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The value of eco homes

There is no doubt the planet is taking strain and there is an increasing awareness that we need to do whatever we can to protect it.

One way to make a difference is to have a green home.

This could be as simple as buying more energy-efficient appliances or using specific building materials that are more efficient in keeping both cool and heated air inside the structure, but can be as extensive as building from the ground up.

Sustainable buildings are designed and constructed according to high environmental standards, thereby:

* Minimising energy demand.

* Reducing water consumption; and

* Using materials with a low impact on the environment.

The aim is to create healthier and more productive environments for people to live and work in.

While the green revolution in residential property, unlike in the commercial sector, is still in its infancy, rapid strides in technology and increasing awareness of the potential cost savings and reduced environmental impact are making good sense to more and more home owners – and home buyers, says Pam Golding Properties.

Scarcer resources are certainly getting people to become more aware of greening.

“Unquestionably, there is a swelling tide of interest among consumers in energy conservation which has recently been fuelled to a large extent by the frequency and inconvenience of load shedding, combined with significantly increasing electricity costs,” says Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group.

“This is coupled with growing concerns around one of our planet’s most precious natural resources – water.

“As the affordability of energy-saving features improves, in coming years we are bound to see the desirability of homes which incorporate such features increase exponentially as being ‘green’ receives a higher ranking on the scale of considerations among home buyers.

“While it’s not possible to quote actual numbers, there is no doubt that residential properties offering green or energy and water-saving features as well as emergency or back-up power solutions are at a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

“They are becoming sought after by buyers in preference to properties that don’t offer such features.

“In a trend which began making its presence felt some 12 to 18 months ago, we are seeing ‘green’ features and energy efficiency definitely adding to the saleability of a property.”

Golding says newer and brand new buildings, particularly in new residential developments such as Val de Vie Estate in the Western Cape winelands, Baronetcy Estate in Plattekloof in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, and Steyn City in Fourways, Gauteng, are frequently being equipped with a host of features incorporated into their design.

At Baronetcy Estate, going green is prioritised not only from an energy and cost-saving perspective but also in adding to the resale value and long-term investment return.

One house is already off the grid with others being built, while the estate’s security cameras and electric fencing are managed on a solar, off-grid system which is of relevance during any load-shedding.

But how achievable is it for the average house owner to “go green”?

Says Anthony Stroebel, group marketing director for Pam Golding Properties and a director of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA): “Green credentials have a positive impact on the running costs of any home, while at the same time preserving the world’s scarce resources as well as reducing the impact on the environment.

“Our vision is to reach a point in the not-too-distant future, where this becomes integral to a home’s specifications when selling, and that buyers understand the value of this versus ‘less green’ homes.”

Earlier this year the GBCSA, with its My Green Home project, worked with the Ngewana family in Pinelands in Cape Town to green their house and show what is possible. In a relatively short period, the family achieved a 53 percent saving in electricity, a 44 percent reduction in water consumption and an 81 percent reduction in waste sent to landfill. (Visit mygreen home.org.za where you will find many useful tips and tools.)

Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA, says going green increasingly makes economic and environmental sense. “Our My Green Home project makes the point that while greening an existing home is not an overnight experience, there are meaningful savings which can be achieved immediately. It’s not difficult to see how these savings will translate into real benefits for consumers and home owners.

“In the commercial property sector, the IPD South Africa annual green property indicators show that in 2014 green buildings outperformed less energy-efficient buildings by yielding returns on income and capital growth of 12.1 percent compared with 9.4 percent – ie green buildings yielded almost 30 percent more.”

 

A green home is…

One that is built or remodelled to:

* conserve energy or water;

* improve indoor air quality;

* use sustainable, recycled or used materials; and

* produce less waste in the process.

 

What are eco features

These include:

l solar heating,

l water saving and recycling,

l water-wise gardens with indigenous plants,

l LED lighting with time switches and sensory capabilities;

l insulation to conserve heat or for cooling,

l back-up power solutions such as inverters or generators.

 

What makes Silo2 a winner

Silo 2 was the first residential development to be rated under the GBCSA multi-unit residential v1 design rating tool and received a four-star Green Star SA rating for design. It is the V&A Waterfront’s first residential development in more than five years and one with sustainability at its core.

“With the international shift towards sustainability, we no longer see it as just a trend – this is the standard we align to. Sustainable building and greening practices are at the core of our business practices and past, current and future developments at the V&A Waterfront,” says David Green, the Waterfront’s CEO.

What makes Silo2 a green winner:

l The materials include low energy lighting, high performance glass that provides thermal and acoustic insulation, as well as sustainable timber sources that are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified.

l Sea water is used as a cooling agent, there is a centralised solar-heated hot water system and external solar shading.

l There are water-efficient showers, toilets and energy and water-efficient kitchen appliances, energy saving devices and even a website allowing homeowners to track and manage their water and energy consumption.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

The Green Building Council of South Africa developed the Green Star rating system to provide an objective measurement for green buildings and to recognise and reward environmental leadership. The categories in the Green Star SA rating tools include management, indoor environment quality, energy, transport, water, materials, land use and ecology, emissions, and innovation. Points are awarded for actions that demonstrate that the project has met the overall objectives of the Green Star SA.

 

USEFUL CONTACTS

l Green Building Council of South Africa’s website at www.gbcsa.org.za.

l My Green Home project http://mygreenhome.org.za

Source: iol


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