Nedbank opens wind powered branch

On 31 March 2011, in News, by Andrew Bennett

Cape Town – While one would probably not associate Du Noon with renewable energy, this township just outside of Cape Town recently became the home of SA’s first wind-powered bank branch.

Forming part of the Nedbank stable, the 160m² branch in the heart of Du Noon employs six staff members and features a tall, slender wind turbine.

“The turbine has a capacity of 1kW and generates about 35% of the electricity required for the branch’s operations,” said Ralph Steward, Nedbank’s head of channel infrastructure, at the official opening.

“The turbine is hooked to four batteries, which enable us to store the electricity. In case of a power outage, we can continue working for about four to seven hours,” he added.

“We chose Du Noon as the location for our first wind-powered branch because of the wind conditions and wind patterns, and because of the openness of the area. There are no tall buildings that obstruct the wind and make it change directions.”

Energy efficient
According to Steward, equipping the Du Noon branch with a wind turbine was not a tremendously expensive adventure.

“The turbine cost us just under R200 000 rand. If we had chosen a generator, it would have cost us R350 000,” he explained.

“With regards to return on investment, it is difficult to say when we will break even,” Steward noted.

“We are still in the process of making the branch even more energy efficient, for instance by targeting the air conditioning system and the lighting. Our goal is for the wind turbine to eventually cover 50% of the branch’s electricity needs.”

When asked whether or not Nedbank would add solar panels to the mix, Steward said that the group had looked into it, but had decided not to.

“According to various companies that have looked at installing solar panels, [they] often get stolen, which makes going green a very expensive operation.”

The Du Noon office might be the first, but it would not be the last wind-powered Nedbank branch.

Steward said: “We are looking at other branches in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. But before we do that, we want to get it right in Du Noon. There is a lot to learn.”


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