The Herald (South Africa)
PE complex sets mark in green design
Fourleaf Estate becomes Africa’s first Edge-certified housing development
SETTING a new standard for residential energy efficiency, the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has named a Port Elizabeth housing complex, Fourleaf Estate, as Africa’s greenest residential development.
Situated in Parsons Vlei, Similan Properties’ Fourleaf Estate has become the first residential development in Africa to receive Edge (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) certification.
The International Finance Corporation – a member of the World Bank Group – created Edge and worked with the GBCSA to tailor the green building certification system especially for the South African environment.
Headquartered in Cape Town, Similan specialises in residential developments for the emerging middle-class market.
It launched the freehold Fourleaf Estate last year and has already sold 157 units in the complex. When completed, the complex will have a total of 323 units.
Speaking during a tour of the sprawling estate which neighbours the actual Parsons vlei, Similan project manager Tarquin Geldenhuys outlined the attributes leading to Fourleaf’s certification.
Geldenhuys said the development was up to 29% more energy-efficient, up to 25% more water-efficient, and enjoyed up to 43% reduction in embodied energy.
“For a resident, this means savings of about R1 280 in utility costs, if the unit is operated in the way it is intended.”
The energy efficiencies stem from practical solutions ranging from how the housing units have been constructed to how resources like energy and water are dispensed in the homes.
Heat pumps, which dramatically reduced the costs and energy used by geysers, had been installed for hot water, while low-flow taps reduced hot water consumption through aeration, Geldenhuys said.
“The units also have low-flow showerheads and dual-flush toilets. Reduced window-towall ratios and roof insulation ensure optimal energy efficiency.”
The construction methodology also assisted in retaining and expelling heat in winter and summer respectively, which significantly assisted energy efficiencies in the homes.
Importantly, according to Geldenhuys, the lower utility costs associated with the units greatly assisted prospective homeowners to secure financing for the houses, as these costs were factored into affordability assessments done by financial institutions.
There is an on-site borehole. Water from it is being used to maintain the estate as a whole, and a decision on whether residents will enjoy free access to it will be made at a later stage.
Fourleaf also aims to provide digital connectivity to residents, with cables having already been laid at the complex and with one of the estate’s four park areas to offer Wi-Fi access.
According to development manager Pieter du Toit, developing in a sustainable manner while creating more opportunities for South Africans to own homes, is critical.
“Although not easy, our philosophy around sustainable development is simple,” he said.
“If we want to offer buyers an affordable investment, we should develop in ways that will save them costs.”
Fourleaf Estate is funded by the Housing Impact Fund of South Africa, managed by the Development Impact Funds team, within Old Mutual Alternative Investments.