South Africa’s first “green street” upgrade, funded mainly by the British High Commission, was completed last year and consisted of the upgrade of 30 low-cost houses in a small cul-de-sac road in the historic township of Cato Manor in Durban.
Some of the findings of the R1,2-million project, along with policy implications and estimates for what could be achieved by a nationwide retrofit of existing low-cost housing, were presented at the launch.
The most popular intervention was the installation of solar water heaters, as it provided convenient warm water to residents who previously used less sustainable methods to heat their water. Some of the other upgrade interventions included rainwater-harvesting systems that were designed for houses that had been built without gutters, energy-efficient lighting and insulated ceilings.
The study calculated that approximately R3-billion a year could be saved by residents in electricity and water costs if similar retrofits were implemented across the country’s three-million state-built low-cost houses.
“The UK is committed to promoting global low carbon growth and supports South Africa’s efforts in this area. The British High Commission’s Prosperity Team manages projects valued at over R12 million a year in support of South Africa’s low carbon, economics and trade objectives,” Dame Nicola told the audience.
“The Australian High Commission has agreed to fund the second phase of the pilot project, which will be rolled out to 26 adjacent homes in what is becoming a ‘green hub’ within the Durban township,” announced Brian Wilkinson the CEO of the Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA) .
Sarah Rushmere, the advocacy and special projects executive at the GBCSA, says this project is a demonstration of the multiple benefits of green building solutions. She hopes the Cato Manor Green Street will act as a catalyst for more green retrofits of low-income housing and will begin to influence human settlement policy in South Africa.