Shifting from traditional to modern lighting technologies requires a significant capital outlay, which compels lighting companies to ensure that buyers are adequately informed on the advantages, longevity and cost savings of new energy-saving technolo- gies, states building exhibition and resource company The Building Centre managing partner Cheryl Neave.
The Building Centre informs builders and architects of the latest technologies available on the market. “We aim to provide comprehensive information on where to source required products, connecting buyers with suppliers and building experts,” she explains.
Neave adds that light-emitting diode (LED) technologies and solar-powered lighting are technologies on which builders and homeowners will require more education to understand the advantages of and future returns on the investment.
“These technologies offer great energy-saving benefits and, while they may be more expensive, significant cost savings are realised in the long term,” she points out and notes that The Building Centre organises sessions to inform industries about energy-saving and solar-powered lighting.
Neave highlights that energy saving and the building type greatly influence lighting choices. “Hospitals require different lighting methods to those used in hotels.”
While mood and practicality play a big role in determining consumer’s lighting choices, energy-saving installations enable an affordable, functioning environment.
“Hikes in South African electricity tariffs have greatly affected the commercial and industrial lighting sectors. We are all being forced to be more conscious of the way in which we build and how much we consume,” Neave notes.
The National Energy Regu- lator of South Africa (Nersa) approved double-digit tariff increases for State-owned power utility Eskom for the 2009/10 to 2012/13 financial years, which increased power tariffs to more than 60c/kWh, from 25c/kWh in 2008.
Creamer Media’s Research Channel Africa reports that the manufacturing sector is already struggling to adapt to the compound increases of 140% that have been approved over the past four years, adding that this sector has already shed 300 000 jobs since 2008.
Under the second multiyear price determination (MYPD2), Nersa approved price increases of 25% for April 1, 2010, to March 31, 2013. In March, last year, however, Nersa lowered the electricity tariff hike for the 2012/13 financial year period to 16% from the 25.9% it had previously approved. This will come into effect on March 9, 2013.
Eskom confirmed in June last year that its third MYPD application to Nersa would be for a five-year period, rather than the three-year horizon that prevailed during the first two MYPD periods.
To combat rising electricity tariffs and the effects of global warming, green building endeavours have been implemented in the lighting sector. “Architects are required to use environment-friendly lighting methods, such as making greater use of light and insulation,” Neave explains.
Engineering consultancy WSP Green by Design sustainable building consultant Alison Groves told Engineering News last year that companies were realising the need to differentiate themselves from other busi- nesses by promoting greener business practices and that part of this initiative involves developing or renting green building space.
“Outside pressures drive the need for green buildings and companies are realising the benefits of achieving measurable green credentials in a competitive market,” she added.
Green buildings lower operational costs and provide a better work environment for employees.
Companies could also benefit financially from going green in light of increasing energy costs and carbon taxes that will be introduced in the near future, added WSP Green by Design sustainable building consultant Bakang Moeng, who also spoke to Engineering News last year.
“Green buildings create business resili- ence, enabling companies to operate in an energy- and water-constrained environment,” he said.