First Look Blog

Articles written by the First Look team.


Published by Ken Nunes on 16/07/2015

During an internal discussion yesterday (15th July 2015), analysing the real-time data being received from the various remote electricity and water measuring devices installed at schools by Suntricity, Hendry van Branden (CEO Suntricity), coined the term, BASE WASTE, relating to water and electricity being consumed, while no one is at the schools.

(This of course is the case in any building, be it office, clinic, factory, home, supermarket, etc, etc, etc…)

Having discussed Benchmarks, Base-Loads, a host of KPI's, and technical jargon (like, plug loads, vampire consumption and what what...there seem to be a term for everything) over the last months, continually analysing monitoring data, and comparing Municipal water bills, it became very obvious there exist a (not small) level of unattended and on-going consumption waste (leaking toilets, dripping taps, drip tray flushes, etc) while no one is at schools: during the night, weekends, holidays, etc, which is perfectly defined as BASE WASTE.

We will look to establish the scale of Base Waste, although we need to understand the following:

  • The schools year is approximately 200 days;
  • School hours are between (exaggeratedly) 7AM and 4PM (i.e. 9hours);
  • The effective hours of the school year is therefore approximately 1 800 hours.
  • There are 8 760 hours in each year. (24 x 365)
  • Which means, schools are “open for business” for (a generous) 25% of the year, allowing for some other activities, such as: exams, SGB meetings, events, etc.

Consumption while the school is closed is WASTE, although in the case of electricity, there is a need for certain equipment to be functioning, such as: alarms, security lighting (internal and external), security systems, refrigerators, and much more. This we can refer to as Base-Load, consumption that is essential to maintain the good functioning of the school outside school hours.

However, in the case of water, all consumption outside school hours is WASTE.

It therefore follows that any water consumption during the 75% period when no one is at the school is “BASE WASTE.