Readily available energy efficiency technologies have been integrated into the design of a student accommodation apartment block in Sunnyside, Pretoria, to provide hot water, says solar water heating and heat pump specialist company SunTank MD Yoram Gur Arie.
The objective of the design is to provide sufficient solar capacity to cater for the entire hot water consumption of the building during sunny weather conditions and use heat pumps to provide the balance during rainy periods.
The 120 kW solar installation will replace about R300 000 of electricity a year, enabling management to pass some savings over to tenants and offer affordable, yet modern, living conditions. Further, the property developer invested in low-flow showers and a hot water consumption monitoring system, enabling immediate identification of wasteful sections in the building.
The solar installation consists of 120 solar collectors, linked to 30 solar storage tanks, each with 400 ℓ storage capacity.
“The interlinking of the components was done in a way that dedicates a section of the solar installation [for each] building section but allows diversion of hot water flow for maintenance purposes. By choosing a product fully developed and manufactured in South Africa after researching the market extensively, the client has confirmed the technological superiority and cost effectiveness of South African-manufactured solar systems,” Gur Arie says.
Architect Andre le Roux, of Pretoria architectural firm ALR Architects, and property specialist Johan du Plessis, of CBD Residency, decided to roll out a residential development that will make use of all readily available techniques and technologies to achieve a top energy efficiency rating, create a modern and sustainable environment for tenants and sustainable profitability for the landlord.
According to Du Plessis, applying innovative technologies and long-term thinking as the cornerstone of the design strategy has put his CBD Residency team at the forefront of sustainable developments in the capital city and set a challenging benchmark for others to follow. He promises more energy efficiency innovations in the near future.
“Until recently, the clean and renewable- energy arena was dominated by academics and environmental activists. Recent energy price shocks have brought clean energy solu- tions into the main stream,” he concludes.