Businesses in the inner CBD embrace power-saving measures as insistent power cuts continue

The CCID said its Switch on to Switching Off project had the support of leading property developers, world-renowned restaurateurs and established merchants. Picture Ian Landsberg

The CCID said its Switch on to Switching Off project had the support of leading property developers, world-renowned restaurateurs and established merchants. Picture Ian Landsberg

Published Feb 20, 2024

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Cape Town - A power-saving initiative launched by the city of Cape Town’s Central Improvement District (CCID) is gaining momentum.

The campaign, which the CCID launched late last year, and aims to support businesses in the CBD to implement power-saving measures, further lessening the costliness of consistent power cuts on the businesses.

The CCID said its Switch on to Switching Off project had the support of leading property developers, world-renowned restaurateurs and established merchants.

A spokesperson for the CCID said the project was a step-by-step guide that recommended a variety of simple yet effective actions stakeholders who owned or rented property, or who worked lived or visited the CBD could take to save electricity.

She said: “These include energy audits to identify areas of high-energy consumption, upgrading to LED lighting, and optimising heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Promoting energy-saving behaviour, using energy-efficient office equipment and installing renewable energy systems.”

CCID board member and Thibault REIT COO Grant Elliott said that there seemed to be a misconception that conserving energy came at an additional expense.

“Generally speaking, energy conservation saves money in the long run. If money does need to be spent upfront, it will mostly create a return on the investment, especially if you consider where electricity prices are and are going to be. Income returns above bank interest rates are frequently achievable.

“One may think that unplugging one mobile phone charger when not in use makes no difference but multiply that by a million (people), and it does. Every single person and business needs to play their part and if you are a public company, you will be more than aware of the need for implementation and accurate reporting of ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) initiatives,” Elliot said.

The CCID power-saving initiative has brought on board various business personalities in the CBD, among them Neil Swart, the co-owner of the popular Harrington Street restaurants Belly of the Beast and Galjoen; Richard Harris, a third-generation owner and CEO of iconic leather wholesaler Woodheads; and renowned chef-patron Liam Tomlin, whose extensive restaurant portfolio includes CBD gems Chefs Warehouse at The Bailey, The Brasserie at The Bailey, The Old Bailey Lounge Bar, and The Red Room.

Harris said: “We have converted to LED lighting and switch off all our electricity at night except for the critical circuits. Our air conditioners are all the inverter type, and we don’t have any hot water geysers on the premises.”

Tomlin said: “The temperature fluctuations that come with power cuts can wreak havoc with fresh produce, and he has been forced to invest heavily in inverters, generators and solar at his restaurants.

“These are costs he must absorb, as adding them to customers’ bills would be highly damaging to his businesses. So, anybody who can do anything to make it better, I’m behind it 100%.”

Cape Argus

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