In­cen­tives to save en­ergy in homes use­ful in en­ergy cri­sis

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

THE PUB­LIC out­cry at Eskom’s pro­posed ad­di­tional large-scale in­creases in the elec­tric­ity price means th­ese are likely to be toned down by the Na­tional En­ergy Reg­u­la­tor, but it’s al­ready clear from mar­ket feed­back that en­ergy ef­fi­cient res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties are in­creas­ingly in de­mand.

Colleen Gray, MD of Cen­tury21 South Africa, says ad­e­quate pro­vi­sion for emer­gency back-up power and un­in­ter­rupt­ible power sup­ply will give prop­er­ties an edge, par­tic­u­larly if the small of­fice home of­fice trend gath­ers re­newed mo­men­tum.

“We have had a rel­a­tively sta­ble power sup­ply for some time now, helped by the eco­nomic slow­down which has re­duced de­mand and in­creased Eskom’s re­serves,” says Gray.

“As the econ­omy gath­ers steam again, power de­mand will nat­u­rally in­crease and we are still a long way from see­ing the first of the new mega power sta­tions come into op­er­a­tion. Power sup­plies could be­come more er­ratic and I would ex­pect to see de­mand for en­ergy-in­de­pen­dent prop­er­ties grow­ing.

“And in this sce­nario it would surely make sense to pro­vide in­cen­tives for low-en­ergy homes. In the UK there are tax al­lowances for en­ergy sav­ing de­vices and im­prove- ments and ev­ery house sold has to be rated for its en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and is priced ac­cord­ingly,” says Gray.

“There is no in­di­ca­tion yet of sim­i­lar moves by the SA gov­ern­ment on this is­sue – other than threats to im­pose pre­mi­ums on overusage. To its credit, though, Eskom has taken the ini­tia­tive by sub­si­dis­ing the in­stal­la­tion of so­lar gey­sers.

“We also hear that Eskom has iden­ti­fied 200 en­ergy-sav­ing spe­cial­ist com­pa­nies coun­try­wide for co­op­er­a­tion with its de­mand-side man­age­ment divi­sion in pri­ori­tis­ing en­ergy au­dits for non-res­i­den­tial prop­erty-own­ers. It’s time we saw some­thing sim­i­lar for res­i­den­tial prop­erty.

“In fact, what is called for is a na­tional strat­egy rather than the ad hoc at­tempts by dis­parate role play­ers to save en­ergy in homes. Gov­ern­ment’s Na­tional En­ergy White Pa­per, due shortly, may point the way, but mean­while the wide­spread be­lief will per­sist that huge elec­tric­ity price in­creases could be avoided if more en­ergy-sav­ing in­cen­tives for prop­erty own­ers could be in­tro­duced,” says Gray.

EN­ERGY EF­FI­CIENT: Colleen Gray of Cen­tury21 South Africa.

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