There is no gainsaying that in order to secure the future for generations to follow, we must act now to reduce energy consumption and substantially cut greenhouse gases.
Renewable energy is the future and is one of the best ways to maintain our standard of living while not completely relying on fossil fuels.
This fact has not escaped Paseka Litabe (28) the CEO of Autumn Green, a start-up that is making waves in the green technology space. The company uses solar panels to cover parts of high-rise buildings in the cities, turning the structures into producers of electricity.
The solar tracking features harness the sun's energy in all directions without the need to envelop the entire building, as is the case with traditional designs. What sets Litabe and his team apart is that they use existing infrastructure, in this case, buildings to produce renewable energy. “This maximises the solar panels yield using 75% less solar modules and systems,” Litabe explains.
Buildings in South Africa are a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions which results in environmental degradation. According to the Construction Industry Board, buildings in South Africa account for 27% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the country.
“As Africa's population continues to grow and become more urbanised, the balance between developmental and environmental imperatives becomes urgent as this balance is key towards sustainable living in our cities. It, therefore, becomes important for Africa to explore technologies and solutions that speak to the African landscape,” Litabe suggests.
Autumn Green’s products and services also include the integration of sensing technology with new and existing systems to achieve efficiency supply and demand side of energy use in lighting, water and security.
“At Autumn Green we believe that tech technology is key towards solving current and future sustainability issues that threaten our quality of life. We strive to improve lives in both urbanised and rural communities through the use of tech innovation,” Litabe says.
Litabe has also branched out into the hospitality sector by creating an energy efficient restaurant in the Free State province of South Africa. He has injected funds as part of the capital investment into the restaurant.
“The restaurant is a partnership I have entered into with a colleague who brings in entrepreneurial skills. This is more a merger of skills as I bring the renewable technology capability to the mix,” Litabe says confidently. “We want to ensure that the establishment, a fast food restaurant, is sustainable. I also see it as a pilot project for Autumn Green as it will use the technology I have developed for the former, such as renewable energy usage in the customised security system, lighting features and energy outputs.”