Outspoken solar water heating expert Jim Hickey, who has previously been very critical of South Africa's approach to solar water heating, has praised the recent amendment of the National Building Regulations act.
“South Africa is moving towards a more sustainable approach in its development of infrastructure and housing,” says Hickey, managing director of Selected Energy. “There has been a series of incentives to get South Africans to invest in solar, such as the rebates from Eskom and the government’s pledge to install 1million solar water heaters by 2014. Unfortunately, these incentives were met by a couple of challenges and didn’t live up to its full potential."
The new regulations, signed on 9 September 2011 by Minister of Trade and Industry Dr. Rob Davies, stipulate that all new commercial and residential buildings will have to receive at least 50% of its hot water requirements from renewable energy sources, such as solar water heating. The regulation also stipulates that buildings should be designed with the region’s climate in mind to prevent the use of extra energy to heat or cool the building.
“This is indeed a step in the right direction,’ says Hickey. “The development of our country’s infrastructure should be marked with sustainable efforts, where developers, architects and new homeowners take equal responsibility in securing the future of our energy resources. Just think of all the job creation opportunities!
The National Building Regulations and Building Standards act was published in the Government Gazette and will be in effect from November 2011.