Selected Energy
 Feb 2012Minimize

Building for the future

The amendment of the building regulations act has had a large impact on the building landscape in South Africa. The industry now needs to integrate green building principles in order to achieve the greater goal of minimizing harmful emissions by maximizing the energy efficiency of buildings. But how is the industry reacting to this?

“The industry needs to comply,” says Rudd van Deventer, director at SpaceWorx, a workspace and building facility-planning company in Parktown. “These standards are the minimum if one looks at good green building practice.”

Van Deventer argues that the problem of moving a country’s carbon footprint is twofold. On the one side, you have the self-motivation of people who have a conscience and opportunity to do the right thing and then you have those who cannot afford the marginal increase in cost.

“There is a sort of critical mass or commercialisation of product that needs to happen to reduce or eliminate the cost differential. This comes from the mass market. As the regulations are applicable to all new construction they will impact the construction norms.”

The building regulations are also in line with the government’s commitment to reduce South Africa’s carbon footprint.

“If you look at the value proposition of carbon reduction initiatives in the building industry, the majority are on the correct side of the equation –in the long run they will save money for the end user. This differs for other industries where the costs are huge and there is no upside. The issue is the capital cost of making these investments. Without playing the building industry card South Africa wouldn’t have hope of meeting its (self-imposed) commitments.”

The biggest hurdle is therefore the capital cost for the majority of the people. “The Eskom solar geyser initiative is a very good example of a successful program to address this.” During COP17, the GBCSA also did a demonstration project where they installed solar geysers and insulation to the ceilings. “This is the sort of things that will make a significant difference to the majority of South Africans.”

If you need any advice on integrating solar water heating options into your projects, please feel free to contact Ray Fernandez

Commercial projects

Our commercial division specialises in solar water heating and alternative energy for the mining, CRU/residential, hospitality and healthcare sectors. Our team of qualified experts will provide you with the ideal solar water heating, waste heat recovery or alternative energy solution for change houses, ablution facilities, laundry services, as well as any heating or cooling needs you might have.

Contact Chris Elliott for more information on Commercial Solar Thermal Solutions.

Stars on the green carpet

- The Vodafone Site Solutions Innovation Centre is the first building to be rated as six-star by the GBCSA. Watch this video by GLH Architects

- Block E of the Brydens Upper Grayston development was awarded a 4 star Green Star Design rating (under their Office tool) by the GBCSA.

- Contractors of the Oudebosch cabin in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve near Gordon’s Bay, was awarded with the AfriSam award for sustainable construction (amongst others)

If you know of any green developments that you would like to share with our readers, please feel free to email us.

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