In­no­va­tive de­signs would boost ef­fi­cien­cies in city

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

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.”

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