Since 1985, Eskom has been rewarding excellence in energy efficiency with their eta Awards. These prestigious awards recognise exceptional effort in the more efficient use of energy by businesses, industry and even individuals, encouraging people all over the country, in whatever capacity, to do their part in contributing to a “greener” world.
The independent panel of judges includes experts from South African universities and other bodies like the Green Building Council and the Da Vinci Institute, as well as several specialists in the energy efficiency arena.
This talented and dedicated panel of judges includes members who have been involved in the eta Awards since their inception in 1985. Their continued involvement in the project says much about the excellent work that the awards are doing in creating awareness and encouraging energy efficiency.
One such judge is Dr Dieter Holm, who has been a judge in the eta Awards since the very beginning. It was his passion and vision that led to the establishment of the awards.
Dr Holm says: “Johann Basson and I had been running a successful energy efficiency competition prior to the Eskom eta awards because we knew that South Africa is habitually very energy inefficient. The cheap energy in the past has not made us internationally more competitive, but has attracted dirty industries and created a habit of energy wastage. This we expected would lead to bottlenecks sooner or later. Practising what I preach, I built our energy efficient home in 1974. The benefits were astounding! We then approached Eskom for sponsorship and they responded positively.
“I was encouraged to continue my involvement because of the success of this initiative and because we are still in need of much more awareness and action in energy efficiency,” he adds.
Dr Holm qualified as an architect at the University of Pretoria where he obtained his masters and doctoral degrees. He became Head of the Department of Architecture and directed the Postgraduate Studies and Research of the Faculty of the Built Environment. He is a council member of the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa and Secretary of the International Solar Energy Society.
Currently, he is a consultant in sustainable development in the built environment. He and his family live at the Hartbeespoort Dam near Pretoria. Next to passive solar heating, heat rejection and day lighting their home also features rainwater harvesting, solar water heating and recycling as well as solar cooking and baking. PV panels power the household and his office.
Dr Holm is a believer in practising what he preaches.
He believes it is important for individuals, businesses and industries to enter the eta Awards because doing so “creates awareness with the entrants but also with policy decision makers who should lead by example.”
Dr Holm goes on to say: “Implementing energy efficiency is cheaper and faster than building new power stations. This is crucial from a national economy and ecology point of view.”
If one needed further reasons to enter, he reminds us that the competition also offers an opportunity for benchmarking one’s energy use. In addition, the awards offer great publicity to the winners, not to mention the prize money.
He has been involved in the awards for so long because he is constantly inspired by their success.
“My speciality is energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings,” he says. “Globally, buildings account for more than a third of national energy consumption, and they outlast power stations. My passion is to do something about it. It gives me great pleasure to be involved with like-minded people.”