Growthpoint Properties became the first party to wheel renewable electricity in the City of Cape Town in September, in collaboration with licenced electricity trader Etana Energy. Wheeling is a process in which electricity is bought and sold between private parties, using the existing grid to transport power from its generation point to end-users.
The City’s six-month pilot project includes 15 wheeling participants, representing 25 generators and 40 customers, and will lay the groundwork for future wheeling in Cape Town so that businesses can harness energy from rooftop solar panels in different locations. Solar energy generated at Growthpoint’s shopping centre in Constantia is currently being exported into Cape Town’s electricity grid for use at the company’s 36 Hans Strijdom office building in the Foreshore.
According to Estienne de Klerk, CEO of Growthpoint Properties, “This project brings Growthpoint closer to our climate commitment of being carbon neutral by 2050 and is the starting point to providing clean green energy to our tenants in Cape Town to further their environmental commitments.”
IFC Women in Green Building Competition 2023
The IFC and GBCSA strive to empower and upskill women professionals within the property and construction sectors. To help achieve this goal, the IFC Women in Green Building competition, launched in August this year, provides EDGE Expert green building training for 10 finalists.
Congratulations to the finalists for 2023 (below, from left): Sindile Buthelezi; Amber Freestone; Luze Kloppers-Mouton; Aobakwe Makwaba; Antoinette Mralasi; Blondie Matshata; Sanelisiwe Mmusi; Lorraine Mooi; Lungile Mthi; and Giselle Pillay. Prizes for the top three exam scores from the EDGE Expert exam will be awarded in November at the GBCSA Annual Convention.
There’s more! You can also access a green building training course developed by the IFC. Sign up for the free online Design for Greater Efficiencies course at www.learn.edgebuildings.com
Dignified, affordable housing can become a reality for all South Africans – with the right support. South African Minister of Human Settlements Mmamoloko Kubayi recently revealed that 1.9 million households (11.4% of the population) endure life in informal dwellings.
In the heart of Cape Town’s housing crisis, a beacon of hope is emerging from the sprawling informal settlements. Cape Town-based NPO, the Urban Think Tank Empower (UTTE) has developed a revolutionary housing model in Khayelitsha, one of the country’s largest and most marginalised informal settlements. Phase one of the Empower initiative has already transformed the lives of 350 residents through 72 Empower homes designed to meet their needs and cultural values.
Delana Finlayson, Managing Director at UTTE, says: “We’re confident that scaling up and replicating our housing model can help to deliver the promise of ‘housing security and comfort’ for all South Africans, as enshrined in the 1955 Freedom Charter.” Phase two is set to expand this success with 70 more Empower homes, public spaces and shared assets, and UTTE aims to deliver numerous new homes annually. www.utte.co.za
NEW LEADERSHIP for SAPOA
The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) recently announced Attacq CEO Jackie van Niekerk as its new president at the association’s 2023 Annual Convention and Property Networking event in Sun City.
Van Niekerk has over 14 years’ experience in the property industry and, prior to joining Attacq in 2018, she was CEO of Pivotal Property Fund.
Representing almost 90% of the country’s commercial and industrial real estate owners, SAPOA promotes the interests of its members by representing them on matters affecting the property industry at national and local government levels.
“SAPOA continues to ensure that the industry has the right voice and is at the right table, lobbying on behalf of the industry to improve policy, supported by excellent research,” said Van Niekerk. “It is imperative that we help our businesses navigate the current landscape with the right messages. Education and training remain close to my heart. [They] remain a powerful means for building a better future for South Africa.” www.sapoa.org.za
A place in the sun
Regional Director of WSP in Africa, Alison Groves, believes domestic solar power is key in reducing South Africa’s reliance on fossil fuels in energy generation:
Although South Africa showed a decrease of around 3% in carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes between 2021 and 2022, it remains among the top 15 largest emitters of CO2 worldwide.
With loadshedding compromising the ability to work effectively, the need to become energy self-reliant has become pressing. An increase in the international oil price has rendered diesel-fuelled generators unaffordable, facilitating the rapid uptake of renewable energy solutions for the home.
There have been two significant legislative enablers for rooftop solar adoption in South Africa in the last year, and since these key changes, rooftop solar has become far more accessible to local households, with renewable power generation capacity doubling in a year. This, in turn, makes it easier for individuals to be part of the Net Zero solution at home.
Private households are taking up the opportunity to feed in excess power to the grid where transmission and distribution systems are sufficiently developed to accept it, and the cost/benefit ratio makes sense. Some municipalities, including the Cities of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Tshwane, have started to implement feed-in tariffs for households, allowing those that can generate excess power to feed back into the grid.
So, in thinking about renewable energy, and climate change in general, we can make a difference in our “small” individual actions at home. The impact of South Africans adopting home solar power is already visible and continues to make a positive difference to lower-income households as grid feed-in becomes more prevalent. www.wsp.com
Towards a greener future
Representatives from the International Finance Corporation (IFC – the private sector arm of the World Bank), and two South African property developers last month visited innovative affordable housing projects in Johannesburg being certified by EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies), the green building certification developed by the IFC.
Inkanyezi Village in Katlehong and Wisani Heights in Soweto are two projects by Alleyroads Holdings, a national-scale property developer and landlord with a focus on creating sustainable green affordable housing. The third project site visited was Jewel City, in the heart of old Johannesburg, being developed by Divercity, a property developer transforming entire neighbourhoods of former office buildings to affordable urban housing, to combat urban sprawl. The new green homes will reduce energy and water consumption, as well as embodied carbon used in building materials, by at least 20% – the minimum standard for EDGE certification.
About 70% of new building in South Africa is in the residential sector and 85% of all EDGE certifications are residential. EDGE (certified by GBCSA) dominates the residential green building certification market with more than 90% of certifications. www.edgebuildings.com