The Admin B building at Stellenbosch University (SU), which houses the vice chancellor and executive team, received the first-ever Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for a building in South Africa, in recognition of its commitment to energy efficiency.
Bluedust Engineering Solutions, Stellenbosch University’s energy management consultants, were instrumental in helping SU to achieve its EPC. The EPC was issued by Energy Management and Verification Services (EMVS), the first inspection body accredited by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), to assess and issue an EPC rating for eligible South African buildings.
The South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) believes that the issuing of the first-ever EPC for a building in South Africa recently is a landmark achievement that will encourage energy efficiency across the board. According to the International Energy Agency, buildings account for approximately 30% of global energy consumption and 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions. These figures could easily grow in Africa – and particularly in South Africa – due to increasing urbanisation.
Background to EPCs
In December last year, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) passed into law a set of “Regulations for the Mandatory Display and Submission of Energy Performance Certificates for Buildings”.
EPCs are recorded by the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) which is an agency of the DMRE. SANEDI is specifically tasked with hosting and maintaining a national building energy performance register, to keep track of progress towards the achievement of the goals and targets set out in the EPC regulations.
EPCs rate buildings’ energy performance from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient and G the worst, and D being the mid-point when benchmarking against the average figures quoted in the national South African Building Standard SANS 10400-XA.
For the purposes of the EPC, a building’s energy performance is measured in terms of kilowatt hours per square metre per annum (kWh/m2/pa) of net floor area in accordance with the National EPC Standard, (SANS 1544).
Barry Bredenkamp, SANEDI’s general manager for Energy Efficiency & Corporate Communications, explains: “Buildings must try and achieve at least a D-rating which is on par with the national benchmark. Their EPC must be displayed at the building entrance, no matter what their rating, in order to be compliant with the regulations.”
The regulations apply to non-residential buildings (specific occupancy classes) with a net floor area of at least 2 000m2 in the private sector, and 1000m2 for buildings owned, operated or occupied by an organ of state.”
Property owners and government entities have until 7 December 2022 to ensure that their buildings adhere to the regulations. Penalties for non-compliance have not yet been stipulated.