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ABB Helps South Africa’s Environmental Affairs HQ Make 30% Energy Savings with its i-bus KNX Intelligent Building Control System

As South Africa deepens the national dialog over reducing its carbon footprint, its Department of Environmental Affairs has put down an important marker: Its new headquarters in Pretoria incorporates sustainable features including building controls and rooftop solar power equipment from ABB that will cut electricity use.

ABB provides solar inverters and building automation for the new Department of Environmental Affairs headquarters in PretoriaSouth Africa ranks among the world’s most energy intensive nations, with about 77 percent of the country’s primary energy needs provided by coal.

Still, the country aims to contribute to international efforts to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

In November, for instance, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa opened talks aimed at helping tackle the challenges and opportunities in South Africa’s transition to a lower carbon society that’s more resilient to changes that accompany climate change.

30 percent energy savings

In line with these efforts, the country enlisted ABB to contribute equipment including its ABB i-bus® KNX Intelligent Building Control system to its new Environmental Affairs headquarters building that was officially opened in September.

The KNX-controlled installation will realise estimated energy savings of about 30 percent, compared to non-automated conventional control solutions.

“Our new head office complex is energy efficient, resource efficient and environmentally responsible – it incorporates design, construction and operational practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of development on the environment and occupants, “ said Edwin Maseda, Chief Director Facilities Management, Department of Environmental Affairs.

Better decisions, less energy, lower costs

The ABB i-bus KNX control system is deployed around the world, including in Johannesburg’s striking CIRCA on Jellicoe building that houses art exhibitions.

Circa on Jellicoe has installed ABB i-bus KNX Building Automation to control the atmosphere for contemporary art showingsIt cuts buildings’ energy costs and reduces their environmental impact, integrates lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, window shading, security and comfort controls with energy measurement.

This allows staff who operate buildings to make better decisions that reduce electricity consumption and drive down costs.

Grant Seady, ABB’s business development engineer for the Low Voltage Products division, said the Environmental Ministry building is a model for other projects in South Africa as the government seeks to help cut emissions as well as help take the pressure off the country’s power grid.

“Imagine the possibilities for smart buildings and smart cities to synchronise the adjustment of air conditioning or heating by one to two degrees with the power grid,” Seady said. “All of these minor adjustments over the city not only have an impact on the environment for the occupants of the building, but could also play a major role in averting the risk of a grid outage.”

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