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March 10, 2010
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Michael Chapnick | (703) 875-4357

USTDA HOSTS ENERGY EFFICIENT BUILDING SOLUTIONS WORKSHOP

U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Donald H. Gips delivered remarks at the Energy Efficient Building Solutions Workshop funded by USTDA
U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Donald H. Gips delivered remarks at the Energy Efficient Building Solutions Workshop funded by USTDA

JOHANNESBURG – With electricity prices on the rise in South Africa, consumers are looking for innovative ways to reduce their electricity usage. Today's Energy Efficient Building Solutions Workshop, funded by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency with sponsorship from Honeywell (Morristown, NJ), explored opportunities to reduce electricity usage in large building complexes.

The workshop featured remarks from U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Donald H. Gips, the South African Department of Energy, and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, as well as interactive discussions between South African property managers and other commercial electricity users, financiers, and energy efficiency specialists on the latest trends, technologies and financing solutions for reducing electricity usage – and costs.

"Buildings are among the world’s largest energy consumers and contributors to greenhouse gas emissions," said Ambassador Gips. "By adopting technologies and processes to increase energy efficiency in large building complexes, South Africa can increase its electricity reserve margin and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, while saving money at the same time."

One of the major concerns South African businesses expressed was the high upfront costs associated with building retrofits. The workshop helped to address these concerns by introducing energy savings performance contracting (ESPC) as a viable way of financing energy efficiency projects. The ESPC model entails no upfront cost and guarantees energy and operational savings that meet or exceed required monthly financing payments.

Although ESPC has been the standard model for energy efficiency projects in the U.S. for the last two decades, the concept is relatively new in South Africa. In fact, South Africa's first ever ESPC was recently awarded to Honeywell, in partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative and Johnson Controls, by the City of Johannesburg to improve energy efficiency in the city's public buildings.

"USTDA is committed to helping South Africa meet its goals for increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said USTDA’s Africa Business Development Manager Jason Nagy, who spoke at the workshop. "From supporting demand side management programs to encouraging the development of renewable energy projects, USTDA has been and will continue to be a partner in South Africa’s economic development."

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The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, reverse trade missions and business workshops to support development of modern infrastructure and a fair and open trading environment. USTDA's efforts create an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development.

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