Using energy data to reduce emissions and unlock climate finance

Implementing a building energy metering programme in seven municipalities in South Africa. An Urban-LEDS II demonstration project case study.

As part of their jurisdictions, local municipalities in South Africa own and manage a significant number of buildings. Through ICLEI Africa’s work over the past eight years with eight subnational municipalities in the country, it has become evident that the key contributors to a municipality’s greenhouse gas emissions are the municipal building portfolio. It is therefore imperative that municipalities reduce their own energy demand to improve the resource efficiency of buildings and ultimately reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions of these cities, towns and regions. The first step is to undertake an energy audit to understand the current consumption. However, in South Africa, few – if any – buildings in municipal portfolios are metered.

Because of this data gap, South African municipalities rarely receive financial support for increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A lack of robust energy data also reduces the quality of proposals for energy efficiency programmes that subnational governments typically submit to potential funders, further exacerbating the challenge of accessing finance.

The Urban-LEDS II pilot programme in South Africa took a practical approach by installing energy meters in municipal buildings of seven municipalities.