco-friendly, solar powered dealership for Kia Motors South Africa. Aurecon was responsible for the full scope of electrical consulting services (inception, concepts and viability), design development and documentation, procurement, contract administration and inspection, as well as close-out.

The consideration of a renewable energy concept for a 3,000 square metre multi-function building inevitably involves debating the virtues of a grid-tie inverter (GTI) system versus an off-grid system. This is influenced by the life-cycle costs of large battery backups and the precarious state of the country’s electrical power supply. To meet the client’s requirement for total reliance on solar energy, Aurecon specified an innovative combination of a GTI and an off-grid system that is the largest of its kind in the local motor industry.

A significant design challenge was to size the two systems and optimise them according to the building’s anticipated electrical load. To minimise the costs of the off-grid solar power system, especially the bank of batteries, the electrical design of the building had to be as energy efficient as possible.

Aurecon’s computer modelling expertise and experience in designing many of the country’s first Green Star rated buildings enabled the team to accurately calculate the future building load. This was followed by advanced solar simulations to predict the yield of the envisaged solar power system. Together with a water collection and recycling package, these aspects were integrated into an electrical system and solar power design that enables the motor dealership to be fully operational and sustainable from solar power.

The optimised solar panel system generates a maximum daily output of close to 70 kW. This is split between four inverters to produce three-phase, 50 Hertz, 230 V electricity that is directly usable by the standard electrical demand circuits of the building. Surplus power first charges the battery backup units and is then transferred to the grid. Achieving this required a combination of energy efficient equipment initiatives and client training in best practice efficient energy management.

Another unique feature was customising the system and yield control to maximise the savings achievable with the specific municipal electricity tariff structure.

“It posed a number of design challenges and demanded custom-made solutions from the equipment manufacturers. The benefit for the client is a saving in electricity charges of R260,000 per annum and a carbon saving of 117 tonnes per annum.”

Meanwhile, Hyundai Automotive South Africa consolidated several departments in an impressive new 10,000 square metre building that was constructed in two integrated phases. The Phase 1 structure was designed as an attractive, LED-lit work environment for approximately 200 employees, while Phase 2 included a training facility with a hands-on training vehicle workshop and conference centre that features a large auditorium.

Both phases managed to achieve a 4-Star Green Star SA – Office Design v1 rating, with Aurecon responsible for structural, electrical and electronic, HVAC, and wet services, as well as environmentally sustainable design and site supervision.

The building includes impressive sustainable design features such as a sophisticated energy efficient electrical installation, use of lower carbon footprint materials, solar water heating, water usage efficient systems and waste management.

Aurecon has designed an electrical and electronic system that, on a limited budget, meets the Green Building Council of South Africa’s (GBCSA) requirements, as well as the new building requirements of SANS 10400 XA+A. “Meeting the design requirements for a Green Star rating and an exceptional aesthetic appearance, while staying within a tight budget, was an interesting challenge,” comments Erhardt Untiedt, Aurecon building and electrical technician. “We worked closely with the architect and electrical contractor to obtain energy efficient lighting and innovative HVAC management systems.”