Botswana’s energy consumption has grown considerably and it is forecast that energy consumption will continue to increase as the population and economy grow. Therefore, this week, the Energy Affairs Department, with support from DANINA, hosted a half-day seminar whose aim was to sensitize policy makers, building practitioners, as well as the general public sector on various aspects of energy efficiency in the building sector.
The industry analysis has revealed that the building sector remains one of the largest users of electricity in Botswana, thus this seminar initiated with possible incentives to encourage energy efficiency within this sector.
The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, said this seminar came about as a result of the on-going project which started in April 2005, on energy efficiency in the building sector and which was implemented with the support of the Danish government through Danida.
Explaining further, the minister said this project, among other things, aims at promoting energy efficient building designs, developing efficiency design guidelines as well as increasing knowledge and skills of architects, engineers and technicians in the area of energy efficiency and conservation.
Kedikilwe made it clear that the guidelines are meant to facilitate reduction on energy consumption by providing relevant information and guidance to those involved with the various stages in the planning of a building.
“The guidelines are part of the Demand Side Management of electricity supply or energy use,” he said. “There is a need for the energy efficiency to be considered at every stage of the design, construction and operation of a building.” He added that this is typically the state when the initial Design Brief is prepared.
The Minister stated that an optimum level of energy can be achieved when all aspects of the building design, construction and operation are integrated in a coordinated manner to take full advantage of the opportunities that such synergies offer.
Through this project six, the Minister revealed that energy audits were conducted in buildings, most of them owned by government. According to the Minister, the results of the audits show that by adopting some simple energy saving measures, especially behaviour change, it is possible to reduce by 15 ÔÇô 20 percent electricity consumption in most of the buildings.
“If we were to extend this to all government buildings which consumed 262 gigawatt hour (gwh) in 2007, a 15 percent saving in electricity consumption will translate into a cost saving of P19 million per year at the current tariff of P0.52 per kwh,” he stated.
The Minister further explained that it is cheaper to save a unit of energy than to generate an additional one. He said it should be understood that energy efficiency and conservation means adopting practices, measures or technologies such that the same work is performed with less energy. He appealed to people not to sacrifice production or comfort in order to achieve energy efficiency and conservation. Citing an example, he said replacing a 60 watts incandescent bulb with 15 watts compact fluorescent lights as the same output or light intensity is produced but using less energy.
The guidelines for energy efficient building design have been developed and are now available to the public. He appealed to all Batswana to use these guidelines for the design of future buildings.