Month: November 2022

A Breath of Fresh Air – Necessity, Not Luxury

Picture yourself in a building with minimal windows, vents, doors, and other openings. There is no movement at all in the stale and dense air. Feeling uncomfortable yet? While some may say you could endure this environment at home, work or in public spaces, this is not simply a bit of discomfort. It is a serious health issue for the occupants in any building.

The heating, ventilating, heating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system of a building ensures the supply and removal of air naturally (windows) and/or mechanically to and from a space. HVAC systems are crucial to the health of building occupants in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. These systems provide a comfortable temperature, humidity level and optimal air quality that is free from air pollutants. Air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, ground-level ozone, particle pollution and sulphur oxides can severely affect an occupant’s health and in serious incidents may result in death.

The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act is one area of regulation which encourages South African employers to have HVAC systems installed on their premises which adequately protect employees and customers. For instance, an employer may not require or permit an employee to work in an environment where he or she is exposed to a minimum temperature of 6°C for longer than four hours, unless the employer takes reasonable measures to protect the employee against the cold. In the same vein, a person may not work in excessively high temperatures without proper air movement of fresh filtered air.

How can you make sure you are looking after the health of yourself and others when it comes to HVAC in your spaces? The South African Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Association’s (SARACCA) members can provide you with HVAC expertise. SARACCA upholds The National Building Regulations which specify minimum fresh air standards for various spaces, dependent on activity and occupation levels. It is also tasked with registering refrigeration and air conditioning practitioners on the SAQCC Gas register. For ultimate peace of mind of your and others wellbeing, ensure that your HVAC systems are being worked on by authorised persons. Simply go online and search the practitioners’ details on www.saqccgas.co.za or to see their membership card.

How can you make sure you are looking after the health of yourself and others when it comes to HVAC in your spaces?

If you are an HVAC practitioner, join our family today! Benefit from regular communication, invaluable industry support and be kept in the loop with the latest industry standards and regulations. Keep providing high-quality and compliant services to your client by utilising SARACCA’s authorised training providers. SARACCA provides a subsidy to members for the training of site staff in duct erection, refrigeration, air conditioning, project management via short courses that follow SAQA approved unit standards. SARACCA strives to keep SA healthy and safe by constantly making positive contributions to the HVAC industry’s reputation and standards.

Gas is the Winner in Efficiency and Accessibility

A local start-up in the gas industry has recently made it possible for over 25000 South Africans to purchase gas at any desired quantity. This is just one of the many ways gas consumers can easily access this reliable energy source. When it comes to domestic use, home cooks can rejoice when preparing food with gas. It takes about 3 times as much energy to produce and deliver electricity to your stove! It is the clear winner in the energy efficiency battle between gas and electric when cooking. For many South Africans, gas is an implementable energy source in their homes and businesses which combats surging energy bills. This is very real when considering the recent rejection of the national electricity utility’s request to hike tariffs by 38.1% for 2022-2023.

Gas’s superior efficiency and accessibility is obvious. So how can you start full utilising gas in your home or business? Safety is key. That’s why the South African Qualification and Certification Committee (SAQCC) works tirelessly to keep growing higher levels of competency and compliancy in the gas industry. As a non-profit company, it was formed to establish a central data base for registered and authorised gas practitioners to work with gas and on gas systems. SAQCC Gas believes South Africa needs more awareness on gas-work competency and safety. By registering, gas practitioners ensure home and business safety and that every employee gets home safe too. SAQCC Gas provides gas practitioners with the latest regulations, receive training and the competency they need to remain safe on the job and support the safety of our communities.

As a non-profit company, SAQCC Gas was formed to establish a central data base for registered and authorised gas practitioners to work with gas and on gas systems.

Any consumers utilising a gas system in domestic, commercial, industrial or specialised capacities must be sure to only make use of registered gas practitioners. Responsible home and business owners should have legitimate Certificates of Conformity (CoCs) for their gas systems as well as regularly have inspections to avoid being caught off guard when selling or if there is a costly fault due to poor maintenance. Consumers can ensure a CoCs authenticity by verifying that the gas installation matches the association, e.g., LPGSA for LP gas installations. Registered gas practitioners can now efficiently and seamlessly provide electronic CoCs by using the SAQCC Gas mobile app.

Whether you are a consumer or gas practitioner, you can do your part to increase awareness of safe gas use and installation. The 4 member associations who form SAQCC make it simple for the consumers and practitioners to report incidents or installations that do not meet current regulations. Registered gas practitioners always have the experience, competency, equipment and knowledge to do the work safely the first time. Be cautious of the fastest and cheapest quote! Your own and others’ wellbeing is worth more than saving a few extra rands. If you suffer losses due to non-compliant gas work, insurance companies may not cover fire or public liability claims caused by non-registered persons.

Supporting Ground-breaking Green Initiatives with HVAC Expertise

Global fossil fuel supply and cost remains volatile as the Russian invasion of Ukraine persists. Worldwide supply chains and inflation have been thrown into chaos. These circumstances are adding further pressure on the major sectors, which have the largest influence on global warming, to meet net-zero carbon emissions commitments. Buildings and cities, energy, transport, agriculture and industry sectors produce a combined massive 30.9 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, according to the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP’s) 2020 edition of the Emissions Gap Report. Ultimately, there is an urgent need and great opportunity to develop greener technology.

In line with this, an impressive advancement in South African green initiatives is the South African Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Association’s (SARACCA’s) focus in this latest case study. Fifty-Two Engineering, members of SARACCA, recently completed a ventilation project for Anglo American. Mogalakwena platinum mine, located in Limpopo, South Africa, recently added a hydrogen production, storage, and refuelling complex on site to support their addition of a 2MW hydrogen-battery hybrid truck which is of Anglo American’s nuGen™ Zero Emission Haulage Solution (ZEHS). It is currently the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck! As HVAC specialists, the Fifty-Two Engineering team were appointed to design ventilation systems in the plant where the hydrogen is produced, stored and used for fuelling.

The HVAC objective for this project was to create a ventilation system with an integrated monitoring and warning system for the plant to operate continuously and safely.

Hydrogen is a greener alternative to fossil fuels that needs responsible handling due to its flammability when mixed with air. It is crucial to not only avoid leaks but ensure there is an instant plant shutdown in a potentially hazardous situation. The HVAC objective for this project was to create a ventilation system with an integrated monitoring and warning system for the plant to operate continuously and safely. “We designed a system that keeps the environment clean and forces filtered air into the electrolyser building where the hydrogen is produced and stored,” says David Townley at Fifty-Two Engineering. This building required 6 fan filter units where five run simultaneously to achieve the 12 air changes per hour (ACH). Each unit is fitted with a flow-pressure switch to monitor whether the fan is running. Should it be activated on a running unit, indicating a breakdown, the standby unit is activated, and an alarm will be raised at the HVAC panel in the main control room. Thereby maintaining optimum gas safety in the plant at all times and keeping the chain of production moving.

SARACCA is proud to support their members who are playing their part in a zero emissions future. The fact is that renewables are the way forward, and this hydrogen plant ventilation project is just one example of our industry striving for ambitious targets and spring boarding green development within South Africa. By becoming a SARACCA member, you too can have access to the latest information and training on greener, newer technologies.

A Safer Year So Far in SA’s Gas Industry

Comparing registration numbers between March 2021 to March 2022, there has been an increase in registered gas practitioners according to the South African Qualification and Certification Committee for Gas (SAQQC Gas). That is excellent news! For the everyday South African who benefits from gas products as well as the workers maintaining and installing gas systems, it means a safer year with higher levels of competency and compliancy in the gas industry.

SAQCC Gas is always striving for more awareness on gas-work competency and safety. By registering as a gas practitioner, you are playing a crucial part in ensuring that every worker goes home safe at the end of each workday. For SAQCC Gas, part of achieving that goal is by providing members with the opportunity to have the training and competency they need to remain safe on the job and support the safety of those with whom they work. “Involving industry members in advisory roles for the Safety and Technical Advisory Council (STAC) is inspirational and collaborative. STAC ensures a platform for sound debate and advice, resulting in improved safety and best practices across most gas disciplines within industry. Successes are imminent especially embracing emerging markets,’’ says Roy Lubbe, Chairman of the Southern African Gas Association (SAGA), which established STAC and is also one of the four member associations of SAQCC Gas.

SAQCC Gas is always striving for more awareness on gas-work competency and safety. By registering as a gas practitioner, you are playing a crucial part in ensuring that every worker goes home safe at the end of each workday.

It is equally important for consumers utilising various gas products whether in commercial, industrial or specialised capacities to be vigilant about compliancy and make use of registered gas practitioners. For instance, South African homeowners should not view Certificates of Conformity (CoCs) as indefinitely valid. Gas is very well regulated and often updated, therefore making it a safer energy choice. This means responsible homeowners should have their gas appliances inspected on a yearly basis at minimum to avoid being caught by surprise should they need to sell the property or if there is a costly fault due to lack of maintenance.

It’s the community of consumers and gas practitioners working together to constantly build and improve the gas industry in South Africa. Each of the four associations emphasise that anyone can report an incident where an installation does not conform to current regulations. Work done by unregistered persons is illegal and potentially extremely dangerous as it can result in serious injury or even death. Registered gas practitioners have the necessary experience, competency, equipment and knowledge to do the work safely the first time. Never settle for quick and cheap installations that compromise on your safety. Insurance companies may not cover fire or public liability claims caused by non-registered persons as the gas installations will be deemed illegal.

To learn more about SAQCC Gas, please visit www.saqccgas.co.za