PPC goes from grey to green

14 March 2014

PPC’s new home, Eastgate 20 at 148 Katherine Avenue, Sandton, is a retro-fitted building strategically designed to reduce energy and water consumption. It has been given a four-star rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).

GBCSA’s Green Star rating system provides the commercial property industry with an objective measurement for green buildings and rewards environmental leadership in the property industry. A four-star rating recognises a building for its “Best Practices”.

Eastgate 20 consumes less energy
To consume less energy, Eastgate 20 utilises efficient lighting which is only activated when an area is occupied. Designed to maximise use of natural light, the building’s electricity demands during office hours is reduced.

“We have also made considerable progress through our new air conditioning system. It uses inverter technology for the compressors – the speed is controlled so that only as much cooling is provided as needed and the motors do not stop and start,” says Tshilidzi Dlamini, PPC’s Group sustainability and environmental manager.

A power converter changes supply voltage from a fixed 50 cycles per second mains AC waveform to a variable frequency and variable voltage waveform. This enables a standard fixed speed AC motor to be run at variable speeds, and for the speed of the motor to be accurately controlled. AC motors that are not fitted with a power converter are only capable of running at full speed (switched on) or zero speed (switched off).

With a power converter fitted, the output of the driven machine can be adjusted and controlled to deliver the exact output volume (water flow, airflow) required to meet demand, and energy is therefore not wasted.

“The cost of installing a power converter is significant, but so are the energy savings that can be achieved. The payback period from savings in electrical energy costs can be less than a year, making it an extremely viable option,” says Chris Yelland, MD of EE Publishers.

Water preservation crucial to the cement business
Eastgate 20 will substantially reduce usage of potable water through the installation of water-efficient fittings for taps, urinals and toilets.

Furthermore, PPC has also improved the quality of the water in the adjacent environs. PPC has a stormwater-treatment site, adjacent to Eastgate 20, where all stormwater from Eastgate 20’s premises and that of the neighbouring sites is treated to ensure that it is clean before it flows into the river.

“Normally during a storm event, rainwater runs off hard surfaces into stormwater drains and is directed into the nearest river to avert flooding. In built up areas, the abnormally amplified increase in water flow during storms disrupts the natural balance of the eco-system and the river’s ability to function as part of a healthy eco-system,” says Dlamini.

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