New energy-efficiency hub on cards for SA

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A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on Wednesday opening the way for the establishment of the so-called South African Regional Energy Efficiency Centre (SAREEC), which is expected to begin operations within 24 months.
Once developed, the centre will offer research and information, as well as energy-efficiency product validation for builders, designers, architects, utilities, governments and manufacturers.
The MoU was concluded between the South African National Energy Research Institute (Saneri), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Association of Architectural Aluminium Manufacturers of South Africa (Aaamsa).
The purpose of the agreement was to facilitate the establishment of a centre for testing of the energy efficiency performance of building-envelope components, as well as to provide a Southern African hub for research and development. Its creation would be funded through various local and foreign entities.
The centre would house a testing laboratory, as well as training facilities and would be developed within the existing infrastructure of the CSIR, incorporating expertise from the built environment and the natural resources and the environment units.
Saneri CEO Kevin Nasiep, CSIR research and development group executive Dr Thulani Dlamini, and Aaamsa executive director Hans Schefferlie would be responsible for the establishment of the centre.
The MoU recognised that the SAREEC would: 
• Share technical cooperation at various levels and provide information on energy-efficient building technology.
• Facilitate commercial activities to provide services, products and processes related to energy efficiency (including the introduction and transfer of advanced technologies from overseas) through joint ventures and foreign investment.
• Organise training and demonstration projects on energy-efficiency.
• Coordinate and develop educational activities in energy-efficiency, including distribution of publications, public education, and training classes and seminars.
• Document and publish energy efficiency case studies online.
• Provide the basis for quality energy efficiency programmes that boost local economic activity.
• And, meet the needs of building owners and operators, engineers, architects and utilities.
Schefferlie said that efforts would also be made to avoid duplication of work and structures.”The centre will carry out quality programmes that will support the local industry,” said Dlamini, who added that the signing of the MoU was like an engagement, and the marriage would come when the implementation was evident.
“I look forward to the honeymoon, when we see the results,” quipped National Energy Efficiency Agency operations manager Barry Bredenkamp, looking to the future of the centre.
He emphasised that the centre was not looking to detract from any of the established standards and safety testing entities, but would test the energy efficiency claims made by suppliers, so as to avoid consumers buying products that may not offer the results that they claim.

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