Following the successful completion of Phase 1 of South Africa’s first green street retrofit project in Cato Manor, in Durban, a second phase will now be under- taken, reports Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) senior project manager: socioeconomic and advocacy Sarah Rushmere.
Phase 2, which will see a further 20 or more houses in Cato Manor being retrofitted, will feature similar green initiatives to those applied in Phase 1, she says.
“Phase 2 will be sponsored by the Australian High Commission, and is expected to start in April this year,” Rushmere adds.
The R1.2-million Phase 1, funded mainly by the British High Commission in South Africa, entailed the upgrade of 30 low-cost houses using green building techniques.
South African Bureau of Standards-approved 100 ℓ, low-pressure, evacuated tube-type X-stream solar water heaters with no electrical backup connection were installed in the houses. The heaters deliver water between 50 °C and 60 °C and have a lifetime guarantee against corrosion.
Further, pipe reticulation systems were installed to supply hot water to the houses. “These installations allow people who have never had hot water in their houses to have this facility without the costs associated with electric geysers,” says Rushmere.
Meanwhile, insulated ceilings using Iso-board were installed to better regulate the temperature in the houses, decreasing the need to use electricity for heating or cooling, and compact fluorescent lighting bulbs were installed for further energy efficiency.
Wonderbag heat-retention cookers were provided for every home. These cookers save energy and time. If used an average of three times a week, they can reduce carbon emissions by about 0.5 t/y for every house.
Rainwater harvesting systems were also installed at the houses. It was not possible to fit a conventional gutter system on the existing houses so, instead, adapted systems using flexible agricultural pipe and stainless steel straps and buckles were installed.
Tank sizes are mostly 2 500 ℓ, and the base was constructed using recycled tyres and locally available sand. The systems will provide emergency water supplies in periods of drought or service inter- ruptions, as well as water to grow vegetable gardens and do laundry.
“Initial reports from some residents of the green street indicated that they are saving up to R200 a month on energy costs with these new systems. “This project has improved the quality of life for these residents significantly without a commensurate increase in their costs, which is remarkable,” says Rushmere.
The GBCSA is working on a case study on the work that was done in Phase 1, also funded by the British High Commision, which will be available on the council’s website from April.
This case study will be useful in highlighting the benefits of this kind of project, in terms of the environment, job creation and poverty alleviation.
The job creation potential of this project was notable, says Rushmere. “People from the Cato Manor area were hired to work on the project and 600 person-days of work were generated.”