City’s energy efficiency projects expected to realise mega savings

City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member For Energy, Environmental And Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan Van Der Merwe

The City of Cape Town expects to save approximately R120 million in total by 2018 through its current internal energy efficiency programme. Since 2013, energy efficiency projects have included upgrading City buildings and replacing traffic and street lights with low-energy Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights.

In light of the load shedding that is occurring in Cape Town and in the rest of the country as a result of Eskom’s critical supply constraints, the successful and speedy implementation of energy saving measures in City operations is of utmost importance.

Electricity supply is expected to remain critical and, while it is clear that everyone must play their part to save electricity, government must lead by example.

The City’s internal operations energy efficiency programme will also achieve greater returns over time as the electricity prices increase and remain far above the consumer price inflation index.

For instance, the City has already completed the retrofitting of 1 378 traffic signals with LED lights, saving approximately 9 317 megawatt hours and 9 224 tonnes in total carbon emissions annually – not only reducing the City’s environmental impact, but also saving on electricity costs. Saving means that more money is made available for other projects which benefit the residents of Cape Town.

The retrofitting project saw 41 500 incandescent and halogen lamps in traffic lights being replaced by LEDs at an investment of approximately R23 million. Annually, approximately R11 million is being saved.

The City has furthermore completed the retrofitting of approximately 26% of its large buildings thus far by investing R25 million in this project. The City is installing smart electricity meters in its 90 largest administrative buildings, with 65% of the installations having been completed.

The City of Cape Town’s street lighting retrofitting programme is also underway. Approximately 17% or 25 210 of the street lights have already been replaced by energy efficient street lights.

Overall, the City is set to achieve savings of 16 445 megawatt hours per year and 16 281 tonnes in total carbon emissions annually.

The City has been a leader in energy efficiency efforts for years and has been recognised locally and internationally through awards such as being named the global Earth Hour City Capital 2014. This administration has been actively facilitating the availability of alternative energy sources to its residents through, amongst others, the solar water heater programme. The City also already has a successful residential energy savings programme in place (

Furthermore, since 2009, the City in conjunction with Eskom and the South African Property Owners Association, has collaborated to run the Energy Efficiency Forum for the commercial sector in Cape Town, which promotes discussion around reduced energy input within maximum production output.

The City’s internal energy efficiency programme will increasingly also be focusing on savings in its wastewater treatment works and pump stations. This is a truly collaborative effort between many City departments, including the Environmental Resource Management Department and the Utility Services Directorate.