Making energy efficiency a strategic priority for corporate South Africa

July 30th, 2015, Published in Articles: Energize


Jason Huang HR

Jason Huang

With Eskom struggling to generate enough electricity to meet the country’s energy needs and power costs steadily climbing, corporate South Africa has both the incentive and responsibility to embrace energy management as a strategic imperative.

That’s the word from Jason Huang, a director of Outreach Engineering, a youth-led, non-profit organisation that aims to bring engineering solutions to South Africa’s socioeconomic challenges. He says that companies can make a big difference as well as save money by implementing energy conservation and energy efficiency measures.

Huang says that stage one load shedding, which sheds 1000 MW, could be averted if one million households/businesses each reduce their consumption by 1000 W. A substantial portion of this reduction in energy consumption can be achieved by switching to energy efficient light bulbs and switching off geysers.

Companies should be looking at reducing energy consumption, not only to help lessen the blow of load shedding, but also because energy prices are climbing with Eskom seeking high tariff increases from the regulator.

How should businesses begin to engage in meaningful and quantifiable energy management initiatives? Huang suggests that business leaders:

  • Make energy management an operational priority and seek expertise to drive and implement better energy management policies.
  • Measure and verify energy management initiatives to ensure these are quantifiable, which may also allow the business to tap into tax incentives.
  • Should transition their businesses into green procurement practices to sustain their energy management policies.
  • Should help drive awareness programmes for employees, customers and other stakeholders.

If enough businesses take these actions, we’ll see a domino effect that helps reduce pressure on the grid and make for a greener South Africa at the same time, which could also create new jobs by creating demand for skills to drive energy management initiatives.

Outreach Engineering’s current project is the “Heal Baragwanath” project, a project designed to improve the reliability and efficiency of the main operating theatre complex of the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. It is working closely with management at the hospital to revamp its backup power system and improve energy efficiency across its infrastructure. The work will help the hospital to keep operating throughout power outages as well as improve the quality of care it offers its many poor and needy patients.

Contact Jason Huang, Outreach Engineering, Tel 011 717-7204,

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