On 29 August 2017, Nigeria’s first Building Energy Efficiency Code (BEEC) was officially launched in Abuja by the Federal Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN).
The BEEC is a set of minimum standards for energy efficient building in Nigeria. Chilufya Lombe, Director at Solid Green Consulting, says, “With the energy scarcity that is common in Africa, energy efficiency becomes very important in allowing and maintaining development. In Nigeria, we have found that energy efficiency can have a bigger impact than renewables. It is easier to build a building to consume 30 to 40% less energy than to pay to add renewable technology onto an inefficient building. In other words, we are talking about buildings that perform well from a first principles point of view.”
As technical consultants on the BEEC, Solid Green was commissioned to carry out work in four parts, namely:
- to investigate existing building practices and establish a typical baseline for residential and office buildings;
- to research building labels and incentive schemes that could encourage people to make use of the BEEC;
- to provide guidance on enforcement and control, including identifying training requirements for building code enforcement personnel, building industry professionals, developers and financiers;
- and to investigate energy modelling tools and their suitability for use in the Nigerian market.
Research for the BEEC was conducted primarily in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) but the new minimum energy efficiency requirements can be adopted by any state in Nigeria. The scope of these minimum requirements cover two building categories – residential and office buildings.
Lombe explains, “We used modelling and simulations to determine the expected energy performance of a Business as Usual building (BAU model). We then reviewed simulated variations of the BAU model as well as international references to identify the minimum efficient requirements. The simulations take into account the various climatic conditions found in Nigeria.”
Numerous stakeholder engagements were conducted in the FCT state, including workshops with design engineers, architects, financiers, technical advisors, officials from the Ministry and the State Department of Development Control. This ensured that any minimum interventions proposed were reasonable for the region and would be possible to implement; and that a balance was achieved between interventions that led to savings and ones that made sense for the first iteration of the building code.
Minimum Energy Efficiency Requirements
Under the BEEC, two compliance methods are possible – Prescriptive and Performance. For the Prescriptive option, projects must adhere to all the requirements as a checklist,
and no energy calculations are required. The Performance option looks at a whole building analysis using energy simulation software, and project teams may deviate from the prescriptive requirements provided that the theoretical energy use of the building is less than or equal to that of the same building with all the prescriptive requirements included.
To set the standard for minimum energy efficiency requirements, interventions were identified that lead to a minimum of 40% energy savings over current building practices. These interventions include:
- Overall Window to Wall Ratio must not exceed 20%;
- Shading is required when the Window to Wall Ratio exceeds 20%;
- Reduction of installed lighting power density;
- Minimum requirements for roof insulation;
- Minimum performance of air-conditioning equipment specified;
- Restricted use of non-inverter split units.
Building Energy Labels and Energy Efficiency Incentives
As an incentive for building owners and developers to comply with the BEEC, a comparative building label was developed, which rates a building depending on how many of the BEEC initiatives have been implemented. As the programme is voluntary for the first two years, this is a way of encouraging compliance with an official ‘badge of honour’.
After a voluntary period of two years, the intention is that the competent authority should make all requirements mandatory, and the label will be revised to communicate building energy efficiency on the market.
Public Education, Awareness and Training
“Campaigns to educate the public and prepare key market players are critical to the success of new building labelling and rating schemes,” Lombe observes. “Education and awareness build demand for voluntary labels and help to engage the market.
“Training has been identified as the most important enabler to effective control and enforcement of the BEEC. We carried out a survey to determine the capability of staff responsible for building permit approvals in assessing submissions related to energy efficiency in general and a BEEC in particular. From the survey, it was clear that not many of the staff have had previous exposure to the building physics elements that are important to a BEEC. Accordingly, we recommended training that focuses not only on the procedural requirements of a BEEC but also on the background knowledge of energy efficiency in general.”
The training will cover all aspects of the BEEC including understanding building physics; how to use BEEC calculation sheets; recognising correct details pertaining to the BEEC on drawings; recognising different types of equipment; and understanding the performance route to compliance. This training also has the potential to serve as a minimum qualification for staff who will process building permit approvals as well as for professionals in the construction industry.
Lombe adds that barriers to market adoption include a lack of sufficient information and understanding on the part of tenants and building owners to make well-informed investment decisions; a lack of information about the energy performance of buildings; and a misperception that energy efficiency measures make buildings more expensive.
“Training of building owners and vendors has a marked impact on participation. A look at the common barriers experienced in the procurement of products and commissioning of energy efficient buildings in the public sector immediately identifies awareness as the starting point to unlocking the remaining barriers. For example, a better understanding of life cycle costing can lead to questions around stringent policies of lowest initial purchase price requirements for equipment.”
The BEEC’s minimum energy efficiency requirements will also apply to the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing’s own buildings, and the current Ministry building was used as a case study for the BEEC technical report.
Using data from an energy audit conducted on the building together with a simulation model, it was determined what the impact would have been if the BEEC had been applied to the building when it was built, in terms of both capital and running costs.
In terms of overall capital cost savings for the project, a 40% peak load saving would have been achieved. This could have equated to a N10 million saving per generator at today’s prices. As the building has two 500kVA generators, the total saving would have been N20 million.
In terms of running costs, a N9.8 million running cost saving per year would have been achieved if the BEEC had been implemented, through the specification of roof insulation and a more efficient air-conditioning system. This represents a 32% saving on overall energy use.
Lombe concludes, “Implementing the BEEC on the Ministry project provides almost the same cost saving as providing renewable energy in the form of photovoltaics. However, the BEEC also provides a capital cost saving for the project whilst the photovoltaics require a significant capital investment.”
The BEEC’s minimum energy efficiency requirements are to be voluntary for up to a maximum of two years to give individual states an adoption and inception phase, after which the requirements will become mandatory – a significant move towards more sustainable development in Nigeria.
Green infrastructure is an attractive concept, but there is concern surrounding its effectiveness. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are using a mathematical technique traditionally used in earthquake engineering to determine how well green infrastructure works and to communicate with urban planners, policymakers and developers.
Green roofs are flat, vegetated surfaces on the tops of buildings that are designed to capture and retain rainwater and filter any that is released back into the environment.
“The retention helps ease the strain that large amounts of rain put on municipal sewer systems, and filtration helps remove any possible contaminants found in the stormwater,” said Reshmina William, a civil and environmental engineering graduate student who conducted the study with civil and environmental engineering professor Ashlynn Stillwell.
A good-for-the-environment solution to mitigating stormwater runoff may seem like a no-brainer, but a common concern regarding green roofs is the variability of their performance. One challenge is figuring out how well the buildings that hold them up will respond to the increased and highly variable weight between wet and dry conditions. Another challenge is determining how well they retain and process water given storms of different intensity, duration and frequency, William said.
While studying reliability analysis in one of her courses, William came up with the idea to use a seemingly unrelated mathematical concept called fragility curves to confront this problem.
“Earthquake engineering has a similar problem because it is tough to predict what an earthquake is going to do to a building,” William said. “Green infrastructure has a lot more variability, but that is what makes fragility curves ideal for capturing and defining the sort of dynamics involved.”
William and Stillwell chose to study green roofs over other forms of green infrastructure for a very simple reason: There was one on campus fitted with the instrumentation needed to measure soil moisture, rainfall amount, temperature, humidity and many other variables that are plugged into their fragility curve model.
“This is a unique situation because most green roofs don’t have monitoring equipment, so it is difficult for scientists to study what is going on,” Stillwell said. “We are very fortunate in that respect.”
William said the primary goal of this research is to facilitate communication between scientists, policymakers, developers and the general public about the financial risk and environmental benefit of taking on such an expense.
“One of the biggest barriers to the acceptance of green infrastructures is the perception of financial risk,” William said. “People want to know if the benefit of a green roof is going to justify the cost, but that risk is mitigated by knowing when an installation will be most effective, and that is where our model comes in.”
The results of their model and risk analysis, which appear in the Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment, provide a snapshot of green infrastructure performance for this particular green roof. The results from a single model do not yield a one-size-fits-all approach to green infrastructure evaluation, and William and Stillwell said that is one of the strengths of their technique. Adaptability across different technologies and environments is essential to any green infrastructure analysis.
Image Credit: Credit: Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Global concern about the mountains of e-waste generated every year has been rising for quite some time – and with good reason.
Global concern about the mountains of e-waste generated every year has been rising for quite some time – and with good reason: In 2014, the United Nations estimated that humans produced 41.8 million metric tons of electronic waste. That’s 92 billion pounds – and even though IT products made up just 7 percent of that waste, that still represents almost 6.5 billion pounds of waste our industry generated in a single year.
There are no easy solutions to the many enmeshed challenges of e-waste, but by designing for reuse, repair, refurbishing and recycling, we can make real progress.
For all the concern about user experience in design, there is one aspect of product design that gets ignored entirely too often by others – one that has major impacts on the business, the environment, and people around the world: end-of-life design.
Designing for a second life requires a deep understanding of the downstream processes for handling electronics. One way to enable this is to open up dialogue between designers and recyclers. These experiences and conversations with recyclers get the designers thinking about beautiful products that are also optimized for repair, refurbishment, and recycling.
Big and small changes can make refurbishing and recycling significantly easier. For instance, on a recent field trip our engineers learned that having laptop cases open from the top instead of the bottom greatly extends the time it takes to dismantle. Using snap fits vs. glues and adhesives help minimize processing time. And designing instruction manuals with icons, pictures, and videos rather than text allows recyclers to work and repair at the same time instead of pausing to read detailed instructions.
For Man Tak Ho, one of Dell’s Mechanical Senior Engineers, the field trips really help extend the life of the product: “Not only do we need to be making it easy to disassemble, but it needs to be easy to repair.”
Modular thinking is another way to address e-waste. One example that we’ve employed with our commercial notebooks is creating a single access door for all major components, which makes it easier for users to repair by themselves versus requiring a user guide and trained technician.
Fairphone, a Dutch cell phone maker, does a great job of incorporating modular thinking into their design while also addressing human rights challenges associated with extracting raw materials.
Their latest model, the Fairphone 2, is “a smartphone dedicated to creating positive social change.” The company sources fair-trade metals and works to improve mining supply chains in Africa and elsewhere. The phone’s innovative modular design makes upgrading and repairing a simple plug-and-play operation.
The short film below, by the winner of Dell’s Legacy of Good Short Film Contest, dives into Fairphone’s approach and process.
Your trash is our treasure
Turns out “trash” can be a workable and cost effective material for designers. We’re seeing it in the growth of the circular economy, with innovative uses of waste products being turned into the building blocks of exciting projects and products. Adidas, for example, just made a slick shoe out of ocean plastic – a material we’re exploring for use in our packaging.
This idea of turning trash into treasure holds true for electronics design as well. Some of us in the industry are using recycled plastics for our products. At Dell, we are turning the plastic from e-waste into new parts for OptiPlex all-in-ones, desktops and monitors. We are also using other industries’ excess carbon fiber in select Latitude, and Alienware laptops.
Critical to all of this is strong recycling infrastructure. If Dell did not have recycling operations in 83 countries and territories, “closing the loop” would become more challenging.
We owe it to our customers, our communities and our planet to continue pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with design. It’s not always just about the beauty on the outside, but the hidden beauty: the resources we leave out, what we recycle, and how we extend the workable life for the next person to enjoy.
Ed Boyd is Dell’s Senior Vice President of Experience Design across commercial, consumer and enterprise businesses.
Some 18 months after the financial close of a passenger train supply contract between the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and Alstom subsidiary Gibela, the State-owned firm has welcomed the arrival of the first test train aimed at replacing the old Metrorail train fleet over the next 20 years.
The train, which was this week delivered to Prasa’s Wolmerton depot, in Gauteng, was the first of a planned 600 trains that would be configured as six-car sets able to transport 1 346 passengers.
As part of the implementation programme, the first 20 train sets would be built at Alstom’s facility in Brazil, while the remainder would be built at a new facility in Ekurhuleni, in line with government’s industrialisation plan.
Print Send to Friend 0 0 The local manufacturing plant would, according to Gibela, achieve an average of 67% local content over the delivery period, increasing to 75% local content by year ten.
The deal formed part of Prasa’s broad modernisation programme, which included investment in key infrastructure programmes such as signalling, depots, perway and station modernisation.
Prasa kicked off its R172-billion investment in the acquisition of modern passenger trains and the support infrastructure in the 2013/14 financial year with a view to replacing the existing Metrorail rolling stock over a ten-year period.
“This government is committed to the transformation of passenger rail infrastructure and in ensuring that rail becomes the backbone of public transport and a mode of choice for the multitudes of our people who depend on affordable, reliable and safe public transportation.
“This train is the realisation of government’s investment on the rolling stock fleet renewal programme. Our government is serious about implementing infrastructure and rail transport programmes as spelled out in the National Development Plan (NDP). Transport is one of the key pillars of the NDP,” Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said in a statement.
Prasa chairperson Dr Popo Molefe added that the arrival of the first test train signalled the start of the modernisation of passenger rail infrastructure and services. “We are in the process of building modem rolling stock that will form the backbone of a world-class metro service that is safe, reliable, and affordable.
“This investment by the government demonstrates its commitment towards developing a high quality transport system. Prasa is serious about delivering on its mandate. We aware of the enormous responsibility entrusted upon us and we intend to meet and exceed our customer and stakeholder expectation,” he commented.
The first train had been specifically designed to act as a test train and would undergo “key testing”. As a result, it did not feature commuter train fittings, such as chairs, but would have exposed electronic panels exposed, while basic structural fittings would be marked for ease of reference during testing .
All data gathered from the seven-month testing programme, which would start in the new year, which would be used to validate the train’s safety, design and performance parameters . A second test train had been planned for delivery within the first quarter of next year. Each of the two test trains would arrive with updated fittings, in line with the various stages of testing by Prasa and Gibela engineers.
These tests would also facilitate the accurate manufacturing of the initial trains made in Brazil and create a proven methodology for the balance of the trains, which would be manufactured in South Africa. “Gibela is quite pleased with the delivery of the test train, which was a collaborative effort between ourselves and Prasa.
“The final journey to the Wolmerton depot will mark the start of a series of tests on the train, transferring skills and the training of new train drivers, as we continue to manufacture the new Metrorail trains” said Gibela CEO Marc Granger. The new metrorail trains would offer a 31% energy-saving compared with the current trains and a design life of 40 years.
Johannesburg – Internet giant Amazon has added Johannesburg to its list of cities where the company has offices.
The company announced on Thursday that it plans to hire over 250 engineers, network specialists, account managers and other technologists to work at its Johannesburg office which will service Amazon Web Services clients.
Amazon Web Services provides cloud offerings to customers such as startups, enterprises and governments. The first Amazon Web Services office in South Africa was established in Cape Town in 2004.
“Amazon has been an active contributor to the South African technology community for over a decade,” said Steve Midgley, head of EMEA for Amazon Web Services.
“By expanding our presence in South Africa, and through hiring highly skilled staff, we intend to further accelerate the growth of our cloud customers in Africa and around the globe,” said Midgley.
In its statement, Amazon said that its Cape Town office was established in 2004 to help it build the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) service.
The company said that the Johannesburg office is expected to work on Amazon EC2 as well as other technologies.
Local companies that use Amazon Web Services include Standard Bank, MTN and Travelstart.