Diversified real estate investment trust (Reit) Emira Property Fund is continuing its positive impact on environmental sustainability by increasing its use of renewable energy resources, expanding its water efficiency initiatives and phasing out the use of ozone depleting R22 refrigerant gas.
The company said in a statement issued this week that it was the first in Africa to have its carbon reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, or SBTi.
Targets adopted by companies to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions are considered science-based if they are in line with the level of decarbonisation required to keep global temperature increase below 2 °C compared with pre-industrial temperatures, as per the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR5).
“Science-based targets provide companies with a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth by specifying how much and how quickly they need to reduce their GHG emissions. We are taking confident strides on our sustainability journey and remain committed to meeting our ambitious targets,” Emira CEO Geoff Jennett said.
Emira’s science-based targets are to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 13% by 2022 from a 2015 base year, and it is well on target to achieving the pledged reductions, the company said.
In working towards this over the past six months, Emira approved the installation of its fourth solar photovoltaic (PV) farm, with the 1.2 MW rooftop solar farm at Wonderpark Shopping Centre will go live later this month.
Emira has already successfully installed solar power generation systems at its Epsom Downs Shopping Centre (271 kW), Randridge Mall (1.2 MW) and Mitchells Plain Shopping Centre (224 kW).
Its fifth solar PV installation at Boskruin Village Shopping Centre has also been approved, and Emira is exploring a 795 kW solar system installation for its Ben Fleur Shopping Centre.
Emira’s installed and planned PV farms, with over 11 000 solar panels, together, have a 4 296 kW capacity and deliver savings of 6 763 MWh/y. In effect, this removes 6 472 t/y of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
In addition, Emira’s four major water efficiency projects, completed in the last six months, are saving an estimated 21.6-million litres of drinking water yearly.
It is also investigating three more water saving initiatives in the current financial year.
Further, Emira’s R-22 refrigerant gas replacement programme is on track for completion in line with set targets by December 2020. The company has undertaken to have all air conditioning systems at its buildings replaced with more energy efficient inverter-type technology units that use a more ozone-friendly refrigerant gas.
The Reit has also completed a major heating, ventilation and air conditioning replacement project at its Southern Centrum Shopping Centre, in Bloemfontein, in the Free State, where the centre’s ageing centralised aircon plant was replaced with a new modern system that is expected to produce significant electricity savings for tenants.
“Emira has embraced environmental sustainability as part of our operations because it makes long term business sense as well as being good for our planet,” Jennett said.