Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus

An energy performance plan for every large building: FF Plus writes to ministers, requesting an extension

The South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) is heading a process aimed at ensuring that all large buildings falling in certain categories are issued an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

While the idea is essentially a good one, many property managers will find it hard to meet the deadline of 12 December 2022.

SANEDI's shareholders are the Departments of Mineral Resources and Energy, and Science and Innovation. Therefore, the FF Plus sent a letter to each of the Ministers, Mr Gwede Mantashe and Dr Blade Nzimande, respectively, requesting them to postpone the deadline.

All government buildings larger than one thousand square metres and private buildings larger than two thousand square metres (excluding primary and high schools) must possess such a certificate.

It entails a survey by an accredited consultant detailing the annual energy consumption in the building, including all sources. A plan for greater efficiency must also accompany it.

If the documents supplied meet SANEDI's requirements, a certificate is issued that is valid for five years. This certificate must be displayed at the entrance to the building in question. Failing to do this may lead to fines or even jail time.

The FF Plus concurs that energy shortages and the climate-related consequences of wasted energy must be counteracted, and that more efficient energy consumption in large buildings can make a valuable contribution in that regard.

The problem, however, is that many are still unaware of this requirement, which was published in the Government Gazette in December 2020.

Additionally, obtaining the certificate requires making use of specialised energy consultants who are already hard to find. Even if a comprehensive awareness campaign were launched today, the two months left before the deadline are simply too little time to ensure general compliance.

The FF Plus is, therefore, asking the two ministers to postpone the deadline and to allow for a gradual implementation of the process.

Corporate property managers will most probably have the greatest access to accredited consultants. A schedule according to which these large businesses should obtain their certificates ought to be negotiated with SANEDI.

Smaller businesses, which own or manage only one or just a few buildings, must be given more time to finalise the process seeing as their capacity to negotiate is restricted.

The FF Plus is a party that subscribes to an orderly society. It entails, among other things, that meaningful legal requirements must be properly announced and that it must also be possible to comply with them.

Impossible deadlines merely result in non-compliance, against which authorities can, in turn, take no action and ultimately, it results in a disorderly society.

The ministers' feedback is anticipated in the hope that a crisis will be averted by taking proactive steps.



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