The University aims to improve and promote energy efficiency and conservation on its campuses and other properties. Suitable measures will be implemented to raise the awareness of staff and students of the critical need to conserve energy.

The benefits of energy management for the University include:

The Department of Facilities Management is responsible for:

  • acquisition of electricity;
  • design and construction of new facilities and maintenance of existing ones;
  • identification, development and implementation of electricity awareness programmes; and
  • making funding available to support electricity conservation measures.

The Electricity Management Plan addresses the following:

  • Energy monitoring (KVA & kWh) on the main supply points
  • The design of new buildings or refurbishment of existing ones to include systems that will reduce energy consumption

    ​In light of uncertainties affecting the supply of electricity to the national grid, the University has installed standby generators to ensure continuous electrical power and accommodate interruptions in the municipal supply to the University, and to override power losses caused by load-shedding effected by the national power utility. The invested infrastructure could be utilised to reduce the overall utilities bill by attending to the following:
  • Maximum-demand control

    With six (6) machines rated at 1MVA or higher, the University’s current overall installed capacity stands at 27 MVA. This theoretically implies that the University could control maximum demand by running some of these machines at selected time periods, thereby reducing maximum demand and the resultant monthly energy bill.

  • Reducing high-demand season peak consumption

    Besides utilising standby generators to control maximum demand, kWh cost could be reduced by running some of these machines during peak-demand periods in the high-demand season.

    Although it is usually financially disadvantageous for an entity to generate its own electricity by using standby generators, it would be advantageous for UP to do so since it would thus be able to reduce the following:
  • maximum demand
  • consumption during peak-tariff periods
  • aging of the diesel in storage tanks

Operation of plant and equipment

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) settings must be aligned with design parameters. Where air conditioning is concerned, a 2% variance shall be permissible in the ambient temperature of 23°C, which is regarded as optimal for human comfort.

A cooperative arrangement must be made with security personnel to ensure that they switch lights off after 21:00 on weekdays.

Energy conservation must be duly considered when the plant and equipment are replaced, to which end, compliance with the following shall be of prime concern:

  • Replacement of light fittings with energy-efficient equivalent equipment
  • Replacement of failed HVAC equipment with equipment supplied with inverter compressors, which are more energy efficient

Simple rules to promote energy saving:

  • Switch off lights and air conditioners when leaving the office.
  • The power settings of PCs and printers, as well as UP’s computer and IT infrastructure, will have to be reconfigured to reduce power usage.
  • Apply power saving mode and screen savers on PCs when left inoperative for periods of 15 min or more.
  • Only heat and cool venues such as lecture halls when they are in use.
  • Ensure that energy efficiency is prioritised when energy-intensive equipment is purchased.

Moving towards renewable energy

Being one of the leading academic institutions in the country, UP bears a responsibility to conserve energy. In 2017 a power purchase agreement was concluded with an independent solar energy supplier, and two plants are currently under construction.

  • The Merensky Building installation consists of 380 solar panels, which produce of 125 kilo-watts (kW) of power at peak.
  • The Technical Services Building installation consists of 487 solar panels, which produce 161 kW of power at peak.
  • The panels are pitched at 15 degrees using fixed-steel mounting structures, and are north-facing, to maximise energy production. The panels will remain stationery, ie there is no tracking or moving equipment.
  • Combined, the two systems produce a total of 484 000 kWh of energy per year.
Published by Buyi Nkonyane

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