These days, “energy efficiency” is a bit of a buzz word. Everyone is starting to jump on the “green” bandwagon, doing their bit towards ensuring a more sustainable earth.
However, Eskom’s commitment to energy efficiency dates back a lot further than the current buzz. The Eskom eta Awards were established in 1985 with the aim of generating awareness about the critical need for saving energy, and hence encouraging people to take action towards being energy efficient both in their personal and professional capacities. (eta) is the Greek symbol for efficiency, hence the name of the awards.
The awards recognise and reward the proven application of sound energy efficiency principles across a broad spectrum of sectors, including commercial, industrial, residential and the youth.
The idea for the eta Awards was brought to Eskom by Prof. Dieter Holm and Johann Basson. Prof. Holm says: “Johann Basson and I had been running a successful energy efficiency competition prior to the Eskom eta Awards because we knew that South Africa is habitually very energy inefficient. The cheap energy in the past has not made us internationally more competitive, but has attracted energy-intensive industries and created a habit of energy wastage. This we expected would lead to bottlenecks sooner or later. Practising what I preach, I built our energy efficient home in 1974. The benefits were astounding! We then approached Eskom for sponsorship and they responded positively.”
Over the years, the eta Awards have grown from strength to strength, with more and more big names in the commercial and industrial sectors entering each year. Recent winners have been Woolworths, AngloGold Ashanti, Colgate-Palmolive and First National Bank.
The awards are now considered the most prestigious energy efficiency awards in the country. Group Executive of Sustainability, Dr Steve Lennon, is a proud champion of the Eskom eta Awards and believes they are taking great strides in generating awareness in energy efficiency – along with campaigns like 49M.
“More South Africans are looking for ways to save energy,” says Dr Lennon. “Learners want to make a difference, householders are cutting costs, and engineers and large companies are working hard to reduce their use of electricity and save vital resources.
“At Eskom, we believe that it is our role, along with government and business, to encourage this emerging mindset among our 49 million (and growing) population. It is essential for the country’s future that we all become energy savers and use electricity efficiently.
“Through the eta Awards, we hope to recognise more citizens who use electricity sparingly, and who can inspire others to do the same.”
Entries to the 2012 eta Awards opened on 2 April and close on 3 August.
For more information, visit the eta Awards website: www.eta-awards.co.za.