Committing to positive change

2019-05-01 06:02
Unveiling the solar project is Brian Unsted (Liberty Two Degrees, Asset Management Executive), Melanie Veness (CEO, Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business) and Desmond Heunis (General Manager, Liberty Midlands Mall).PHOTOS: supplied

Unveiling the solar project is Brian Unsted (Liberty Two Degrees, Asset Management Executive), Melanie Veness (CEO, Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business) and Desmond Heunis (General Manager, Liberty Midlands Mall).PHOTOS: supplied

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SHOWING off their dedication to sustainable energy, representatives of Liberty Two Degrees and Liberty Group (co-owners of Liberty Midlands Mall) took members of the media on a tour of their R12 million solar photovoltaic (PV) plant at the Pietermaritzburg centre.

The plant’s completion was announced on March 30 to coincide with Earth Hour and marks the Liberty Group’s conscious investment in sustainable energy, symbolising management’s commitment to positive environmental change and sustainability.

Before heading to the roof of the mall where the plant is situated, the media was addressed by Brian Unsted, L2D’s Asset Management Executive for Liberty Midlands Mall, and staff who told us more about the solar PV plant.

“The move towards harnessing solar energy at the Liberty Midlands Mall was deemed necessary for us in light of the world’s urgent need to address climate change.

“L2D is passionate and dedicated to improving its environmental impact wherever possible. The solar PV project for the Liberty Midlands Mall’s Lifestyle Centre (phase 3) is the first initiative of its kind in our portfolio, reducing the carbon footprint, and it will act as a benchmark for future solar plant project roll-outs.

“To continue to drive the future proofing of L2D’s assets, sustainability remains a key aspect to L2D’s strategy,” said Unsted.

Speaking to technical services manager Ashlen Deonarain on the roof of the mall, the Fever was told that the solar plant, which was constructed on the mall’s roof structure, would supply one megawatt of energy to the mall and is designed and manufactured to last a minimum lifespan of 25 years.

“This is the first project of this nature for the Liberty Group and with this we will be saving four to five percent of power a day, equating to roughly R160 000 worth of savings per a month for the mall,” said Deonarain.

Unsted said that they chose Pieter­maritzburg based on the different tariff rates around the country. Additionally, they found the mall favourable in terms of the amount of sunlight that the building receives.

“Sustainability is one of the five pillars in our business that we focus on and therefore solar energy is a big concern of ours,” said Unsted.

The mall and its tenants recently participated in Earth Hour, a collective effort towards highlighting climate change. This was achieved by joining millions around the world in turning off their lights in order to #Connect2Earth on Saturday, March 30.

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