Sustainable Energy Award Shines a Light on Rural Business School
01 Dec 2014
Load-shedding may have kept parts of South Africa in the dark over the last few weeks, but the Tertiary School in Business Administration (TSiBA) Eden campus in Karatara, near Knysna, is basking in the glow of success. TSiBA shared first prize in the Eskom Eta Awards Community Category with their project on ‘Institutionalising energy savings’. The aim of these awards is to reward those successfully implementing sound energy efficiency principles.
Sustainable energy is top-of-mind for all South Africans. Never have awards like this been more relevant in South Africa - with high electricity costs, insufficient power capacity and leveraging our abundant sunshine. For TSiBA Eden, not only do their environmental savvy campus operations save the environment and relieve pressure on the power grid, but they help save electricity costs for this unique not-for-profit tertiary education institution.
‘TSiBA Eden practices a variety of energy saving initiatives in their Laundry and Kitchen Departments, as well as income-generating Vegetable Garden. Almost all of their techniques are low tech and easily replicable in urban or rural homes. Systems include solar geysers and a solar oven donated by Rotary International which are used extensively for the showers and kitchens. Simple black pipes installed on the roof heat water for things like washing dishes. The kitchens use insulation cooking bags and clay ovens which makes use of compressed recycled paper ball coals - both are produced by the students on campus’ says Susan Donald from WESSA. TSiBA Eden receives committed support by the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA) who is involved in training and execution of many of these sustainable projects. TSiBA Eden also has WESSA Green Flag status.
‘This award is an acknowledgment of TSiBA Eden’s commitment to being a green campus and socially responsible’ says Sandy Ueckermann, TSiBA Eden Director. ‘The basis of TSiBA’s award-winning project is about reducing the tertiary business school’s use of electricity and gas. But it in reality it is much more than that with a much further reach. The savings on the campus are considerable which is vital being an independent non-profit, but the greatest impact is in the practice of responsible and conscious living which taken back into the broader community has a much larger impact. It is about education and awareness and sending students out into the world who are role models for responsible energy use and behavior. While TSiBA offers business courses, hard-wired into these courses is an environmental ethic and a social responsibility. The success of these techniques has been demonstrated by a number of students who have reported replication in their own homes and areas in which they live.’
TSiBA is a non-profit business school founded in 2004 with two campuses in the Western Cape and accredited with the Department of Higher Education (No: 2007/HE08/001). TSiBA Eden is located in the heart of the rural village of Karatara, near Knysna and is unique in offering environmentally green, entrepreneurial bridging and skills development programmes serving rural communities in the Southern Cape and beyond. One of the elements setting TSiBA Eden apart from other bridging facilities in South Africa is that it educates students and teaches them practical business skills, but also provides full board and lodging for non-local students. All students are awarded full, or part, tuition scholarships are not required to pay back their education monetarily, but rather to “Pay it Forward” by transferring the knowledge, skills and resources that they gain at TSiBA to their communities.
The impact graduates of this unique rural business school will have on the growth of the South African economy is significant especially in the context of the drain on the country of having unemployed and unemployable youth on the street. Not only is there the lost opportunity cost of productivity, but the harsh social impact of unemployment such as increased rates of depression, illness, crime, drugs, domestic violence and reliance on social grants.