Tag

save energy Archives - EP Home Solutions

Energy saving technologies will help consumers prepare for massive electricity price hikes in 2018

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments

ePorperty News has receintly published this article on energy saving technologies that will help consumers prepare for upcoming electricity price hikes.

 

The latest ruling by the Constitutional Court, allowing Eskom to retrospectively ask the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) to claw back additional tariffs from consumers could lead to further hikes in the price of electricity for South Africans.

However there is hope for homeowners to considerably reduce the impact of future increases.

This according to Cala van der Westhuizen Head of Marketing and Sales at Energy Partners Home Solutions, a division of Energy Partners, and part of the PSG group of companies, who says this latest development is expected to place consumers under even more financial pressure.

“The good news is that alternative energy generation has never been more affordable and accessible to homeowners.”

According to Van der Westhuizen, property owners can reduce their electricity costs by as much as 80% with the right combination of energy saving technologies.

“Homeowners can use their own discretion as to how much they want to save and invest in energy efficiency, but most will find that even small changes could make a noticeable difference.”

Van der Westhuizen points to the available technologies that could offer homeowners the biggest long term cost savings.

 

What homeowners need to install

 

Van der Westhuizen says that replacing the home’s light bulbs with energy efficient lighting is the first place to start. “After that, replacing your home’s geyser with a heat pump, and a highly insulated hot water storage system, cuts the home’s electricity costs by an estimated 50%. The complete heating solution costs around R35, 000 for the average home.”

Next, he says that a solar photovoltaic (PV) system can provide up to 30% of an average home’s energy. “While this type of system costs upward of R80 000, it is hugely beneficial in the long term and must be viewed as an investment. Before embarking on this, it is important to understand whether the home’s rooftop has been designed to accommodate the optimal number of panels.”

Lastly, homeowners can choose a completely integrated system, according to Van der Westhuizen. “A hybrid inverter and battery, such as Energy Partners’ own ICON Home Energy Hub, enables property owners to integrate power from their solar PV panels, the national grid and batteries. It also incorporates a mobile app to track energy usage and savings in real time.”

 

Funding options for home generation

 

Van der Westhuizen also points out that while the capital required for home generation has decreased substantially in recent years, the upfront cost of a new system can still be prohibitively expensive for many homeowners.

Energy Partners took this into account when we were looking into the affordability of our ICON Energy Hub, which is an all-in-one solution for storing and using solar energy in the home, he states. “As a result, Energy Partners developed its own financing options for the system.”

Energy Partners is an approved credit provider under the National Credit Act (NCA) and offer the financing for homeowners, he says. “Our standard terms are prime + 2.5%, financed over five years, with a 10% upfront deposit. We have also developed a long term lease model, where the client can simply lease the system from us instead of having to pay for it upfront.”

Energy Partners recently launched its Smart Living Solutions initiative in partnership with Nedbank this year. This enables qualifying Nedbank clients to invest in energy saving products for their homes as part of their existing home loans.

“Alternative energy has become a good long-term investment with great financial benefits, and innovative financing options have made this option available to even more homeowners,” Van der Westhuizen concludes.

Please click here to read the original article.

7 ways SMEs can beat the rising cost of electricity

By | Energy Partners Knowledge Base | No Comments
Electricity is a basic, but vital operational resource for any organisation. Unfortunately, it is an increasingly costly commodity that is putting a lot of financial strain on businesses, especially SMEs. Over the next eight years, South Africa is likely to experience above-inflation hikes in electricity tariffs of as much as 6% to 8%. This could even reach as high as 13%, if government introduces their planned carbon tax.

 

Electricity Prices

Figure 1: The graph shows the growing average cost of electricity (cents p/kWh) from 2006 until 2017/2018. Source: Numsa

If you are an SME owner you are most likely experiencing the impact of growing electricity prices on your profit margins and operating costs. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Because you run a smaller operation, it is much easier to manage your energy spend. Here are seven tips to help you beat the rising cost of electricity:

 

1.  Energy-efficient lighting

 

Lightbulb

Replacing your business’ regular light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs is a simple, cost-effective way to minimise your electricity usage.

 

A business that keeps regular office hours operates for at least 40 hours a week. Considering that most offices keep their lights on during that time, and even after hours, it is no wonder that lighting accounts for most of the electricity used in many businesses.

 

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to minimise your business’ electricity usage, is replacing regular light bulbs with energy-efficient LED units. They use 90% less electricity than standard light bulbs and because they have a longer lifespan, your business’ lighting will require less frequent maintenance. But it is important to note that merely replacing the light bulbs will not guarantee the maximum savings due to the transformers used in the older fittings.

 

Using natural light to your advantage is another simple way to save on electricity: Open the blinds more often to lighten the workplace, consider installing a skylight or paint the office walls in lighter tones that automatically brighten indoor spaces.

 

2.  Switch off and unplug

 

Remind your employees to switch off all the lights and electrical equipment at the end of the day. Place small posters or stickers next to light switches to remind staff about this energy-saving rule, and even introduce a small fine for those who forget: For example, if the last person to leave the office neglects to switch off the air conditioner, he or she must buy a round of coffees for everyone in the office.

 

Many people do not realise that electronics still use power even when they are turned off. You might be surprised to hear that equipment that is still plugged into the wall socket can “leak” up to 0.05 kWh, which is the equivalent of about R0.05 to R0.10 worth of electricity every hour. While it does not seem like a lot, it will add up, especially if you have multiple appliances plugged in at the same time. To put this into perspective: 10 PCs plugged in overnight will “leak” around R10’s worth of electricity per week and as much as R50 during weekends, which add up to about R400 at the end of the month. It is therefore a good idea to unplug everything in your office before you leave for the day, or at least at the start of a weekend or holiday.

 

3.  Introduce work-from-home days

 

Work from home

Allowing your staff to work from home on certain days will save your business electricity.

Give your business an energy break and your employees a reason to smile by allowing staff to work from home on certain days. Thanks to technology such as Skype, email and safe network connections, this will not disrupt your business, but rather amount to significant electricity savings in the long run.

 

4.  Take charge of temperature control

 

A business’ productivity relies on the comfort and happiness of its employees, which is why air conditioners have become a workplace essential in our exceptionally warm summers. They are, however, very heavy electricity users. The cooler the setting, the more electricity they use. That is why it is a good idea to switch on the air conditioner early in the day, on a milder setting that gradually cools down the office as the day gets warmer. This is much more efficient than trying to quickly cool down an area during the hottest time of the day by blasting the air conditioner at its maximum setting.

 

If you are located on the ground floor, consider planting deciduous trees outside your windows, which will provide shade during summer. And, to avoid the excessive use of heaters or the air conditioner on a warm setting during winter, keep the heat inside by ensuring your office’s doors and windows seal properly.

 

5.  Rethink the office kitchen

 

The office kitchen is a great place for saving electricity. Because an SME has fewer staff members, a smaller fridge that uses less electricity might be sufficient, while a hot water urn is a good energy-efficient alternative to a regular kettle. Also, replace the microwave and toaster with newer, more energy-efficient models that might be more expensive to purchase, but will help your business save money on electricity over time.

 

6.  Get your staff on board

 

Energy Smart

Encourage your employees to become energy conscious.

 

7.  Go solar

 

Utilising the sun’s energy to power your business will help you significantly reduce its monthly electricity bill. According to Cala van der Westhuizen from Energy Partners: “Depending on the nature of the business, one of our customised solar solutions could help cut an SME’s electricity bill by as much as 30%.”

 

On top of that, SARS also offers certain tax concession for businesses that go solar. A business can deduct the 14% VAT portion off the cost of the solar system, as well as deduct the full cost of the installation of a solar energy solution from their business income tax in the first year. This benefit effectively means that your system is discounted at another 28% through the saving in tax.

 

While many SME owners might be scared off by the initial cost of installing solar, it is true that a state-of-the-art system will pay for itself with what it saves on electricity over time. “The repayment term of a solar PV system for a commercial installation is close to around four years, depending on certain factors like self-consumption and the tariff structure. With solar panels that have a 25-year production warranty, it’s very much like buying 25 years’ prepaid electricity at five years’ cost,” says Van der Westhuizen.

 

Energy Partners Home Solutions also offer various financing options for SMEs that do not have the capex available to purchase the system outright. According to Van der Westhuizen: “As a registered financial services provider, many of our clients purchase a system that is financed by us and which they can easily pay off out of the operational budgets of their businesses. In certain cases, we can even offer a Performance Lease Agreement, which allows for the installation of the system at a fraction of the cost.”

Offgrid solar power could save electricity costs for African households

By | Articles | No Comments

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.

Five fantastic earth-saving innovations

By | Energy Partners Knowledge Base | No Comments

Every year on 22 April, we join more than 192 countries in celebrating Earth Day. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on how we can look after the health of our planet, protect it for the future and reverse some of the damage that’s already been done. Here are five fantastic earth-saving innovations to inspire you:

 

Nubrix

 

Nubrix

Elijah Djan invented Nubrix when he was just 11 years old.
Image: The Observers

Only about 5% of South African households recycle their waste paper, meaning the other 95% are sending theirs to the already overflowing landfills.

When Elijah Djan saw his lecturer dad burning a pile of old textbooks, he knew he had to come up with a better way of dealing with waste paper. He was only 11 at the time, but he was also fully aware of South Africa’s housing crisis, and so the idea for Nubrix was born: A brick made from waste paper.

Today, Elijah is a third-year industrial engineering student at the University of Pretoria and he’s 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 government and the building sector. This will hopefully peak their interest in products such as Nubrix, and help patch our social fabric and the planet brick by brick.

Read more here.


 

The Ocean Cleanup

 

Ocean_cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup’s mission is to free our oceans from plastic waste.
Image: www.theoceancleanup.com

From one boy inventor to the next. The Ocean Cleanup Array, a system that could potentially relieve the ocean of 7 250 000 tons of plastic waste, is the brainchild of a Dutch teen, Boyan Slat. It comprises solar-powered spinning booms that act as a floating barrier and uses the ocean’s currents to catch and concentrate debris. The first prototype was launched for a year-long study in June 2016 in the Netherlands’ Northern Sea.

Considering we’re dumping over 8 million tons of plastic waste into the ocean every year, we’re holding thumbs that the Ocean Cleanup brings salvation to our precious marine ecosystems.

Read more here.


 

The WAIR “smart scarf”

 

Wair

WAIR is a chic new take on pollution masks.
Image: WAIR

It’s estimated that air pollution leads to the deaths of over 5.5 million people around the world every year. In South Africa, government is aiming to introduce a carbon tax for businesses that produce excessive amounts of CO2. But a French startup has a more fashion-forward take on the issue. They’re making pollution masks look chic through WAIR – a scarf that doubles up as an accessory and an air-filtration mask.

Wearers simply cover their mouths and noses with WAIR while a hidden, lightweight battery-operated air filtration box purifies the air they breathe. The scarf can filter out 99% of air pollutants and even bacteria, and the wearer uses WAIR’s app to keep track of the air quality in the area.

Read more here.


 

GlasPro

 

GlasPro

GlasPro UV glass makes man-made structures safer for birds. Left: what humans see. Right: what birds see.
Source: Glas-Pro.com

About two-thirds of South Africa is urbanised, which means that, more than ever before, we’re encroaching on our wildlife’s homes.

A wide variety of bird species, for example, 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 our feathered fellow citizens safe: Bird-friendly glass coated with UV liquid that makes it visible to birds. Human eyes can’t detect the UV liquid, so from our perspective, it doesn’t change the appearance of the glass.

Read more here.


 

Tenkiv Nexus solar water purifier

 

Tenkiv

The Tenkiv Nexus uses solar power to purify water.
Image: vertohomes.com

It’s estimated that 1 in 8 people worldwide doesn’t have access to clean water and now, during the current dry spell here in the Western Cape, we’re once again reminded of the importance of this vital resource. Local government is realising the need to find alternative sources of water, instead of just relying on rainwater, while there’s a global drive to keep our dams and rivers pollution-free.

A project called Tenkiv Nexus could solve some of the world’s water woes. It uses solar energy to purify over 1 800 litres of water at a time. The team behind the project says that Nexus works at one-thirteenth of the cost of traditional solar and is 20% cheaper than traditional fossil-fuel-powered water purifiers.

Read more here.


Whether you think big like the Ocean Cleanup or small and simple like WAIR, doing your bit for the planet starts with you, at home. Look at ways you can save water and use electricity wisely every day. So take that first step for our planet: contact Energy Partners Home Solutions for ideas on how you can make your home greener and more energy-efficient. 

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.

Businesses urged to find alternative energy sources

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments

On February 2, 2017, ENCA released a video featuring Alan Matthews, Head of Energy Partners Home Solutions. Matthews discusses why business owners will have to find alternative energy sources.

Click here to view original video on ENCA.

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.

Electricity Fun Facts: How much energy would it take to power yourself?

By | Energy Partners Knowledge Base | No Comments

When looking at the top six power-hungry home appliances in this article, it’s difficult to really understand the kWh unit.

To help understand how much these top 6 offenders actually consume, we’ve compared it to the human body.

So, how hard would you have to work to literally power your home yourself?

1. Geyser

Your geyser accounts for a fat 50% of your electricity bill. 9.25 kWh per hour feeds your geyser.

Cycling vigorously for 3 hours powers your geyser for 1 hour

2. Tumble Dryer

This appliance consumes a massive 3kWh per hour.

Doing laundry for 4 years powers your tumble dryer for 1 hour

3. Oven

Using your oven for an hour eats about 2.3kWh.

Chopping wood for 4 hours powers your oven for 1 hour

4. Air Conditioner

When using your aircon, bear in mind that it costs around 1.8kWh.

Taking a brisk walk around the earth powers your aircon for 1 hour

5. Swimming Pool Pump

Cleaning your pool accounts for 1.5kWh usage per hour.

Swimming 103 olympic pool laps powers your pool pump for 1 hour

6. Portable Heater

Winter is coming! To keep yourself warm with your portable heater, you’ll have to provide it with 1.5kWh every hour.

Shivering for 3 hours and 10 mins powers your portable heater for 1 hour

The next time you flip a switch, think about how much physical energy needs to be exerted to power the heaviest energy consumers in your home. Being more conscious about your energy usage is the easiest way to reduce your electricity bill. Power Yourself!


 

There are a combination of solutions available to power yourself through renewable energy. To discuss these with one of our energy consultants, get in touch! We would love to provide you with a custom cost and energy saving proposal – without a single obligation attached.

(Calculations were all made based on averages.)

Six of the most power-hungry home appliances

By | Energy Partners Knowledge Base | No Comments

Powering your home is as simple as flicking a switch. It requires little to no effort from you to fill the tub with warm water, reheat a meal in the microwave or brew a steaming cup of coffee. But have you thought about how much energy some of the everyday appliances in your home are using?

We’ve identified the biggest villains in your home below:

(If kWh’s make no sense to you: have a look at this follow-up article on how much energy you need to burn to power these appliances listed below.)

1. Geyser

A geyser accounts for a fat 50% of the electricity bill in many households. It consumes about 9.25 kWh, which works out to 300 kW a month!

However, there are ways to ensure your geyser doesn’t chew up a huge chunk of your monthly budget. A solar water geyser or heat pumps are much leaner on energy, which makes them great alternatives to standard geysers. You could also try and use less warm water whenever you can, for example, by taking shorter showers. This means you’ll also be doing your bit for water conservation ?  .

2. Tumble Dryer

While it’s a lifesaver on rainy laundry days, your tumble dryer devours a whopping 3 kWh.

To save on electricity, it’s best to view your tumble dryer as something you should only indulge in on occasion. Only use it when you really have to and turn to the sun to curb its energy appetite: Only do laundry on sunny days or lighten the load with an efficient home solar energy solution.

3. Oven

On average, your oven uses about 2.3 kWh. 

Luckily, in sunny South Africa, we have been born and bred to enjoy cooking meals on fires. You now have an excuse to cook outside more often!

4. Air Conditioner

Your air conditioner works very hard to keep you cool, consuming around 1.8 kWh.

In summer, you should try to acclimatise yourself by using the aircon as little as possible. Studies also show that aircons can make you sick – don’t catch sick building syndrome!

5. Swimming Pool Pump

It takes a lot of time and energy to keep a pool crystal-clear. Take your pool pump: It consumes about 1.5 kWh.

Covering your swimming pool is not only a great way to save water, but it’ll help keep your pool clean and take some of the pressure off your pump.

6. Portable Heater

In winter, temperature control proves to be equally costly, with standard portable heaters consuming as much as 1.5 kWh. 

Snuggle up with a blanket instead. Cups of hot chocolate will also assist in building up a fat reserve to get you through the coldest nights!

Another all-round great electricity-saving alternative is to install a state-of-the-art home solar energy solution. That could amount to a saving of up to 70% on your monthly electricity bill.

Want to know how hard you’d have to work to power each of the appliances above? Read our follow up article!

[trx_button type=”square” style=”filled” bg_color_style=”bg_style1″ size=”small” color=”#FFFFFF” bg_color=”#0086AF” align=”left” link=”/index.php/2017/01/30/electricity-fun-facts/” popup=”no” width=”150″ height=”20″ animation=”zoomIn”]TAKE ME THERE[/trx_button]

SABC Digital News – Saving electricity during the festive season

By | Energy Partners in the Press | No Comments

On December 21, 2016, Alan Matthews (head of Energy Partners Home Solutions) discussed how holiday makers can save money on their electricity bills by switching off all appliances when leaving the house. Listen in on the interview to learn energy saving ideas which can be implemented throughout the entire year. We hope to make consumers more aware of their day-to-day energy consumption and give you more insight on energy saving.

Do not just change your mind-set over festive seasons but also for the future, as South Africans should brace themselves for a possible inflation increase in electricity tariffs over the next three years.