From its first solar installation in 2015, JSE-listed real estate investment trust (Reit) Stor-Age has now invested more than R170 million in solar systems across its 86-property portfolio.
The self-storage property fund has solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed at 30 of its properties – 26 in South Africa and four in the United Kingdom.
It says these installations have generated over 2.2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in solar power, equivalent to providing electricity to over 2 400 homes for a month. The company says its total solar PV system size is an estimated 840kWh.
“In line with our continued focus on reducing our carbon footprint, 30 of our 86 properties are now fitted with solar photovoltaic installations, with an additional 14 properties in both markets identified for solar investment,” says Stor-Age chief marketing officer Chris Oosthuizen.
“We remain committed to further reducing the already low environmental impact of our properties in South Africa and the UK.”
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The Reit plans to invest a further R8 million in renewable energy over the medium term.
“We are not only focused on solar PV,” says Oosthuizen. “For newly acquired trading properties, we aim to install solar PV panels and LED lighting where not already installed, and implement waste management initiatives.”
He says a range of initiatives is in play for new developments, including harvesting rainwater, ensuring a general reduction of CO2 emissions wherever possible, minimising waste, and sourcing building materials from responsible local suppliers.
Stor-Age says water consumption is also a major focus area.
It has continued rolling out water-saving initiatives, including the installation of an online monitoring system that identifies abnormal use or leakages in real time across its portfolio.
It says 46 properties are currently connected to water monitoring systems, with another five set to be added to this in the short term. The Reit ultimately hopes to connect its entire SA portfolio.
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Stor-Age recently completed a carbon footprint report across its portfolio, which found that its renewable energy use led to an estimated 13% reduction in its total carbon footprint in South Africa.
It says the report highlighted that over 1 677 tonnes of CO2 emissions were avoided through the consumption of on-site solar PV electricity.
“While total power demand across the portfolio is increasing, emissions generated through municipal electricity consumption are following a downward trend as a result of the investment into renewable energy capacity,” it notes.
Oosthuizen says as the Reit expands its footprint in both markets, so its solar PV installations will expand.
“Our buildings are more than just bricks and mortar. We strive to improve each and every aspect of our properties to not only comply with changing environmental legislation but to set the highest standard for sustainability in the self-storage sector.”
Listen to Suren Naidoo and GBCSA CEO Lisa Reynolds discussing the exponential growth of green building (or read the highlights here):
This article originally appeared on Moneyweb and was republished with permission.
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