Denise Lundall, Project Officer of Sanedi (SA National Energy Development Institute)

It’s human nature to put off today what we can do tomorrow but Denise Lundall, Project Officer of Sanedi (SA National Energy Development Institute) advises that procrastination can come back to bite you. “SA Mechanical Engineer” talks to Denise who says, “Private buildings with 2 000sqm net floor area from selected four building classifications must audit their energy usage in order to be issued an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which has to be displayed in the front of the building by 7 December 2025.  

“There are a limited number of EPC accredited inspection bodies who are empowered by the regulation to do this work, so it stands to reason that the closer to the deadline, the more these services are going to cost. 

“The same applies to public buildings with more than 1 000sq metres under roof. The EPC will be valid for a period of 5 years and building owners must re-issue a new EPC at the end of the 5 year validity period.”

Cost and time

As a very broad rule of thumb, an audit can cost between R30 000 and R60 000 for 1 000 sqm and can take from about three days to three months depending on the complexity of the audit. The overall cost of EPC will be affected by different market drivers which will include the location of the buildings and the number of accredited EPC bodies. 

The first stage will involve the inspection body requesting the building energy related, building plans and occupancy certificates data to establish the data gaps. The second stage will be to conduct a site audit to better understand the data and fill all data gaps. The third stage will involve the evaluation of the building performance and issuing the building owner with an EPC which displays the Buildings Energy performance with a Rating between A and G, A being the most energy efficient building and G being the least energy efficient building. 

This is the best-case scenario and will change as inspection bodies start to take on more and more projects and also depends heavily on the readiness of the site to undergo an audit.

Ready upfront

If the site owner has all the necessary documents available: architectural plans including any subsequent renovations; has the electricity and fuel bills and any other information pertaining to HVAC installations, lighting etc on tap, the job will be cheaper and less time-consuming. On the other hand, if the inspection body is tasked with obtaining architectural drawings from the City, as well as collating the electricity bills and is made to map the building for any energy-guzzling installations, the price and time increases exponentially.  

“The goal is firstly to measure the actual energy usage of the building, secondly to establish the ideal target that should be reached as compared with the maximum energy consumption provided for in SANS 10400 XA:2021, and thirdly to implement interventions that can be made to reach target. The first EPC will establish the kilowatt hours consumed per square metre per building per year,” Denise explains.  Ideally subsequent EPC for any building should demonstrate energy performance improvement for each building though this is not stipulated in the current regulation. 

In a nutshell

“This is the process in a nutshell but, of course, there are going to be many questions about the finer detail. One of the most important is that building owners only make use of accredited inspection bodies listed on the SANEDI website as they work towards obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) giving a rating from A (good) to G (not so good). 

Most South Africans are under the impression that these measures are being introduced by the government in reaction to loadshedding. “This is not the case,” Denise Lundall emphasises. “This initiative began years ago and is designed for government to start getting an accurate and measurable map of who uses what in the country.

Carbon tax

“As the whole world moves towards decarbonisation, South Africa has to remain in step. But improvements can only be made if the government understands the energy landscape including that of the built environment. COP26 commitments are in place with carbon tax liabilities increasing on the horizon. 

Denise concludes, “Then much like the residential market, prospective tenants and purchasers of property are asking about green installations not only because it’s good for the environment but because all the hard work of implementing these solutions has already been done. A whole new twist on ‘move in ready’.” 

“You may delay, but time will not” – Benjamin Franklin 

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