Energy reduction at Avis saves thousands

Avis has appointed energy management company, Energy Cybernetics, to accurately measure its energy usage.

Online PR News – 23-December-2010 – – Avis has appointed energy management company, Energy Cybernetics, to accurately measure its energy usage.

It’s not easy to establish what areas of your business are using the most energy without implementing an effective measurement and verification system. That’s why
Avis appointed energy management company, Energy Cybernetics, to accurately measure its energy usage.

This initiative forms part of Avis’ greater sustainability programme, which has seen it become South Africa’s first “carbon neutral” car rental company and implement water saving measures that save over 75-million litres of water every year.

Energy Cybernetics initially installed three metres at the car rental company’s head office precinct in Isando, Johannesburg, to conduct a baseline audit, which provided a reference point from which to quantify energy management impacts. Armed with this information, Avis was then in a better position to implement various energy management and optimisation initiatives.
Avis sustainability manager, Jessica Branco, says the baseline audit measured real-time energy usage and allowed Avis to identify problem areas. “The audit established when and where the energy peaks or surges were occurring. We could then investigate why this was happening and take the necessary action,” she says.

In addition to making energy visible and creating awareness of energy consumption and efficiency, the metering system also provides Avis with data that can be used to check the accuracy of its energy bills. In addition, it provides automatic notification when certain user-defined thresholds have been exceeded.

Branco says when the energy audit was conducted at head office the team noted that energy consumption remained high during the night. “We discovered that lights were left on in the building at night. This was largely due to some floors being controlled by one main switch, which meant that if one person was working, all the lights on that floor were on.

“Just by walking around and switching lights off, we saved 14 kilowatt hours in one night compared to the previous night. We worked out that this would equate to a saving of about R2,500 per month. We are in the process of converting our buildings into more energy efficient buildings and will be installing motion sensors, timers and individual switches, which will address this problem. In the meantime, we are focusing on changing staff behaviour to rectify the situation.” says Branco.

The energy measurement also highlighted that Avis’ wash bay area (manned by a few people) was using more energy than its office building that housed over 300 people. After a thorough investigation, the car rental company discovered the dryers in the wash bay were using unprecedented amounts of electricity.

“We decided to conduct a test and switched the dryers off. We saved on average 1,500 kilowatt hours per day, which equates to a saving of R1000 per day. We asked ourselves how important it was to use the dryers and haven’t switched them on again. The water flows off the cars effectively due to the wax in the water and the windows are dried by hand,” says Branco.

She points out that in some instances it really doesn’t make sense to use dryers at all. “On rainy days, cars are washed, dried and then driven out into the rain, which is a tremendous waste of electricity. In places like Cape Town, which experiences high winter rainfall, it doesn’t make sense to use the dryers at all during those periods.”

With energy reduction initiatives well underway at Isando, Energy Cybernetics has been tasked with installing meters at Avis’ Cape Town and Durban regional offices with a view to implementing similar measures there.