With Earth Day just around the corner (22 April), the O&L Group Sustainability & Utilities Support Manager, Erwin Stegmann, has expressed satisfaction with the progress the group is making towards reducing its carbon footprint.
Stegmann says: “Having a vision metric of reducing our carbon footprint by 20% by 2019, has created the necessary momentum within the O&L Group to do what is right for the environment – be it the installation of energy-saving lights throughout the O&L Group, the biomass boiler at Namibia Breweries, the biogas plant at Namibia Dairies’ Super Farm, or Pick n Pay’s efforts to grow veggies locally – everybody is working towards sustainable environmental practices.”
So far, according to Stegmann, the lights at nine Pick n Pay (PnP) stores in the country have already been replaced with energy saving lights.
“The process will continue until all PnP stores in the country are running on these energy saving lights that already sees a saving of at least 10 percent electricity usage at the nine stores.”
Other O&L subsidiaries that have undergone the installation of energy saving lights include Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) and Hangana Seafood.
Broll Namibia has also started installing energy saving florescent lights, with successful installations having been done at Wernhil Park, the O&L Centre and the Alexander Forbes Building Parkade.
Namibia Breweries is in the process of installing a biomass boiler at their Windhoek production plant. The boiler, which is imported from Austria, will allow the brewery to replace 80% of the current 3 600 tons of heavy fuel oil used per year with wood chips from invader bush in Namibia.
NBL has invested N$50 million into this initiative.
NBL’s Engineering Manager Bernd Esslinger said that NBL’s plan is to use 7500 tons of wood chips per year, which will replace 3100 tons of oil.
Esslinger said: “This is cost efficient in the long term, however it is primarily driven from our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint,” he said, adding that the company is investing in sustainability.
Esslinger further said that the boiler would deliver an 8 000 ton per annum reduction in carbon emissions.
“The boiler is in line with O&L’s group strategy to move towards renewable energy and to continue finding solutions that are more environmentally friendly and enhance sustainability. Wood harvesting is done by an O&L company called Organic Energy Solutions, which has implemented world class technology in harvesting invader bush and in so doing not only support renewable energy generation, but also optimize land use. This boiler, which joins NBL’s other existing boilers, is the biggest wood boiler in the country and is something new for the brewery. The one year project was started last June and work is expected to be completed in June of this year.”
The boiler is an additional effort by NBL to the solar plant installed more than two years ago that generates approximately 1.7 million kWh of electricity per annum and thus reduces the carbon footprint by 1700 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent units per annum.
Furthermore, at its Super Farm in Mariental, Namibia Dairies (ND) is in the process of implementing a system which will see cow dung converted into biogas to generate electricity. This will allow the dairy farm to be self-sufficient in terms of their electricity needs with some redundancy that could be provided to the grid. There is also an additional benefit to produce fertilizer.
PnP Namibia and Natural Value Foods also run a venture at Otavifontein, whereby vegetables are grown locally for supply to PnP stores throughout the country.
According to Stegmann, this contributes to the reduction of transport use for imports from other countries, thus saving on the use of fuel.
Stegmann added: “This project also strongly supports the national Growth-at-Home agenda and is in line with the O&L Group value of Naturally Today, For Tomorrow.”
According to O&L Group Environmental Manager, Gloudi de Beer, process optimization and ongoing focus on efficiencies sees all operations constantly monitoring the use of water, electricity and other energy components – cooling systems, transportation, heating systems.
“Thus, by constantly monitoring and measuring efficiencies, we are able to identify opportunities for further saving – in so doing reduce our carbon footprint.”
When asked what next, Stegmann said: “PnP Namibia is in the process of looking into installing new generation refrigeration systems, which will contribute immensely to energy saving. This will also be explored for other operations such as Hangana Seafood and Namibia Dairies. In reducing the carbon footprint attributed to the fuel used by its fishing vessels, Hangana Seafood has made tremendous progress through innovation, and is exploring further options to further reduce its carbon footprint.”