Is it time to go green?
KwaZulu-Natal has certainly endured its quota of challenges in recent months, not least of which has been the devastating floods, notes Carol Reynolds, Pam Golding Properties area principal for Durban Coastal. “True to form, our resilient communities have stood together to repair damage and to support those most in need. It is not surprising that many are now considering implementing more sustainable green features in their homes, to ensure that they can literally weather the storms. The burning question is – what features are important and do they enhance the value of our properties?
“If we look at current development trends, there is a strong emphasis on eco-friendly features. Most developments encourage solar panels, heat pumps and some form of water reticulation. Jojo water storage tanks are a great cost-effective way to save water and provide a back-up supply in the event of municipal shortages. For many, the idea is not to be fully off the grid, but rather to have water and energy ‘back-up’ solutions for times of need and to reduce the burden on the local infrastructure.”
Reynolds says a good starting point is for homes to have at least one Jojo tank with a pump that is connected back into the home to act as a reserve water supply and to become the primary source of water for irrigation and gardening purposes. “Depending on the size of the tank, this water solution will cost in the region of R15 000 – R20 000 for an eco-tank, a pump and the plumbing costs to install, including a stable base or foundation for the tank. This is well worth the investment for ongoing peace of mind, and to contribute towards a philosophy of promoting renewable resources.
“From a power supply perspective, many are still relying on inverters. Generators are noisy and costly to run, especially with the increase in fuel prices, so most are opting for small inverter solutions that keep the essentials in their homes running during load shedding
“From a new build perspective, solar inverter systems are probably first prize, as they offer a hybrid solution tapping into both solar energy and municipal supply to keep batteries charged. They also satisfy our eco-friendly goals, by placing less pressure on the grid. It is certainly more cost-effective to install green features at the start of a building project, than to add them after-the-fact to an existing home. Consequently, it is advisable for those planning a new build or undergoing a significant home renovation, to weigh up the costs and benefits of a solar inverter system as opposed to a non-solar alternative at the time of building.”
Adds Reynolds: “The benefits of having green features are self-evident – water and electricity crises become less worrisome and homes remain fully functional despite the failings of our electricity supply and/or municipalities. More and more, we are seeing buyers noting such features, and while it is difficult to quantify the value-added benefits of these, having back-up power and water supply solutions certainly makes homes more appealing and more sellable.
“We anticipate that green features are going to become more desirable as we encounter ongoing service-related challenges throughout South Africa. Going green should not only be a knee-jerk reaction to the recent disaster experienced, it should be an ongoing priority to create a communal mind-set of environmentally-friendly living that is sustainable over time.”
Posted by The Know - Pam Golding Properties