R/€ = 15.26Change: -0.01
R/$ = 14.41Change: -0.03
Au 1057.95 $/ozChange: 0.07
Pt 835.50 $/ozChange: 0.00
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?

And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters About Us
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
Mar 27, 2009

Eastern Cape shows the way with energy-independent house design

Engineering|Africa|Building|Design|Environment|Eskom|Gas|Measurement|PROJECT|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Resources|Solar|Sustainable|System|Systems|Technology|Water|Africa|Energy|Systems|Environmental|Power|Measurement
Engineering|Africa|Building|Design|Environment|Eskom|Gas|Measurement|PROJECT|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Resources|Solar|Sustainable|System|Systems|Technology|Water|Africa|Energy|Systems|Environmental|Power|
© Reuse this

An energy-efficient building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) house has been constructed at the University of Fort Hare's Alice campus, in the Easten Cape, and is now fully operational and being monitored and studied.

The house took three months to construct and was completed in December 2008, while the electrical system and data-capture systems were installed in January this year.

The project is being spearheaded by Fort Hare Institute of Technology (FHIT) director Professor Edson Meyer and PhD student Sosten Ziuku, and aims to show that the use of renewable-energy resources and energy-efficient measures, complementing fossil fuels, can result in uninterrupted power supply and a reduction in gaseous pollutants. 

The study is part of an initiative to boost the use of renewable energies and showcase solar energy as an alternative to fossil fuel use in households. 

All electrical devices in the house are powered by electricity from the photovoltaic system, and hot water is supplied by a solar water heater and geyser.

“We are monitoring the performance of the system – initial results are showing that we have excess power from the BIPV system. At present, we are not supplying the excess power to Eskom, but this is something we are going to pursue in the immediate future,” Ziuku tells Engineering News.

Indeed, the second phase of the study is to sell excess power generated to the national utility grid.

“There is a postgraduate student living in the house, – he has been there since the beginning of March. The house is fully furnished and the student is using the available facilities like he would do in any other house,” notes Ziuku.

Passive Solar Design

The concept of the sustainable-energy house design is based on the use of renewable-energy resources in place of fossil fuels. This entails the use of climatic conditions to design a climate-sensitive building, which discourages energy use processes that cause greenhouse-gas emissions.

In South Africa, the sun passes almost directly overhead at noon in summer, while, in winter, its path is low in the northern sky.  With large windows and clerestory windows located on the north-facing side of the house, the lower winter sun is allowed to heat both the front and rear of the inside of the house, explain the project leaders.

Further, sufficient window overhangs protect the north-facing windows from the high summer sun to enhance cooling through natural ventilation. Previous studies employing passive solar heating and cooling proved that this technique has great potential to provide a safe, healthy and thermally comfortable indoor environment.

Building-Integrated Photovoltaics
Photovoltaic (PV) panels are mounted on the north-facing roof in such a way that they replace conventional roofing material.  The PV panels then act as a building envelope and also supply the electrical energy requirements of the house. 

The PV solar system has a maximum power output of 3 800 W, viewed as adequate to meet all the electrical energy requirements of the building.  Energy-efficient electrical appliances are also used in the house.  This implies that the efficient BIPV house can be completely independent of the national utility grid.

For this experiment, a 200-l solar water heater is used to meet all the hot water requirements.

The residential sector in South Africa is estimated to consume 17% of the country’s electrical energy. More than 70% of this electricity is generated using fossil fuels, which contribute immensely to environmental pollution and global warming. 

The South African government, through the passing of the Energy Bill, the Renewable Energy White Paper and the Energy Consumption Management, Measurement and Reporting Regulation under the Energy Act of 2008, has become increasingly active in tackling the issues of power outages and the more efficient use of existing resources. 

Solar energy is one of the renewable-energy resources that is increasingly being used to supply household  thermal and electrical energy, and the project aims to showcase how domestic electricity demands could be met independently of the existing electricity grid.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Electricity News
Ratings firms Moody's and Standard and Poor's kept South African utility Eskom's credit status unchanged, saying recent cash injections by government had eased a funding crunch, the power firm said on Friday. Moody's affirmed the Ba1, or speculative grade, rating of...
LITHIUM GUN The battery-powered bolting gun is ideal for wind turbine maintenance
While there are battery-powered bolting solutions for wind turbine maintenance, the general consensus among wind energy industry stakeholders is that these solutions lack battery longevity and often succumb to overheating and bending, says bolting systems...
DIFFERENT STROKES Turbine foundations are designed for site-specific conditions, and the lack of clear consensus in international design codes is a problem
While wind turbines are standard products that are designed, verified by prototype testing and independently certified, their foundations are designed on a project-by-project basis to suit site-specific ground conditions. This, according to engineering consulting...
Latest News
French conglomerate Bollore may have to halt work on the Niger to Benin section of its giant West Africa rail project after a rival company won a court order to stop it going ahead. The dispute concerns rival rail schemes in the area.
A week ahead of the second annual gathering of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (Focac), in Johannesburg, the JSE is rolling out the proverbial red carpet for Chinese investors looking to Africa’s largest bourse for possible investment opportunities, calling...
The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) applied for leave to appeal on Friday against the Western Cape High Court judgment that set aside the approvals that would enable it to toll sections of the N1 and N2 freeways in Cape Town. This prompted the...
Recent Research Reports
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
This Week's Magazine
The BMW Group will invest R6-billion at BMW Group South Africa’s (BMW SA’s) Rosslyn plant to produce the next-generation X3 sports-activity vehicle (SAV) for the local and export markets. Rosslyn will continue production of the current 3 Series through its lifecycle,...
The lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions on the part of contractors remains a significant hurdle to tackling South Africa’s service delivery challenges, delegates heard at the Consulting Engineers South Africa Infrastructure Indaba, on...
City of Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mondli Gungubele earlier this month officially named the city’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Harambee.
NICK CHRISTODOULOU As about 58% of data stored by organisations is dark, they must identify this dark data to expose risks and valuable information
About 58% of unstructured data stored by companies is dark data, which means that the value or regulatory importance of the data has not been determined. Subsequently, most of the stored data add costs, rather than increasing revenue or reduce regulatory risks, says...
BRIAN VERWEY Effective management, review and administration of non-core elements can improve business operations and increase revenue and decrease unforeseen risks
Effective logistics, import/export and manufacturing consulting services require detailed industry knowledge and experience, but can add significant value to these industries by providing expert advice on various technical elements in their value chains, says...
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96