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Case study

Crafting energy efficiency policies for commercial buildings in South Africa

Countries and regions
South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
Action area


Case summary

In 2005, South Africa undertook efforts to increase energy efficiency while maintaining strong economic growth, as described by their National Energy Efficiency Strategy. By focusing on target industries, South Africa aims to foster economic progress without increasing carbon emissions and energy consumption. Through a strategic partnership with the Clean Energy Solutions Center, the South African government set out to craft regulations aimed at achieving their efficiency goals in the commercial building sector. As a result of the partnership a set of energy efficiency policy recommendations were outlined and adopted by the South African government.

Actions profiled

One of the key target areas was improving energy efficiency in the commercial sector by 15%. To enable achievement of this target, an in-depth policy review, analysis and recommendations were needed. Thus, the South African National Energy Development Institute partnered with the Clean Energy Solutions Center to conduct a review of their regulations. Through their partnership the government of South Africa was able to implement informed regulations that incentivized energy efficiency in the commercial sector.


The partnership produced a list of recommendations to bolster the effectiveness of the regulations governing energy incentives, which the South African government adopted. Recommendations include; (a) design of policy that allows for flexibility with market growth; (b) broadening the scope of energy efficiency programs to include more goals and targets; (c) Assessing and monitoring programs. Following these recommendations, in 2013, South Africa adopted four major regulations: (i) tax incentives for the commercial sector upon achieving measurable energy savings, (ii) expand tax incentives to include energy efficiency projects that reduce usage as well, (iii) tax incentives were expanded beyond electricity, to include all energy forms, and (iv) establish a process for assessing energy savings through energy efficiency measures.

Planning and implementation activity
Developing and Implementing Policies and Measures
Institutions involved
  • South African Government
  • Clean Energy Solutions Center
  • South African National Energy Development Institute
Sectors and themes
Energy Efficiency
Source details
Clean Energy Solutions Center (CESC)

Results supported byUNDPWorld Resources InstituteTransparency partnership