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Introduction to the Integrated Renewable Energy and Resource Efficiency Programme

iREREP is the official national Programme for Resource Efficiencies and Renewable Energy for Government facilities in a bid to meet sustainability targets of Government and South Africa at Large. Delivery of the Programme is anchored across the 5 key themes: centralised governance, security of supply, budget rationalization, socio-economic development, and environmental sustainability



In terms of the Government Immovable Asset Management Act 19 of 2007, the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (“DPWI”) is the mandated custodian and portfolio manager of Government’s immovable assets. In this regard, the Department is responsible for planning, acquiring, managing and disposing of immovable assets in the Department’s custody.


The DPWI is the largest property owner in South Africa covering 37 million square meters (sqm) over more than 92,000 facilities. The DPWI’s 10.1 million in office space accounts for 35% of the total office space in South Africa.


The DPWI property portfolio is the largest property portfolio in the country is responsible for the consumption of a significant amount of electricity and water and the generation of a significant amount of waste. Recent studies place annual electricity and water consumption at an estimated 4021 Gigawatt hours and 39 million kilolitres respectively, with over 822 kilotons of waste generated. This equates to an average annual expenditure on electricity and water of R2.4 billion and R1.8 billion respectively. This large property portfolio is at the core of the DPWI’s vision and mission of ensuring convenient access to dignified public services through effective management of the State’s immovable assets to contribute towards economic and social development and transformation of the built environment.


In addition to the massive financial impact that utilities have on the DPWI, its budget and the continued operations of Government, the consumption of electricity, water and production of waste have massive environmental impacts. In 2018 the Department reported that over a third (⅓) of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions arise from building construction and operations and over a third (⅓) of all energy and material resources are used to build and operate buildings. Additionally, over a third (⅓) of the total waste produced results from construction and demolition activities.


The DPWI’s responsibilities in promoting Section 24 of the Constitution include protecting the environment from the effects of climate change. The phenomenon of climate change refers to the greenhouse effect which is the ongoing trend of changes in the earth’s general weather conditions as a result of an average rise in the temperature of the earth’s surface primarily due to the increased concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, etc) in the atmosphere.


In line with section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the Department is a key player in ensuring environmental sustainability within the built environment. The Department’s responsibilities in this regard include protecting the environment from the effects of climate change and achieving the targets the South African government has set in the National Development Plan 2030, the Energy and Climate Change Strategy in the Public Building Sector and National Energy Efficiency Strategy for South Africa post 2015 in respect of energy savings, renewable energy generation, water savings, reduction in CO2 and waste by 2030 and 2050.


In order to contribute to the above goals, the DPWI adopted the Green Building Framework, 2011 and a Green Building Policy, 2015, which provide an overview of the national vision, principles, trends and strategic priority areas for a sustainable building and construction sector, and also provide guidelines for the implementation of green building programmes, transitioning to a low carbon economy and the implementation of energy efficiency programmes. The DPWI has also translated the above goals into the strategic objective for ensuring resource efficiency in Government-owned buildings, by implementing water, energy and waste management plans. This will entail the reduction of energy and water consumption, and waste generation in identified state-owned buildings as well as the generation of several kilowatt hours of renewable energy.


The Programme has been designated as Strategic Integrated Project 28 - Photovoltaic (PV) and Water Savings on Government Buildings, by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, in terms of section 8(1)(a) read with section 7(1) of the Infrastructure Development Act 23 of 2014 and is aimed at procuring private sector energy service companies to roll out energy efficiency (including solar geysers), water efficiency, alternative waste management and embedded solar PV, and other renewable energy solutions throughout the Department’s property portfolio.


The Programme will be carried out in two (2) phases, with Phase I being aimed at 45% - 50% of the Department’s property portfolio and will include approximately twenty (20) Facilities. Phase II of the Programme will target the remainder of the property portfolio, with implementation of the Programme expected to be carried out over a thirty (30) year period.


The DPWI’s unwavering commitment to creating world class programmes that can serve as benchmarks for resource efficiency is anchored by a dedicated Project Office, namely, the Innovation Project Preparation and Development Office (IPPDO). The Office is led by a Steering Committee comprising of DPWI and National Treasury’s Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), who in turn are supported by Transaction Advisors who have experience in delivering large scale projects of this nature.