Energy Intelligence and the French School: A review of an award winning project

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Energy Intelligence and the French School: A review of an award win...

Energy Intelligence and the French School in Cape Town (Ecole Francaise du Cap) have been working closely together over the last few years in order to improve their energy efficiency and revolutionise their approach to energy consumption and the results are proving to be impressive.

Energy Intelligence Award French School Cape Town Image 1

The French School consists of two campuses and is home to 485 students. The schools provide French and Cambridge English education to students from pre-primary up to grade 12 and were set up around the key principles and values of French education and scholarship.

Energy Intelligence Award French School Cape Town Objective

The French School Cape Town and Energy Intelligence

Just over three years ago the French School in Hope Street, Cape Town, called upon Energy Intelligence to collaborate in investigating and implementing viable solutions to pursue a reduction in electricity consumption and make use of renewable energy. Energy Intelligence, whose mission is to help residential users, corporate clients, and asset managers improve their utility management performance, made use of their experienced team of engineers and years of experience in providing best in class utility management and energy efficiency services and products, to find the most ideal solutions to cater to the French School’s needs. By turning their electricity, water and heat usage into actionable knowledge, they were able to propose a number of viable solutions, a number of which were implemented shortly after.


Sebastien Lacour, Operations Director of Energy Intelligence, inspiring an interest in engineering by teaching the students about the energy efficiency and renewable energy interventions implemented at the school.

Turning knowledge into plans, turning plans into action

Some of the projects implemented were the installation of a heat pump to produce hot water more efficiently than standard electric geysers, installing a 10kWp rooftop solar photovoltaic system to produce their own electricity and retrofitting a number of lights with modern LED equivalents, which are far more efficient and have longer lifespans than conventional lights. The resultant effects were soon visible, with reduced electricity consumption and resultant costs. The total effect of these projects has resulted in an overall saving of around 50%, with the Solar Photovoltaic system providing around 20% of their required energy and having produced over 20 000 kWh since its installation. In addition, the Solar Photovoltaic system produces enough electricity to feed the excess into the grid and generate additional income. These savings mean that there is a payback period of around only 5 years, making the projects extremely beneficial financially.

heat pump kids french school EI

Students at the French School Learning about the operation of their new heat pump.

PR solar panel 1

Grid-tied Solar PV Panels on the roof of the French School

Visible Longterm Savings

The savings achieved to date have accumulated to over R 50 000 since the inception of the various projects and will increase at a higher and higher rate as the price of electricity increases each year.

Energy Efficiency Forum Award

PR sebastien lacour award EI

As a result of the projects implemented by Energy Intelligence, the Cape Town French School won  the Energy Efficiency Forum Award for  the Small building Retrofit Category awarded by the City of Cape Town, in partnership with Eskom and the South African Property Owners Association, which was an extremely proud moment for both. Energy Intelligence continues to work closely with the Cape Town French School creating awareness and educating both staff and the youth and encouraging a keen interest in science, technology and engineering.

Energy Intelligence Ongoing Involvement with The French Schools

Currently the Cape Town French School’s second campus is exploring various options with Energy Intelligence to pursue the implementation of energy saving systems similar to that of the first school, and there should be more exciting projects underway in the near future!

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Comment by Georges Gombay on February 3, 2016 at 9:26am

Hello Shane,

Thank you for posting this great article.

I was curious to see that a wind-powered generator as well as a solar-powered unit were installed, where the latter is based on photo-voltaic panels. At any rate that is my interpretation of the first photo you posted that displays a windmill.

Would you please find out from Sebastien what considerations led to the installation of both of these?  I am curious why just the wind-powered generator was not thought to be enough with an accumulator or battery coupled to it for storing up electricity for those times when there would be no wind.

Also, I presume that the windmill  continues to operate at night when it could accumulate unused power in a battery for day-time use.

Best Regards

Comment by Shane Edward Pontes on February 3, 2016 at 10:51am

Hi Georges,

It's a pleasure as it's always interesting to share some of the exciting and innovative projects and involvement within the community!

The photo is slightly misleading, as while it does depict a windmill, the windmill is not in fact used to generate electricity, but is rather a pump. This was a separate project run to use natural means of pumping water to the schools drip irrigation system which supplies the the schools vertical food garden and is indicative of the French Schools sustainability goal which is to become a ‘best-in-class school promoting a sustainable and green education.’



Comment by Georges Gombay on February 3, 2016 at 12:00pm

Thank you for that clarification, Shane.

Perhaps you should remove that first picture, as it is not just «slightly» misleading?


Comment by Shane Edward Pontes on February 4, 2016 at 9:20pm

Done! And thank you for the advice. The hope was to highlight some of the other interesting projects that the school has pursued to promote sustainable and green education, but perhaps it's best to save that for another article.

Comment by Hanaa Trifiss on February 8, 2016 at 3:09pm

*******************New Position*********Energy Intelligence***************

Energy Intelligence is currently seeking an Electrical Engineer


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