South Africa should embrace green building

Plagued with power outages and rising energy bills, South Africa is looking to green building in an effort to tackle both - and reduce its carbon footprint.

Like many of its peers, caught in the gap between a developing country and industrialised power, South Africa has a less-than-reliable power supply.

Historically, energy has been cheap in South Africa.

But existing infrastructure cannot cope with the growing energy demands of the business sector and domestic users and power cuts are accepted as an albeit annoying part of life.

As a result, energy prices are also relatively high compared with countries with a more stable supply.

But the recently established Green Building Council of South Africa is using the unreliable power supply as an added incentive to encourage developers to consider energy efficiency and on-site generation

Local authorities are also looking at planning regulations, insisting on greater energy efficiency in new developments.

The South African publication Engineering News reported that the South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) confirmed that frequent power shortages might provide the push needed to kick start more effective energy management in the country.

Marna van der Walt, Sapoa president, told the publication: “Many businesses are realising that back-up generators are simply not a sustainable solution in the longer-term. Apart from the capital outlay, they cost double the [national power company] Eskom rate to run.

“We need to find viable, alternative sources of renewable energy – as is being done in Europe and North America – such as solar or wind energy.”

Sam Bond

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