Monday, 27 June 2016 00:00

Karob Plastics drives behavioural change for energy efficiency

Karob Plastics is a Roodeport-based small to medium enterprise (SME) that implemented the first phase of Energy Management System (EnMS) in 2015 as a means of reducing the organisation’s energy consumption. Karob Plastics saved energy largely due to the participation of their employees as a result of an internal energy saving campaign.

The SME’s main energy source is electricity. The annual electricity bill approximated R3.5 million, while the usage is approximately 3.0 MWh per annum. Karob Plastics thus decided to pursue the ISO/SANS 50001 implementation approach and sign up with the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA)’s Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) Project for the first phase of EnMS implementation.

Karob Plastics recognised that they would achieve greater energy savings results by involving their employees in an energy saving campaign from the beginning. Karob Plastics implemented ‘Energy Efficiency Information Sessions’, where the employees were inspired to mobilise behind the organisation’s energy saving drive. In support of the energy saving campaign all employees started to:

  • Switch off lights that were not in use.
  • Turn-off equipment that was not in use, such as granulators.
  • Reported anything that they thought might lead to energy loss.
  • Used the provided suggestion boxes to submit their own energy saving ideas.  

To inspire greater participation from their employees, the organisation publicly recognised the enthusiasm of those employees that participated by acknowledging them and their suggestions. In so doing, Karob Plastics’ top management ensured the continued participation of the employees in the implementation of the energy savings campaign.

Over a period of 8 months, commencing from March to October 2015, Karob Plastics undertook energy savings projects that resulted in energy savings of 115 300 kWh, which valued at R135 500. A reduction of 110 tons CO2e was achieved. The projects were:

  • Granulators - Granulators powered when they are in use only. Additionally, the process of having one granulator operating per blow moulding machine was amended so that one granulator is operated per colour in use.
  • Blow moulder efficiencies - Production planning placed emphasis on maximising the use of newer and more energy efficient moulders.
  • Water heating - Based on an analysis of the usage of hot water, the geysers were switched off.
  • Lighting and general energy saving awareness - Switch off lights that are not in use.

A positive spin-off of the implementation of the EnMS at Karob Plastics was the improvement in their data management processes, this enabling better predictions of expected consumption against which the savings were verified. This led to Karob Plastics successfully lodging an appeal with the City of Johannesburg Ombudsman Power due to inaccurate billing and receiving a substantial refund.

Download the Karab Plastics case study here