Thursday, March 21

Green audit reveals energy vampires

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On-site inspection identifies inefficiencies in your home, and suggests remedies

If you’re concerned you may be using way too much energy, you can have your home – or a house you are interested in buying – undergo a green audit.

Anthony Stroebel, a director of the Green Building Council of South Africa, and Pam Golding Properties head of real estate services, says the property group has linked up with Enel X, a multinational alternative energy company, to provide energy audits to home owners and buyers.

“During the audit, energy inefficiencies in the home are spotted and intervention opportunities are identified.

“The audit consists of an on-site inspection coupled with the installation of data-reading and on-site metering. This results in an energy profile on how to reduce consumption and adopt more efficient technologies and alternative sources of electricity – tailormae to suit your home and requirements.”

The Enel X energy audit includes a full evaluation of the home’s energy usage, with the installation of metering equipment to monitor appliances, the geyser and pool pumps over a few weeks.

At the end of this, the technical team analyses the results and provides a diagnostic report with recommended ways to reduce your consumption over both the short and long term.

“For example, findings may reveal an old fridge is consuming as much as 30% of your electricity bill. By the end of the audit process and installation of energy-efficient solutions, you could achieve up to a 70% reduction in your electricity consumption, resulting in considerable cost savings.”

Enel X charges R4 600 including VAT for the audit, and it is available for properties in Cape Town and Gauteng. The green audit is not the only way to assess energy usage.

The Western Cape government, in partnership with the City of Cape Town and GreenCape, has developed a Green Home Assessment tool, a voluntary resource which can be used for all residential units.

Stroebel says apart from homeowners who are retro-fitting their homes with green features, new builds are increasingly green through the construction of apartments in green precincts and apartments and freehold properties in eco-estates.

Menlyn Maine in Pretoria is Africa’s first green “city”, with assets including green buildings, sustainable materials and efficient design. It is based on an innovative urban design concept that aims to create a positive shift in how South Africans live, work and play. Menlyn Maine has been developed with sustainability and environmental consciousness at its core.

It was designed and developed with accessibility, walkability, tranquillity and vibrancy in mind, providing a new approach to city living in Pretoria, says Stroebel.

As a partner of the Clinton Climate Initiative, this is one of only 16 green cities around the world and the only one in Africa. All buildings in the precinct are rated 4 Green Stars by the Green Building Council of South Africa.

Retha Schutte, PGP’s regional executive in Pretoria, whose offices are in Menlyn Maine, says: “This is a space where everyone can get to where they need to be on foot, whether for work, home or entertainment and leisure.

“This is achieved through designated bicycle lanes, wide pavements, easy access to public transport, parking and accessibility for disabled persons, and even special blocks with grooves and buttons to guide blind pedestrians.

“The developers have created a unique culture of closeness and community through spacious parks, vibrant piazzas, as well as familiar boutique style retailers and other shared facilities.”

Stroebel says: “To quote the mantra of the Green Building Council of South Africa, this is all about creating an environment where people and the planet can thrive.”

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