Eskom energy efficiency awards impress

The nine winners of the prestigious Eskom eta Awards were announced last week with Eskom declaring the event as a remarkable success.

Eskom said the entrants who came from across the country are all passionate about energy efficiency and have done something remarkable to help reduce their electricity consumption. The quality of entries did not disappoint with some truly astonishing innovations designed with energy saving in mind. From a geyser that heats water using compost right through to South Africa’s first 6 Star Green Star accredited building at Vodafone head offices.


Dr Steve Lennon, Eskom Group Executive of Sustainability said “South Africa is bursting with talent and nowhere is this more evident than at the annual Eskom eta Awards. More South Africans are looking for ways to save energy. Learners want to make a difference, householders are cutting costs, and engineers and large companies are working hard to reduce their use of electricity and save vital resources.”

The Eskom eta Awards have been running since 1985 with winners receiving R30 000 each and the runners-up taking home R5 000.

The nine categories of the awards 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 8 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 their comprehensive energy saving initiatives that included fitting lighting controls right through to energy efficient lifts and escalators. Across the precinct they have managed to save 11, 261, 449 kWh of electricity or R5.6 million while reducing their 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 coveted prize for their 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 their plant.  AngloGold Ashanti was runner-up in this category.

The coveted innovation category was won by  the team at Grosskopff, Lombart, Huyberechts and Associate Architects for their innovative 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 this year and we could all take a leaf out of her book. 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. Barry has spent his whole life working in the energy and electricity sectors and he has been 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. Bredenkamp is a true energy efficiency champion who believes in the environmental and economic benefits of energy efficiency.  Andre Nel and Vivienne Walsh were runners-up.

Billy Hadlow was rewarded for his 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 cellphone charger with electricity for a period of 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 kgs of waste, while 53 473.92 kilowatt hours of energy have been saved.

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