The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) regulations gazetted by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) in December 2020 present opportunities for individuals and businesses in the energy sector, including young professionals, entrepreneurs and graduates in the engineering disciplines with the mindset to be a part of the energy efficiency solution, says Alliance Energy MD Vash Singh.
Under the EPC regulations, buildings in South Africa need to have their energy performance assessed by an accredited party, which will issue an EPC that rates the building in terms of energy efficiency.
"There are numerous opportunities in the energy sector; however, it is important that established companies in the industry empower and encourage emerging enterprises, especially youth- and women-owned entities.
"We are likely to face a shortage of skilled individuals during the implementation of the EPC process, so we must nurture people into the broader energy sector," says Singh.
The EPC regulations apply to non-residential buildings with a net floor area of at least 2 000 m2 in the private sector, such as schools, offices and theatres, and 1 000 m2 for government buildings.
The EPC must be displayed at the building entrance, preferably targeting at least a D-rating. Property owners and government buildings have until December 7, 2022, to comply.
“This means there are thousands of property owners who will need appropriately accredited inspection bodies to undertake their energy assessment and issue the certificate. Here lies a wealth of opportunity for people wishing to get into the energy sector,” says Singh.
Further, not everyone entering the EPC business needs to have a background in engineering and there are many support roles available and opportunities for data scientists, architects, quantity surveyors and others to become involved, she adds.
While the South African National Accreditation System (Sanas) does require an accredited body to have certain positions with specific qualifications, the wider value chain offers many job opportunities, she notes.
Achieving and maintaining the Sanas accreditation can be challenging, but it is key for the accurate and independent collection of energy consumption, net floor area, climatic zone, occupancy and other data using calibrated instrumentation, in line with national standards.
Alliance Energy recently became the second Sanas-accredited inspection body to issue EPCs in the country.
“South Africa offers a tough business landscape, but we can offer a helping hand to start-ups by sharing our knowledge and experience. There is enough business to go around and we must collaborate, rather than compete, to collectively ensure the success of the industry and meet the upcoming demand for EPCs.”
Singh also offers to mentor qualified and passionate black women-owned companies aspiring to a similar venture.
“Fostering new talent in the energy sector is sure to assist South Africa in reaching its climate change mitigation ambitions. Facilitating the improved energy performance of our buildings is a worthy career with ample business opportunities; our upcoming professionals and entrepreneurs have fulfilling prospects to look forward to in the EPC industry,” she concludes.