The City of Cape Town is proud to announce that its Electricity Savings Campaign was a joint winner in the Eskom eta Awards in the ‘Energy Efficiency Awareness’ category, demonstrating this administration’s commitment to building a sustainable and energy efficient city.
The City’s communication campaign aims to guide residents and businesses on a journey to energy efficiency optimisation.
The Eskom eta Awards recognise excellence in energy efficiency. Entries are encouraged from a variety of spectrums, including the commercial, industrial, residential, innovation and youth sectors. The awards acknowledge and reward outstanding work in the energy efficiency sector with the aim of driving behavioural change and shifting South Africa’s electricity consumption habits.
‘eta’ is the Greek symbol for ‘efficiency’.
The winners of the Eskom eta Awards were announced recently at the annual awards evening held at the University of Johannesburg. This year saw submissions that ranged from an innovative smokeless stove designed for use by those without electricity to a highly sophisticated system that has reduced the electricity consumption at the AngloGold Ashanti Mponeng Mine.
The City of Cape Town’s Electricity Savings Campaign has been implemented over the last four years by the City’s Environmental Resource Management Department (ERMD) in collaboration with the City’s Integrated Strategic Communication and Branding Department and the Electricity Services Department, with support from Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) and the University of Cape Town (UCT).
Research revealed that there was an urgent need to change consumer behaviour around the use of electricity in Cape Town households. Urban domestic consumption patterns were shown to be unsustainable in light of increasing electricity demand and limited supply, affordability (significant cost increases) and environmental concerns (for instance the need to reduce carbon emissions).
The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Garreth Bloor, believes that the results have been positive – with Cape Town showing a steady decrease in electricity consumption.
‘The greatest challenge when attempting to change electricity consumption behaviour is ensuring that people understand the benefit to them, the environment, and the country as a whole. The City’s Electricity Savings Campaign has demonstrated that when consumers and businesses are informed about why they should save, how much they can save, and exactly how to save, they will change their behaviour and also make technological changes,’ said Councillor Bloor.
In 2009 the City of Cape Town launched its campaign in a bid to become a more resource efficient city and to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. The campaign targeted homes with electric geysers as this sector accounts for a staggering 43% of all electricity consumption in the city. By shifting behaviour in this market, the city can achieve massive savings, helping to reduce the strain on the grid.
The campaign encourages residents to take responsibility for reducing their consumption by using both emotional and rational triggers that speak to saving money as well as looking after the environment. The rational component suggests that ‘electricity is expensive, saving is simple’ and utilises illustrated saving tips that residents can follow in three categories, namely ‘no cost’, ‘low cost’ and ‘invest to save’.
The emotional trigger speaks to the cost of the city’s environment and depicts images of Cape Town with large cooling towers marring the beautiful landscape, with the line: ‘Electricity could cost you more than you think’.
A most recent focus of the campaign is the ‘invest to save’ component, designed specifically to encourage the installation of High-Pressure Solar Water Heaters (HPSWHs) by residential property owners with electric geysers to achieve long-term significant electricity savings.
The campaign was aired on radio and in print publications with support through social marketing and direct marketing initiatives. Learners were also involved through educational theatre and teacher-training curriculum resources.
In addition to the residential focus, the campaign also targets the commercial sector which uses 40% of the city’s energy. The commercial campaign saw the Energy Efficiency Forum launched four years ago. The forum is a partnership between the City, Eskom, the South African Property Owners Association and Old Mutual. It aims to achieve savings in commercial properties using an information sharing and networking platform for its over 1 200 registered members.
In addition, the Forum hosts the Annual Energy Efficiency Marketplace and Awards which puts businesses in touch with suppliers and services in the energy efficiency sector and recognises those businesses who are assessed to be leaders in implementing significant energy efficiency interventions, both in technologies and in behavioural change.
‘At the City of Cape Town, we believe that it is our role to encourage and support energy efficiency among Capetonians. It is essential for our city’s future that we all become energy savers and use electricity efficiently. Through the Electricity Savings Campaign we hope to inspire other municipalities to do the same. We are enormously proud of this award,’ said Councillor Bloor.
To learn more, please visit the eta Awards website: www.eta-awards.co.za.