Leading construction materials group, AfriSam, has become the first construction materials company to sign the 49M pledge.
This step signifies the company's commitment to the global agenda for energy efficiency and to play a proactive role in contributing to energy saving across South Africa.
Stephan Olivier, AfriSam's CEO, said the 49M pledge signing was a natural step for AfriSam, as the initiative's objectives formed part of the company's overall corporate goals.
"The signing of this pledge is yet another milestone in our journey to sustainability which we began many years ago and continue to improve on in our quest to operate our business as a responsible corporate citizen.
"We are delighted to be aligned with 49M, which will give a strong boost to our stakeholder information and education drive to promote energy efficiency and ensure a sustainable future for all," Olivier said.
To date 49M has signed more than 70 partners. These include Santam, Spintelligent, MTN, Samsung, MassMart, Standard Bank, Nedbank, Food & Trees for Africa, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Solidarity, NUM, and all eight state-owned-companies.
Launched in March 2011, 49M is an Eskom initiative endorsed by government and business partners to encourage the South African population to embrace energy saving as a national culture and to join the global journey towards a sustainable future.
"Signing this important pledge is an endorsement of our efforts and commitment over more than a decade to improve the electrical energy efficiency of our various operations and thus reduce consumption," said Olivier.
In 2005, AfriSam signed the Energy Accord and in 2008, the company was named the National Business Initiative's Energy Efficiency winner in recognition of electrical energy savings. Between 2000 and 2011, AfriSam reduced specific electrical energy consumption by 18%.
"Our ongoing commitment in this arena includes creating awareness as well as educating and influencing the behaviour of all our stakeholders to boost electrical energy efficiencies as a proactive endeavour.
"We understand and view the impact of our actions on the community and the environment very seriously and we strive to utilise natural resources in a deliberate way, with the objective of sustaining these resources for the use of future generations," Olivier said.
AfriSam has recorded several significant milestones on this journey to date, including major equipment upgrades at its operations to reduce electrical energy consumption.
One of the most notable of these has been the installation of an energy-efficient Vertical Roller Mill at the company's Roodepoort operation in 2008.
This mill was commissioned at a 20% higher cost than conventional technology and has since achieved a 24% reduction in electrical energy consumption. Vertical roller mills are also being earmarked for installation at AfriSam's proposed Saldanha and Coega facilities.
Olivier said the replacement of old drives with variable speed drives, wherever possible, was an ongoing activity across all operations. This initiative was introduced more than 10 years ago and has also contributed to improved energy efficiencies.
More recently, the company implemented a production and maintenance tool at its Ulco facility in the Northern Cape to assist with load shifting, predominantly during peak demand periods. This tool has contributed significantly to energy saving and will be implemented at the company's other operations.
"We're also planning to introduce an energy efficiency initiative at AfriSam's central offices in Roodepoort that will see the installation of motion sensors, energy efficient lighting, solar geysers and solar panels.
"In addition, we're assisting our employees to become energy efficient in their homes by helping them to apply for Eskom-funded energy efficient lighting, showerheads, solar geysers and timers," Olivier said.
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