Energy Efficiency at the Cape Town French School - News | 110% Green

Energy Efficiency at the Cape Town French School

21 September 2016

As part of its Energy Efficiency Forum, the City of Cape Town hosted an exciting and informative site tour at the Cape Town French School on Tuesday, 13 September 2016.

The school, located in Gardens, was struggling with its electricity supply during the hot days, and had regularly experienced power shortages. With the help of consulting and technology firm Energy Intelligence, the school invested in energy efficiency measures over the past three years.

The roof of the school was ideal for the installation of solar panels

An energy audit, which was the first and crucial step towards energy management for the school, showed a number of discoveries:

  • The main circuit breaker was tripping due to the high load required by running all 20 AC units at the same time
  • The school was being supplied by a single 80A circuit breaker from the municipality
  • Most of the school’s electricity was being used on heating/cooling (61%) and lighting (19%)
  • The school was using inefficient lightbulbs – over 200 58W fluorescent tubes
  • The roof of the school was ideal for the installation of solar panels

Following this energy audit, the school was now ready to implement various technological, behaviour change and management interventions.

  • Circuit breaker: The circuit breaker was upgraded from 80A to 100A, which eliminated all power outages at the school under maximum load.
  • Light retrofit: Old inefficient lights were replaced with 425 energy efficient LED lights, which helped reduce consumption by 10.6 kW, or 16 Amps per phase. The light retrofits benefitted the school in many ways including: reduced maintenance, improved health and safety, an overall payback period of about 2 years and an annual saving of R23 456.78 per annum.
  • Solar Panels: The installation of a 10 kWp photovoltaic (PV) system provides about 20% of the school’s electricity during the week, which helped reduce the load by 15 Amps per phase. On weekends and school holidays, the PV system enables the school to generate valuable income by selling excess power back to the grid. The installation took four days, and since implemented, produced 28 137 kWh of electricity, which translates to a cost saving of R36 367.
  • Heat pump retrofit: A geyser in the caretaker’s room was replaced with a heat pump, which gave savings of R5700 per year.

When it comes to energy efficiency implementations in a building or operation, behaviour change is equally important as technology. Philippe Algranti, principal of the Cape Town French School, said that sessions were organised to ensure that both staff and learners were educated about the importance of energy efficiency and renewable energy. 

The Western Cape Government commends the Cape Town French School for practicing energy efficiency measures – It is only through combined effort from households, businesses and government that we can secure an energy secure province. The Western Cape Government’s Energy Security Game Changer is an initiative that aims to ensure sufficient power to sustain households and grow businesses in the province. Find out more here

Images: Bruce Sutherland - City of Cape Town