Hybrid energy solutions for buildings - lessons from auto industry?

Posted On Thursday, 14 June 2012 11:25 Published by
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Property developers need to increasingly consider developing hybrid buildings that are able to run off a hybrid-designed base, managing a mixture of technologies - including traditional and next-generation energy sources - just as vehicle manufacturers are successfully doing with the increasing number of hybrid models coming off assembly lines.

This is according to Org Geldenhuys, managing director of property development and management company, Abacus DIVISIONS. “Environmentally friendly buildings are becoming the vogue – and this trend will continue, ultimately making this building style the mainstream choice. Property developers need to be cognisant of this fact, and be aware that retrofitting conventional buildings that are not built as hybrids – or as green-potential buildings – is a very expensive task.

“Buildings,” he said, “need to be run off a hybrid energy solution – one that, for instance, is able to intelligently make use of solar and wind power, as well as normal Eskom electricity. But if developers believe it is important to go the hybrid route, this should be designed and installed  from the beginning. Retrofitting buildings to include these different technologies is not really a viable option.”

Geldenhuys said there are an array of energy sources that need to be considered when developing a property, or office park, including generators, solar power, wind power, hydro power and Eskom power. “All these various forms of energy need to be considered, and potentially harnessed, in all modern-day buildings. “

The Porsche Cayenne successfully embodies the hybrid principle:

Commenting further on the successes of the “hybrid approach” championed by some motor manufacturers, Geldenhuys said a “good example” has been successfully embodied by Porsche in its Porsche Cayenne range. The Cayenne SUV comes with the parallel full hybrid drive – for lower fuel consumption on the road. However, on the other side of the coin, it also comes with more power for the race track in the form of the front-axle hybrid with flywheel accumulator in the new 911 GT3 R Hybrid. These two interpretations bring with it an overall efficiency solution, while still maintaining the look and feel of the Porsche brand. 

Geldenhuys said the Porsche Cayenne is a “working example” of just how a hybrid energy approach can work successfully – “on the ground”.

“The same approach can be manifested successfully when it comes to buildings. It is the way of the future.”

Last modified on Thursday, 14 June 2012 11:56

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