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Cala van der Westhuizen Archives - EP Home Solutions

Energy efficiency home upgrades to save you money

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments

Property24 recently asked Energy Partners Home Solutions’ Head of Marketing and Sales, Cala van der Westhuizen, a few tips on energy efficiency home upgrades.

Energy-efficiency has become a global trend and designers are constantly presenting homeowners with visions of what high-tech, energy-efficient homes should look like.

The good news is that state-of-the-art energy saving solutions are available in South Africa, and in spite of perceptions, creating ultra-modern living spaces is affordable.

Whether designing and building a new house, upgrading a regular home or renovating a ‘fixer upper’, homeowners today have an incredible opportunity to implement great energy saving solutions.

Cala van der Westhuizen, Head of Marketing and Sales at Energy Partners Home Solutions, shares tips…

New water heating solutions 

A geyser is responsible for over half of a home’s energy bill and the modern alternative is to install a heat pump, which uses about a third of the total energy.

In conjunction with a highly insulated hot water storage system, this solution cuts the home’s electricity costs by an estimated 50%.

A complete heating solution costs around R35 000 for the average home. 

 

Rethinking lighting

Highly efficient LED lighting typically requires a tenth of the energy and has a longer lifespan than regular bulbs.

Constructing a new home or making major renovations is also an opportunity to allow more natural light into the building.

The home’s orientation, larger windows, glass doors and skylights all reduce the need for unnecessarily turning lights on throughout the day.  

 

Insulate everything

Insulation is a cost-efficient measure with the biggest impact on reducing energy consumption.

Double-brick walls with insulation in between, and well-insulated ceilings and floors are vital. Double glazing also reduces heat loss through large glass surfaces like windows and sliding doors.  

Door and window frames are often overlooked sources of heat loss, and wooden frames are the most beneficial in terms of reducing heat transfer between the inside and outside of the home.

 

Heating and cooling the home

If you’re looking for a cheap way to heat up your living spaces, modern fireplaces are a great option.

Conventional underfloor heating that uses closed circuit water-based systems and heat pumps is also one of the most efficient ways to heat a well-insulated home. 

For cooling, a new inverter air-conditioner never uses more energy than required to maintain the desired temperature. 

 

Home energy models through software 

Software modelling is commonplace in the commercial sector, and recently it has become more accessible to homeowners. It takes all the energy ins and outs into account, from heat radiating through windows and ceilings to the energy required for air-conditioning and heating water.

One case study in Hermanus saw Greenplan Consultants creating a virtual model of the home incorporating every possible variable, from the benefits of installing louvres, to the amount of heat removed by natural ventilation.

In the end, the consultant was able to increase the cooling efficiency of the home’s natural ventilation by 10%, and reduce the amount of energy needed for heating by a further 10%.

 

Solar panels and architectural considerations 

A solar photovoltaic (PV) system with a basic grid tied inverter that provides around 30% of an average home’s energy costs upward of R80 000. We often advise architects and developers on the easiest way to ensure that the roof is compliant, even if a system will not be installed from the start.

For a home to be able to accommodate the best possible solar array, the roof should be able to bear an additional load of at least 15kg per square metre.

Choosing the correct service provider is important too. There are many solar companies that do not have the experience, capabilities or intent to deliver a long-term and sustainable partnership to clients.

 

Batteries and home automation 

Finally, adding a hybrid inverter and battery provides the most energy savings. The inverter enables you to integrate power from the solar PV panels, the grid and batteries.


 

Read the article on Property24 by clicking here.

Heat Pumps vs. Solar Water Heaters

By | Energy Partners Knowledge Base | No Comments

Which is best for energy-efficient water heating?

Warm water from the tap is a modern-day luxury we have come to rely on every day, but do you know how much it is costing you? If you are heating water using a conventional electric geyser, it is making a significant dent in your monthly budget. In fact, in most regular households with more than two family members, the geyser is the heaviest electricity user and can account for as much as 50% of the electricity bill.

Therefore, one of the first steps in cutting your electricity bill is replacing your regular electric geyser with an energy-efficient alternative. Heat pumps and solar water heaters are two of the best options out there and both make great energy-savvy investments. But what is the difference between them and which one is best for you? Understanding how they work and weighing up their pros and cons can help you make the right choice for your home.

 

Heat Pump

 

Heat Pump

A heat pump uses energy from the surrounding air to heat water.

How it works

Absorbs energy from the surrounding air and transfers the heat to the water (the reverse of how an air con works).

Energy use and expected savings

The energy use is only slightly affected by variations in temperature, and therefore it runs efficiently at any time of day. Requires approximately one-third of the energy of a conventional geyser to heat the same amount of water. This leads to savings of up to 70% on heating water.

Maintenance

Requires general service every 18 to 24 months.

Life expectancy

Expected to last for 5-10 years.

 

Solar Water Heater

 

Solar Water Heater

A solar water heater relies on the sun for power.

How it works

Uses energy from the sun to heat water.

Energy use and expected savings

When there is direct sunlight on the panel, no grid electricity is used. When there is no solar energy available, such as at night, this system relies on a regular geyser element to heat your water to the desired temperature. Therefore the total savings vary a lot, depending on the orientation of the panel and when you use your hot water. Typically you can expect savings of up to 45%-70% on water heating.

Maintenance

Should be inspected and serviced every 18-24 months.

Life expectancy

Expected to last for 10 years or more.

 

While it is more expensive to install a heat pump than a solar water heater, a heat pump could save you more money on electricity, which will ultimately foot the bill of the initial installation.The table and graph below weigh up the electricity savings you could expect when installing a heat pump versus a solar water heater:

 

Solar water heater and 200L tank (20 evacuated tubes) Heat pump and 300L efficient tank (3.4 kW)
Initial capital investment (incl. VAT) includes: all components and installation R 26 391 R 35 495
Estimated payback period 3.83 years 4.43 years
Savings in the first year (incl. VAT) R 6 228 R 7 326
Savings % (water heating only) 54% 70%
10-year cumulative savings R 59 660 R 62 553

Note: The figures are based on City of Cape Town tariffs and a standard household with 4 family members using an average of 52 L of warm water per person per day during summer and 85 L of warm water per person per day during winter.

 

Cumulative Savings

The graph compares how much a solar water heater and a heat pump could save a homeowner over the course of 10 years. Light Blue: Heat Pump. Dark Blue: Solar Water Heater.

Cala van der Westhuizen from Energy Partners Home Solutions says in most cases they recommend heat pumps in the Western Cape for the following reasons:

  1. It is more efficient than an electric geyser and leads to bigger electricity savings over the long term than a solar water heater.
  2. The region receives a lot less sunlight during the winter months, which means a solar geyser will use a lot more electricity to keep the water hot.  
  3. Coupling a large, highly insulated water tank with a heat pump works very well when combined with a Solar PV systemto increase your savings. How it works is that solar energy is simply absorbed and stored as heat in the tank for later use.

Van der Westhuizen concludes: “In the Western Cape, where there is not enough solar energy during the winter, heat pumps are our recommended water-heating solution. They are fairly simple to install, rely on air (you do not get a more abundant natural resource than that!) and above all, can significantly cut the cost of water heating. We do, however, believe solar water heaters can be equally efficient, depending on where you live and your unique energy requirements.”


Read about it in the press:

Business Tech – Heat pump vs solar energy – here’s what saves you the most money

SA Property News – What to consider when choosing an alternative water heating system

World Environment Day: Innovations For Greener Homes

By | Energy Partners Knowledge Base | No Comments
World Environment Day on 5 June is about encouraging worldwide awareness for the need to preserve and enhance the environment. With carbon dioxide emissions continuing to be a major environmental concern, we decided to take a look at some of the most interesting advances in green building which might just change the construction industry for the better.

 

Recycled paper bricks

 

University of Pretoria student, Elijah Djan was only 11 years old when he invented Nubrix, a brick made from waste paper. With only about 5% of South African households recycling their waste paper, the other 95% are sending theirs to the already overflowing landfills, the environmental benefits of this product are clear.

Djan is now turning Nubrix into a business. While more durability tests need to be done, he has subjected his waste-paper bricks to rain and compression tests, and built a Nubrix wall that’s still standing a year later. The hope is that in the near future there will be a very real drive towards sustainable innovation from both government and the building sector.

 

Bird-friendly glass

 

GlasPro UV glass makes man-made structures safer for birds. About two-thirds of South Africa is urbanised, and a wide variety of bird species are attempting to survive in these unnatural and dangerous new habits. Reflective, transparent materials such as windows cause hazardous collisions that kill millions of birds every year.

GlasPro has come up with a simple, yet effective innovation to keep them: bird-friendly glass coated with UV liquid that makes it visible to birds, which will substantially reduce the number of injured birds in urban areas. Human eyes cannot detect the UV coating, so it also does not reduce visibility from our perspective.

 

Buildings made of wood

 

Constructing any conventional home or commercial building requires tons of aluminium, steel, clay bricks and cement. There are many ways to marginally reduce the carbon footprint of these components but their manufacture has always been less than sustainable.

Architects in the United States are now exploring a new kind of structure built entirely from timber. Wood is by no means a new building material, but new innovations have once again made it relevant to modern building.

Researchers are combining new super-strong plywood, with precision digital CNC manufacturing processes to build timber structures that will rival conventional brick-and-mortar buildings very soon. While the costs of buildings like this are still high, one example of this is already here. An 18-story dormitory in Vancouver called Brock Commons, which finished construction late in last year, is the tallest timber structure in the world.

 

Modern twist on old practices

 

Researchers in Sweden have devised a way to adapt the so-called Trombe wall, a solar building design from the 19th century. This new take on an old idea can help to not only passively heat but also cool buildings, without increasing carbon emissions.

A Trombe wall is a passive solar building design that is built on the winter sun side of a building with a glass external layer and a high heat capacity internal layer separated by a layer of air. This serves to heat the entire building in cold months.

The new design, unveiled by researchers earlier this year, uses renewable wind and solar energy to generate both cooling and heating in buildings. The adjustments have also eliminated the original Trombe wall problem with overheating, which in turn has drastically reduced the total energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Constructing these walls is also sustainable, with prototypes already having been built with stone, wood and even wool. Researchers have hailed the new design of Trombe wall, as one of the best ways to meet the increasing energy demands of modern homes and commercial buildings without increasing carbon emissions.

Beyond installing state-of-the-art photovoltaic, water heating and lighting solutions, sustainable building practices offer some of the best ways to bring new structures ever closer to being carbon neutral.

Property 24 has featured this article. Read it here.

Offgrid solar power could save electricity costs for African households

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Offgrid solar power could help lower the energy costs for 138-million households in Africa that live on less than $2.50 a day and spend about $10-billion a year on energy-related products, including charcoal, candles and kerosene, South African Solar Photovoltaic Committee chairperson Jo Dean highlighted on Tuesday.

Addressing delegates at the Power & Electricity World Africa 2017 conference, taking place over two days in Johannesburg, she said a “vibrant offgrid solar industry” is poised to take off in Africa.

She pointed to data sourced from the World Bank and the International Renewable Energy Agency that there was potential to develop up to 1 100 GW of solar capacity in Africa.

Dean stated that in many African countries, there is a lack of funding, institutional will or technical skill to develop the energy sector.

She noted that South Africa was paving the way for renewables in Africa, with the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) having encouraged other African countries to also take steps in implementing utility scale photovoltaic plants.

Meanwhile, with the uncertainty over the continuum of the REIPPPP, there is potential for new markets and opportunities to be found in South Africa’s commercial and industrial sectors.

“During 2016, 100 MW of small-scale power plants were installed across South Africa, representing a 100% increase on the 2015 amount. One estimate is that as much as 15 GW of capacity could be installed through private power purchase agreements across South Africa within the next five to ten years.”

Dean noted that many large industrial-sized businesses are likely to develop their own projects while “the market for residential-scale installations could continue growing for longer.”

She noted, however, that there are some significant challenges that will have to be addressed. Although the growth rate might be considered impressive, the market remains small.

Meanwhile, Dean noted that, to meet rapidly growing energy demand on the continent, the energy mix would gradually progress towards greater use of offgrid household systems, minigrids and embedded generation.

“It will also lead to the emergence of more flexible, hybrid national energy systems that link grids to offgrid generation,” she said.

Read the original article at Engineering News.

Energize eMagazine feature Gauteng opening

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments

Energize eMagazine has featured the opening of the Gauteng regional office. Energize is the independent power and energy journal of Southern Africa. Read the article below.

Energy Partners Home Solutions recently introduced its newly established Gauteng Division at the 2017 Homemakers Expo in Johannesburg. The company was launched in Cape Town last year and has a proven record of reducing electricity costs for homeowners.

It has fast become one of the leading residential and small commercial energy solutions companies in the greater Western Cape, and has already started installation at a few houses in the Gauteng area. The company provides a full range of solar and energy saving solutions for the consumer market, including the Energy Partners Home Solutions ICON system, which incorporates energy efficiency, renewable generation and backup solutions to reduce a home’s reliance on the grid by more than 50% and often up to 90%.

South Africa is one of the countries with the highest potential for solar energy generation in the world, with approximately 2500 hours of sunshine per year. Yet there is still a relatively small percentage of the country’s residents who are actually taking advantage of this low-cost alternative. In addition to their range of products and solutions, the company also offers various funding options for homeowners looking to reduce their energy spend.

Find the original article here.

Smart Energy For Your Home

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments

Pioneering EPHS work published in Simply Green

Simply Green digimag recently published an article in their digital magazine about Energy Partners Home Solutions. The article provides a comprehensive and fully transparent overview of EPHS’s purpose and benefits – especially with the eye on long-term effectiveness and sustainability.

One of the fundamental benefits central to EPHS’s value offering is the level of scalability and customisation that is available to customers. This point is conveyed in the article, particularised by supporting detail to elucidate its relevance:

“Their systems are fully modular so you can start small and build up to complete independence over time.”

Our thinking, values and philosophy is pushing EPHS to fast becoming one of the leading residential and small commercial energy solutions companies in the greater Western Cape, with recent installations now stretching all the way to Gauteng. And as far as we’re concerned, this is just the start. While we’re working to make the future part of today every day, we continue to remain excited about what the future will bring for South Africa – and beyond.

In the United States, renewable energy is swiftly embracing the smart grid. Smart energy delivers approximately 55% of all new capacity added worldwide, the most ever, and total investment was nearly twice the amount for generators powered by fossil fuels. Things are changing. It’s a simple matter of time and gravity.

But if it’s an incentive for change we require, here’s an interesting data-fuelled projection. Renewable Energy World stated that, in order to meet the skyrocketing demand for electricity, Africa might have to triple our energy output by 2030. Clean energy conversions on home and business level is therefore not simply a good thing to do. It is the smart thing to do.

“We would all like to use less electricity, be less dependent on the grid and reduce our environmental impact. Energy Partners Home Solutions is helping homeowners and small business owners achieve this by combining energy efficiency and Solar PV to optimise their home energy.”

Read the full article.

How To Prepare For Increased Electricity Tariffs

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments

Cala van der Westhuizen spoke with EE Publishers in March 2017. He discussed looming increased electricity tariffs for home, and particularly business owners. South Africa is still likely to see above inflation increases in electricity prices over the next few years. It therefore makes it increasingly important to consider alternative sources of energy. Finding the light at the end of the Eskom tunnel, we discussed how to prepare for increase electricity tariffs.

Since 2008 the average tariff increase in South Africa has been around 300%. According to our research, the next eight years will likely see a year-on-year tariff increase of at least 6% to 8%.

In light of the upcoming 2017 Budget Speech, we are also waiting to find out if the government will introduce a new carbon tax. If this is the case, tariff increases could be as high as 13%.

 

There are, however, opportunities for smaller companies to reduce the impact of power costs and supply on their business. SMEs should take advantage of the incentives provided for the installation of renewable energy solutions.

SMEs need to keep in mind that they can claim a percentage of the cost of solar, and other renewable energy solutions, back from the South African Revenue Service.

 

Some banks also offer financing to their business banking clients for renewable energy solutions.

Alternatively, businesses can consider financing options from certain service providers.

 

The Home Solutions division at Energy Partners provides various financing options for renewable energy systems to SMEs with energy requirements below 50 kW. Energy Partners’ Solar Commercial division also provides a number of bespoke energy saving solutions for larger companies.

Additionally, there are pay-as-you-use and leasing service agreements available for qualifying businesses. This eliminates the upfront cost of installing renewable solutions.

 

A full solar solution can reduce the average SME’s electricity consumption by as much as 30%. This figure is of course dependent on the nature of the business. Custom heating, cooling and energy efficiency solutions have resulted up to 30% reductions in electricity use for a number of our clients.

With this in mind, it is important for business owners to do a proper cost-benefit analysis. This will ensure that they are making the correct business decisions. These should include implementing the right energy solutions and using the optimal financing vehicle to reduce their annual energy spend.

Get in touch for a free energy analysis, or to discuss any questions you might have with our energy experts.

Read the original article here.

Izindleko zikagesi zizokhuza phezulu

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments

KULINDELEKE ukuthi izindleko zikagesi zenyuke kule minyaka emihlanu ezayo, okusho ukuthi osomabhizinisi kufanele bacabange izindlela ezintsha zokonga ugesi ezinkampanini zabo.

Lezi zindaba zivele ocwaningweni lwe-Energy Partners okuyinkampani ebheka izindaba zikagesi eNingizimu Afrika.

UNkk Mila Loubser oyiHead of Engineering Intellingence kwa-Energy Partners uthe njengoba inkampani ephehla ugesi itshale imali eningi ithuthukisa ingqalazinda uzozenyusa izindleko zikagesi.

“Ucwaningo lukhomba ukuthi kusukela ngo-2008 ugesi ubunyuka ngo-300% ikakhulukazi loyo okhokhelwa ngamabhizinisi kwazise njalo ngonyaka * -Eskom ubufuna ukuwunyusa ngo-6% kuya ku-8%. Silindele ukuthi uNgqongqoshe wezeziMali uMnuz Pravin Gordhan anyuse intela yesisi esigcolisa umoya i-carbon tax ngo-13% okusho ukuthi nabakwa-Eskom bazodlulisela izindleko kosomabhizinisi nabo bonke abasebenzisa ugesi wale nkampani,” kusho uNkk Loubser.

Uthe osomabhizinisi abancane kufanele baqale manje batshale imali kwezinye izinhlobo zamandla abalule kuzo ilanga, amanzi nomoya.

“Osomabhizinisi kufanele basebenzise ugesi ohlanzekile welanga, owomoya nophehlwa emanzini ngoba awunazo izindleko eziphezulu. Lokhu kuzokwenza ukuthi noma i-Eskom enyusa ugesi bangashayeki osomabhizinisi abancane,” kusho uNkk Loubser.

UNksz Cala van der Westhuizen okhulumela i-Energy Partners Home Solutions uthe osomabhizinisi abancane kufanele bakhumbule ukuthi uhulumeni unezinhlelo zokubanika isaphulelo uma besebenzisa ugesi ohlanzekile.

Uveze ukuthi namabhange anoxhaso alukhiphayo olwenzelwe osomabhizinisi abasebenzisa ugesi ohlanzekile.

Uthe ucwaningo lwakwa-Energy Partners olwenziwe emabhizinisi amancane luveza ukuthi ukusebenzisa ugesi welanga kwehlisa izindleko ngo-30% ongasetshenziswa ukwenza ezinye izidingo.

SMEs Increased Electricity Tariffs Looming

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments
Energy Partners spoke to HR Future about SMEs’ increased electricity electricity tariffs. The article features Mila Loubser (Head of Engineering Intelligence) and Cala van der Westhuizen (Spokesperson at Energy Partners.)
South Africa is still likely to see above inflation increases in electricity prices over the next few years, making it increasingly important for business owners to consider alternative sources of energy.

The large investments Eskom is currently making in infrastructure are likely to affect energy tariffs in the near future.

Since 2008 the average electricity tariffs in South Africa have increased by around 300%. According to our research, the next eight years will likely see a year-on-year tariff increase of at least 6% to 8%. In light of the upcoming 2017 Budget Speech, we are also waiting to find out if the government will introduce a new carbon tax. If this is the case, tariff increases could be as high as 13%.

SMEs should take advantage of the incentives provided for the installation of renewable energy solutions.

SMEs need to keep in mind that they can claim a percentage of the cost of solar and other renewable energy solutions back from SARS. Some banks also offer financing to their business banking clients for renewable energy solutions.

There are a number of benefits to installing solar energy solutions in small businesses, all of which contribute to reducing operating costs and downtime in the event of power outages.

A full solar solution can reduce the average SME’s electricity consumption by as much as 30%.

Reliability of energy supply is vital for SMEs. With this in mind, it is important for business owners to do a proper cost-benefit analysis to ensure that they are making the correct decisions, implementing the right energy solutions and using the optimal financing vehicle to reduce their annual energy spend.


Read the full article here.

Small businesses should consider renewable energy

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments

On December 30, 2017, Fin24 released an article featuring Mila Loubser, our head of Engineering Intelligence, and Cala van der Westhuizen, our Home Solutions marketing manager. The article discusses why small businesses should consider renewable energy.

Massive above-inflation tariff increases

The next eight years will likely see an above-inflation year-on-year electricity tariff increase of at least 6% to 8%.

The large investments Eskom is currently making in infrastructure are likely to affect energy tariffs in the near future. This will make it increasingly important for business owners to consider alternative sources of energy.

Since 2008 the average tariff increase in South Africa has been around 300%.

Possible carbon tax to be introduced

In light of the upcoming 2017 Budget Speech, we are also waiting to find out if the government will introduce a new carbon tax. If this is the case, tariff increases could be as high as 13%.

This trend will have the largest impact on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

As we have seen in previous years, energy tariff hikes and other power related issues such as load shedding, had massive impacts on the operating costs and the already low profit margins of SMEs. There are, however, opportunities for smaller companies to reduce the impact of power costs and supply on their business.

SMEs should take advantage of the incentives provided for the installation of renewable energy solutions.

Renewable = Tax exemptions

SMEs need to keep in mind that they can claim a percentage of the cost of solar and other renewable energy solutions back from SARS. Some banks also offer financing to their business banking clients for renewable energy solutions.

Small businesses should consider renewable energy and also consider financing options from certain service providers. There are a number of benefits to installing solar energy solutions in small businesses. All of these benefits contribute to reducing operating costs and downtime in the event of power outages.


 

 

Read the full article here.