Greening tips for 2013

January 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

Tankiso Komane

There is no more excuses for home owners not to go green and make their homes energy efficient and environmentally friendly with a wide range of new, affordable, eco-friendly products.

Situated at Waterfall Country Estates in Midrand – on the outskirts of Johannesburg and Pretoria – Green Design Centre is a permanent showroom that showcases some of the latest greening options aimed at making eco-friendly living easy and rewarding.

The showroom’s coordinator, Neo Mohlatlole, took some time out to chat to The New Age about the culture of greening in South Africa. A long-time green advocate who is passionate about the environment and sustainability, the Johannesburg-based youngster has plenty of great tips for those who want to start off 2013 on a green note by living eco-responsible lifestyles.

What’s Green Design Centre about?

The Green Design Centre is an initiative by Century Property Developments in a quest to make their developments sustainable and green. The centre is managed by Decorex SA on behalf of Century Property Developments.

The centre is positioned as a resource hub for green building and finishes. One great thing about the centre is that home owners no longer have to drive to different corners of the Gauteng province to get green products.

They can come here and get all the greening advice they need just under one roof. We also offer a space for homeowners to come and meet with their architects and design their dream home incorporating different products from the centre.

Who are some of your clients and what kind of services do you provide to them?

Our clients range from architects, building contractors, home owners and the various company representatives that have displays in the Green Design Centre. So anyone looking to either build a new home or do some renovations to an exciting one can come to us and see what else they can incorporate into their homes. Some of our regular clientele also include all the exhibitors who regularly get to participate in the centre and inspire our visitors to live green.

Who is your ideal target?

Our primary target market is consumers who are looking to do their bit for the environment, while in turn they get to save lots of money. We are fortunate to be on the Waterfall Country Estate that promotes green living.

Century Property Developments recently showcased 12 homes that are environmentally friendly, where we were able to show the rest of the public that they can build lovely green homes that they can be proud of and that don’t necessarily have to look like spaceships.

How have South Africans responded to the idea?

We’ve had an amazing response so far and this is simply because greening is no longer something that people want to consider, but are slowly making it an important part of their everyday live. The hosting of the COP17 conference also highlighted, among other things, the importance of greening to the general public.

I am delighted to say the Green Design Centre has been set up at the right time, showcasing various products for homeowners to help make their greening journey a simpler one.

What are some of your most requested eco-friendly products?

Double glazed windows, solar geysers, heat pumps, environmentally friendly paints, water-saving taps and water-harvesting units.

How would you define the culture of greening in South Africa?

South Africa is still behind in terms of greening, but that will soon change with new building regulations coming from government for example the SANS10400 (South African National Standard Building Code), which states that all buildings shall have at least 50% by volume of their annual hot water heating requirement provided by means other than electrical resistance heating, including – but not limited to – solar heating, heat pumps, heat recovery from other systems or processes and renewable combustible fuel.

New homebuilders will have to comply with these new regulations. The country is in a perfect position to take advantage of alternative energy sources. It all begins with the right attitude, and judging from the various campaigns that are out there at the moment, we will catch up with the rest of the world.

Greening is largely seen as something for the elite and wealthy. How true is that?

Going green is an investment that comes at a price. Unfortunately it’s usually a high price, but if you align the correct products together, you can see your return on investment much quicker. Being courteous of the environment around you and taking corrective steps to a greener way of life, in fact makes one to think of the MasterCard slogan: priceless.

With that said, everyone can do their bit, regardless of their budget. The first point is to save for what can be helpful for your household and get a supplier that works out the return on investment for you.

What advice would you give to homeowners with a limited budget but who want to do their bit for green living?

Firstly, they must make sure that their home is well insulated. That way they will be able to save a lot of money from the energy saved as the result of the insulation.

They can also consider an alternative source to heating their water, such as using a solar geyser or heat pump (Eskom offers a rebate on both these products). Lastly, they must make visiting the Green Design Centre top of their priorities for 2013 so we can help them choose products that are within their budget. For more info, they can contact me on neo@tepg.co.za or sonja@tepg.co.za.

Why is it important for a person to go green?

The idea behind going green is that you leave something behind for future generations and it’s all about sustainability. There is an imbalance in nature, mostly due to human influence. We have the power to turn that around and leave behind a beautiful planet for the next generations.

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Neo Mohlatlole’s best greening advice for 2013

Easy Green – you can introduce these changes to your home today:

• Recycle your rubbish: introduce dustbins that make it easy for your family and staff to separate waste. There are stylish dustbin options on show at the Green Design Centre.

• Water harvesting: attach a water tank to your gutters and you could save a fortune on water usage.

• Plant a vegetable garden: if you have 2m² to spare, you can plant a veggie garden to cater for your family’s every culinary need. Choose indigenous to attract the right ecosystem to your garden.

• Swap your existing taps for water-saving models.

• Choose double-glazed windows instead of the normal single glaze: new windows are a big-ticket item, so why not install an easy window laminate instead?

• Solar panels mean huge electricity savings – an essential financial and ecological consideration.

• A heat pump is another energy and cost saving option.

• Giant underwater tanks guarantee a water harvesting system that will never let you down.

• Paint your house using emission-reduced paints.

• Install home automation and heating systems that are designed to save energy consumption.

tankisok@thenewage.co.za

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