Environmental/Green Issues

Benmore Gardens Shopping Centregoes eco-wise

22 Jul 2009 - eProp - Benmore Gardens SC


Benmore Gardens is the first shopping centre in South Africa toimplement I-Energy, an innovative wireless management system that enablescentre management to monitor and control their electricity consumption Rather than waiting for impending legislation that is set to compelcompanies to implement such electricity saving measures, Benmore Gardens haschosento be pro-active in its commitment towards the well-being of thecommunity and the environment in which it operates.  Trevor Matthews, Portfolio Manager for owners Fountainhead PropertyTrust, said the implementation of this ground-breaking system coincided witht he centre’s recent R200-million refurbishment.

“With the pending amendments to the legislation and the recent Eskomtariff increases, we decided that we needed to find a sophisticated andefficient way of limiting our electricity usage. We have to effect savings inelectricity consumption and encourage and measure those savings on behalf of the tenants,” he said, emphasizing that the decision was mostly motivated by concerns forthe environment but also by possible legislative penalties. With I-Energy (Intelligent Energy), the main aim is to help electricityusers to manage their consumption, particularly during peak periods. Thisensures cost savings for both the electricity client and the supplying utility, andreduces pollution. Measures to ensure environmental benefits are becoming increasinglyimportant. In recent years, energy efficiency has significantly gained instature, and has become recognized as one of the most cost-effective ways of meetingthe demands of sustainable development. The I-Energy wireless and integrated energy efficient managementsolution is a product developed by CSI Technology PTY (Ltd), a South African company.80% of the components of the system are made in South Africa. In developing this advanced system, CSI Technologies aligned itself witha German wireless technology provider, ScatterWeb GmbH and with Anhalt Computer GmbH, a German IT Company. Anhalt Computer GmbH has sinceseconded one of its experts to CSI’s South African office, resulting in thetransferof essential knowledge and skills. The primary focus of I-Energy is its integrated information managementsystem. This solution is locally developed, and mainly aimed at contributingtowards overcoming our country’s energy crisis.

I-Energy is built on a wireless network platform, which offers featuressuch as real-time and historical energy monitoring and management. It allows Benmore Gardens Management to view the electricity consumption – online– on an interactive website. The website will provide Management with accessto other information as well, and the means to control certainappliances. Moreover, the intelligent network will notify Management of any outagecaused by vandalism, human interference or acts of nature. It will also pick upany illegal connections and alert Management accordingly.

In the future, the I-Energy solution could be scaled to provide onlinedata such as temperature, humidity or signals from glass moving and vibrationdetectors. According to Benmore Gardens centre manager, Sandy Turner, “Theinvestment in our recent refurbishment makes perfect sense when we knowcustomerswill be entering a mall designed to not only be pleasing to the eye butalso convenient, secure, effective and now with the I-energy system, energyefficient
and environmentally friendly as well.”