Energy efficient appliances on electrical energy consumption in the residential sector in South Africa. Picture: Federico Gambarini/AP
Energy efficient appliances on electrical energy consumption in the residential sector in South Africa. Picture: Federico Gambarini/AP

Ground-breaking study delves into the reality of SA’s residential power use

By Murphy Nganga Time of article published Jun 23, 2021

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Cape Town - Amid ongoing electricity supply concerns in South Africa, The South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), in conjunction with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and UCT, has completed a study to assess the impact of energy efficient appliances on electrical energy consumption in the residential sector in South Africa.

Data and knowledge management project manager at SANEDI Teslim Yusuf said that the global residential sector consumes one fifth of the world’s energy.

“According to the International Energy Agency, during peak periods in South Africa, the residential sector can account for up to 35% of national electricity demand. With this in mind, by improving energy efficiency in the residential sector, we can contribute to reducing that evening peak demand.”

“Furthermore, the study revealed that between 2015 and 2020, a significant reduction in energy consumption was achieved effectively by the South Africa Standards and Labelling (S&L) programme.”

“From the research sample, 98.1% of households reported owning at least one fridge, and 24% of households reported owning more than one. It stands to reason that massive energy savings can be gained from these appliances from the S&L Programme.”

Energy efficient appliances on electrical energy consumption in the residential sector in South Africa. Picture: Supplied.

“The S&L Programme provides shoppers with information about the energy efficiency of an appliance with an easy-to-read label displayed on the front of the appliance. The initiative will continue to provide energy savings into the future as appliances reach their end of life, and consumers purchase newer, more modern and energy efficient appliances,” said Yusuf.

UCT Department of Electrical Engineering Research Officer Richard Larmour said that the implementation of the S&L programme has undoubtedly set residential consumption on a favourable trajectory and has likely achieved savings in electricity consumption in the sector of about 4.9 TWh over the past five years.

“The research has quantified the energy impacts of the national appliance S&L programme over the past five years using estimates of household appliance electricity consumption across three income groups. The implementation of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and the S&L programme has undoubtedly set residential consumption on a favourable trajectory and has likely achieved savings in electricity consumption in the sector of about 4.9 TWh over the past five years.”

“These savings can substantially reduce electricity use in lower income households. It also provided an insight into the potential future impacts that both technical and behavioural interventions might achieve under different scenarios over the coming two decades.”

“There is generally a dearth of detailed knowledge about how electricity is used within households in South Africa and it is hoped that this work will provide a launchpad for further research and broad collaboration,” said Larmour.

Weekend Argus

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