News & Events

Energy-saving focus helps ensure success of new Renico development

Alliance Heat Pumps selected for all 186 units in Ponders End
The new development, Ponders End, is situated in a valley very close to where gold was first discovered in the old Transvaal. The complex is located in the heart of Helderkruin and shares a boundary wall with the renowned Kloofendal Nature Reserve. The area was previously known as ‘Scorpion Valley’ – thus scorpion pictures form part of the Ponders End logo on the gate – and the development is situated in lovely natural surroundings.
“Despite a bit of opposition to the complex from residents in adjoining areas beforehand,” says Johan Louw, Sales Manager of Renico, “once they saw the quality of the construction, several have now bought units in the complex!” Construction began in in June 2015, and handover to residents took place in April 2016. At this stage, just 10 months after the start, 93% of the 186 units had already been sold – so it could truly be said that Renico ‘struck gold’ with this development in the current economic climate.
Water-heating costs reduced by two-thirds
One of the big attractions of Ponders End is its emphasis on energy saving. In view of the ever-increasing price of electricity, Renico made the decision to install Alliance Heat Pump Water Heaters, supplied by Fourways Airconditioning. Quizzed on why Alliance Heat Pumps were chosen, Louw simply remarked with a smile: “We’ve learned our lesson before with cheapies. As they say in Afrikaans, ‘Goedkoop is duurkoop’. And regarding the service we’ve had from Fourways, well, we’ve absolutely no complaints whatsoever.” 
186 3.2 kW Alliance Heat Pumps were installed on the 2 and 3-bedroomed units. For ease of maintenance, the retrofitted units were positioned next to 150-litre geysers, with access from outside. With a COP of 3.7, the Heat Pumps reduce water-heating costs by two-thirds or more resulting in substantial electricity-savings for owners.
Comments Wil Jansen, director of Alliance: “Our Alliance Heat Pumps are manufactured by one of the world’s largest Heat Pump manufacturers who employ over 300 senior engineers, and accreditations include ISO 9000/1, ISO 1400/1, CE and TuV-approval as well as Six Sigma.”.”

Heat Pump Water Heaters vs. Traditional Boilers

Many manufacturing processes require heated water. Typically, the use of boilers has been used to perform this vital process. However, boilers are not as energy-efficient, safe, or cost-efficient as heat pumps. The heat pump unit has become widely established as a new alternative to conventional water boilers. A heat pump system has advantages over a boiler in several ways. One important consideration is the costs associated with using it. Typically, heat pump cost is considerably better than the cost of heating water with boilers. The coefficient of performance, or COP, of boilers is 1.0. This means that for every 1 Kw of electricity inputted, the boiler will output 1 Kw of heat energy. The COP of a heat pump water heater is 4.0, making this system 4 times more efficient. This can amount to substantial energy savings.
Other considerations include ease of use and safety. Heat pump systems are automatic; once set up properly, the system can run with little observation required. Traditional boilers, on the other hand, require manual oversight. In addition, heat pumps are much less dangerous. They are much better for the environment, and even have a dual use: while boilers are used to only heat liquids, heat pumps can heat air as well as water. This results in cost savings for two separate tasks. Due to these many advantages of the heat pump system, as time goes by the traditional boiler will likely become obsolete. If you’re looking to make your company greener while saving money on electricity, you should look into replacing your boilers with heat pumps.

SA's biggest electricity consumers

The non-ferrous metals (aluminium) and gold mining industries are the single largest consumers of electricity in South Africa. As such, they are important drivers of the overall demand for electricity. This is one of the interesting facts to emerge from a Deloitte Study on the economic impact of electricity increases on various sectors of the economy. The 2012 study provided a consolidated view based on findings of existing research. Eskom commissioned the Deloitte study as part of its preparation for the third Multi-Year Price Determination (MYPD 3) process. In the context of rising electricity prices, the overall objective of the study was to contribute towards a better understanding of the potential impact that further electricity price increases could have on the various sectors of the economy.
According to the study, gold and non-ferrous metals (aluminium) account for 25% of the total electricity consumption in South Africa, but make a relatively small direct contribution to GDP (only 4%), according to data from Statistics South Africa. By definition, energy-intensive sectors like gold mining, non-ferrous metals, soap and pharmaceuticals add relatively little value to the economy (in terms of GDP) per unit of energy consumed. However, the study notes that the overall contribution of these sectors to GDP also depends on their linkages to sectors in the economy. “For example, while the direct contribution of the mining and quarrying industry to GDP is only 6%, it is linked to a number of other economic sectors (e.g. engineering, financial and business services, banking, construction, transport, manufacturing etc.). Thus, its indirect contribution to GDP would be significantly higher.” As noted in Frost and Sullivan (June 2011), South Africa’s top 15 sector-consumers of electricity also contribute 45% of GDP. As mentioned earlier, non-ferrous metals and gold mining sectors consume the most power, yet only make a relatively small contribution to gross domestic product (GDP). In contrast, the wholesale\retail trade sector is one of the largest consumers of electricity, but makes an even larger proportional contribution to GDP.
Economic growth (income), states the study, has been the dominant driver of electricity consumption in South Africa over the past two decades. By contrast, the impact of electricity prices has been negligible. However, the responsiveness of electricity consumption to prices has not been constant over time. As prices rise beyond certain ‘threshold’ levels, it is likely they will once again have a greater impact on consumption. In terms of the key drivers of electricity consumption, the Deloitte study states that the demand for electricity is based on several factors that ‘differ in terms of both their levels of significance and complexity.’ Nevertheless, at a macroeconomic level, income and price are the key drivers of electricity consumption. Commenting on the outlook for energy consumption, the study says it seems unlikely that increasing prices or higher uptake of energy efficiency measures will be sufficient to offset the impact of rising national income on the demand for electricity over the next decade. It is however, not clear what impact structural effects will have on demand – i.e. whether they will have a positive or negative impact. This takes into consideration the considerable differences in opinion regarding electricity intensity trends of the South African economy. Economic growth is also likely to remain this country’s primary electricity consumption driver for the near future. Analysts predict that GDP will expand at an annual average rate of 4% from 2012 to 2015. Given that the income elasticity of electricity demand is estimated to be around 1.2 (approximately unit elastic), the demand for electricity would rise at a similar rate to GDP in the absence of other influences.
Reducing energy consumption is usually associated with technological changes, but can also result from ‘non-technical factors’ such as more effective organisation and management or improved economic conditions in the sector. Improvements in energy efficiency are recognised as one of the most economical means of achieving a reduction in energy costs and demand (Inglesi-Lotz & Blignaut, 2011). These improvements entail a reduction in the energy used for a given service (e.g. heating and lighting) or level of activity. It may therefore be wise that Eskom heed the words of Inglesi and Blignaut (2011) that the ‘importance of electricity efficiency cannot be overstated.’ We therefore recommend the usage of a heat pump for all commercial or industrial application. 

Key Tips for Maintaining Your Heat Pump

While some people attempt to use their heat pumps without giving them proper maintenance, they are simply shortening the lifespan of their pump. A heat pump system must be given adequate treatment and attention in order to continue to function well. While your Heat Pumps needs to be professionally serviced at least once a year, here are some key tips for keeping your heat pump working in optimal condition.

  1. Check to ensure that all parts of the refrigeration system are working properly. Damaged pipes may cause the refrigerant to leak, rendering the heat pump ineffective.
  2. When manually switching the heat pump on and off, make sure to allow at least two minutes between switching.
  3. Use the manual to help you select the right size fuse for your heat pump. If you choose the wrong size of fuse, it won’t be able to protect your heap pump unit.
  4. Perform a routine check to ensure that the power is operating correctly.
  5. It is important to keep the electrical system away from damp in order to prevent electrical damage from occurring. Be sure to guard the pump system against rain.
  6. If you notice any abnormal noises arising from the heat pump unit, turn the pump off and have it checked before using it again.

You can minimize your heat pump cost by taking care of your unit. With the proper care, your heat pump system will function well for many years to come.

Heat Pump Swimming Pool Heaters

There are a number of reasons why pools are installed such as family fun, exercise, entertaining and possibly even for therapeutic reasons. However, if a pool is without heating, it is often too cold to enjoy. A heated pool will allow you the freedom to enjoy it all season and perhaps even all year round, thereby increasing the return on your sizable investment.

Heat pumps have become an increasingly popular method of heating swimming pools. Heat pumps operates on the same principle as a refrigerator, except it works in reverse which means heating rather than cooling and it also consumes a modest amount of electricity. Depending on warmer climates, heat pumps can be supplied that cools the water as well as heating it.

Heat pumps do not generate heat, it uses electricity to capture heat and then transmits it from one point to the other.

Water that is drawn from the pool passes through the filter and the heat pump heater as the pool pump circulates the pool’s water. The fan of the heat pump heater is responsible for drawing in the outside air and directing it over the evaporator coil. Heat from the outside air becomes a gas after it is absorbed by liquid refrigerant within the evaporator coil. Warm gas within the coil then passes through the compressor which increases the heat creating a very hot gas that then passes through the condenser. The heat from the hot gas is transferred by the condenser to the cooler pool water circulating through the heater allowing the heated water to return to the pool. The whole process begins again when the hot gas flows through the condenser coil, returning to liquid form and back to the evaporator. To reduce evaporation and heat loss with any type of pool heater, it is advisable to use an insulating pool cover at night.

Scroll compressors versus the Reciprocal compressors of standard units are usually used by higher efficiency heat pump pool heaters.

In order for heat pump pool heaters to work efficiently, always ensure that the outside temperature remains above the 7 ° C - 10 ° C range. More energy is used when the outside air they draw in is cooler. However, this shouldn’t be an issue since most people use outdoor swimming pools during warm and mild weather.