This may seem daunting to the average citizen, but regardless of where Africa is in terms of energy policy, every person can do their part to reduce energy waste by using efficient products. But this is common knowledge, and most people are already doing everything they can to conserve energy. There are only so many products on the market they can buy.
If you’re an entrepreneur, this is where you come in.
Because consumers can only select from the products manufacturers produce, it’s really up to the product manufacturers to make the right choices during production to provide efficient options to consumers.
If you consider yourself an entrepreneur or an inventor designing products that require a motor, one of the simplest ways to make your product energy efficient is to use a brushless motor.
Popularised in 1993 by Makita in their power tools, the brushless motor adds performance and durability by allowing the tool to sense, for example, the lack of resistance when drilling into Styrofoam and will only pull the power it needs from the battery. This is opposed to a standard brush motor that pulls a large amount of charge from the battery, and doesn’t stop spinning until it uses all the power it’s pulled.
While brushless motors can be more expensive to manufacture, most people are happy to pay a little more for something that will last longer. And if you consider all of the household items that require a motor – like water pumps, air conditioners, hair dryers, fans, toys, and even blenders – there is a huge potential to save energy by producing these items with energy efficient brushless motors. In fact, some manufacturers are already doing it.
In 2008, South Africa was in an energy crisis and Eskom began introducing massive rolling blackouts in order to conserve electricity.
Although somewhat stable for a while, in 2014, Eskom couldn’t meet electricity demands and began yet another round of rolling blackouts. According to Economist.com, these blackouts hurt an already stagnant economy and every business from small to big felt the hit.
The problem was mostly due to old power stations with a lot of technical problems and overdue maintenance. And with Eskom being a state-run company, independent businesses couldn’t just sell them more power to help out.
South Africa knew it couldn’t sustain power for its people if they continued on the same path, and the pain from former experiences sparked an entirely new revolution with a focus on energy efficiency.
The amount of energy the country has been saving since 2008 is huge. For example, King Shaka International Airport received a makeover with energy efficient lighting and a tighter system for managing their air conditioning and now saves R2.8 million per year in energy costs. This upgrade also prevents 1,800 tons of carbon from being forced into the atmosphere every year.
But it’s not enough to rely on government leaders and other entities to save energy. Entrepreneurs on the verge of producing new products have a responsibility to create those products to be as efficient as possible and give people choices that will conserve more energy.
Preventing another energy crisis is possible when everyone becomes responsible from the top down. As an entrepreneur, if you can make just one change in the way you think and produce your goods, you can make a world of difference for everyone involved.