Young South Africans scoop Eskom awards for energy-saving innovations

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James Garisch, Laenita Laubscher and the children and staff from Tonga View Primary School, Mpumalanga, all walked away with top prizes at the Eskom eta Awards held recently in Johannesburg.

In partnership with the Department of Energy, the Eskom eta Awards recognises ordinary citizens for their excellence and innovation in energy efficiency in their respective environments. (The word eta comes from the Greek symbol for efficiency, hence the name of the awards.)

Entries were accepted in eight different categories and the winner of each category received a cash prize of R30 000, while the runners-up get R5 000 each.

Sixteen-year-old Garisch received an award for his solar kit for households, while grade 10 learner, Laubscher, won with her fireplace heating and cooking system for the home. Tonga View Primary School received a prize for their smoke-free, energy efficient stoves which are fuelled by briquettes made from discarded maize porridge.

“In South Africa we have always tackled problems head on and we have a wealth of skills and talent in a variety of areas. This combination is proving particular strong when tackling issues of energy efficiency,” Doctor Steve Lennon, Eskom Group executive of sustainability said at the awards ceremony. ” More and more South Africans are looking for ways to save energy every year. From learners who want to make a difference at school, households who are cutting costs, and large companies are working hard to cut their expenses; at the Eskom eta Awards we applaud these people.”

The winners in the other six categories are:

  • Residential: Sun International for the installation of a solar geyser system in the staff premises
  • Commercial: UGU Engineering Solutions for the energy efficiency system installed at Ackermans stores across the country
  • Industrial: I&J and Energy Partners for the overhaul at the I&J ice making plant
  • Innovation: ERA Architects for their home installation
  • Energy savings in households: Emmett Green for reducing his energy consumption and Jay van Deventer for his net positive home
  • Energy efficiency awareness: Green Building Council of SA for their “My Green Home” TV series
  • Community: Tonga View Primary School for their smoke-free Syngas stoves and TSiBA Education for their institutionalisation of energy savings

[Image – Eskom eta Awards]