Innovative designs would boost efficiencies in city
THE URGENT need to reduce water use in Cape Town has become so important that properties designed to consider this vital resource are becoming hot items.
Developers who can boast about water-wise projects – as well as making water-cutting efforts during construction – are better able to market their properties.
Two such developments are the Elements on Main and Elements on Battery in Sea Point, which are being constructed using only collected ground and rain water.
“Buyers and investors can therefore invest with confidence in an environmentally friendly development,” says Ross Levin, developments director for Seeff Atlantic Seaboard.
The focus on water and energy efficiency is also seen in the design and finishes, including the light- ing and heating, as well as a rainwater- harvesting system, Levin says.
Most developers are following water-saving methods during the construction phase, drawing ground water and storing it on site, says Rob Stefanutto, managing director of Dogon. Most of Cape town has a lot of ground water and, if not used, the developers have tanks on site to store the water for later use, making them almost self-sufficient.
“Also all hoses and pipes that feed the buildings and construction sites have been up-graded to provide water with minimum waste.
“The developers then take this same ground water and run it through filtration systems and supply this water to the development to make these buildings more water efficient after they are occupied.”
Stefanutto says developers are taking a long term view ofwater security in their developments.
One such example is the newly launched Nooitgedacht estate in Hout Bay where three boreholes are being sunk to supply the 20 homes.
The Belhar Gardens development, on the corner of Carmen End and Symphony Way, was recently recognised for its design excellence in efficiencies.
Completed in August, the development boasts 630 social housing units managed by the Madulammoho Housing Association, a social housing company partnering the City of Cape Town.
Belhar Gardens recently achieved an Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies preliminary grading from the Green Building Council of South Africa. Brett Herron, the city’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, says the final certification is to be issued within the next two months.
“The significance of this certification cannot be overstated. Cape Town is facing one of the worst droughts in recorded history. The long- term sustainability of our city depends on our ability to plan ahead, use innovative technologies, and foster an acute awareness of how we use scarce resources.
“It is imperative that all of us who are involved in urban development focus on methods and innovative designs to save water and electricity, and to limit the impact on our environment.”
Herron says the Madulammoho Housing Association has set a benchmark in social housing developments, proving to the industry that energy and water efficiency is not the preserve of upper-income developments.
The units at the Belhar Gardens development use, on average, 30% less water and energy than other housing developments with traditional water and energy designs.
Madulammoho’s chief executive officer, Renier Erasmus, says: “Each unit is fitted with water flow restrictors and water meters that measure the amount of hot and cold water used. The household or tenant is aware of their water usage at all times, and can implement their own water-saving methods.
“We have also replaced conventional geysers with heat pump stations at every block of units. The heat pumps can save up to 48% in electricity use, compared with conventional geysers. The hot water is measured separately for each unit, meaning we pass the savings to the tenant.”