With electricity and water costs escalating fast and the outlook suggesting ongoing increases well above Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) over the long term, sectional title buildings are starting to take a close interest in a variety of green projects. A range of relatively simple options are popular focus areas including:
• Irrigation systems: installing an irrigation system with a weather sensor to adjust watering to temperature, humidity and rainfall conditions together with timing garden watering to reduce evaporation, are important opportunities to reduce water consumption whilst maintaining an attractive garden
• Rain water capture systems: many buildings have significant common property roof and courtyard surface areas which provides an excellent opportunity to capture significant volumes of rain water. Redirecting down pipes into storage tanks with appropriate filters and pumps are easily achieved. Captured rain water can then be utilised for garden watering purposes and even toilet ring main water supply in some buildings
• Depending on the plumbing and water reticulation architecture in sectional title buildings, capturing and recycling grey water from baths, basins and showers is also an opportunity
• Heat pumps: replacing centralised boiler installations with heat pumps is an important opportunity to save electricity. There is also currently an Eskom Demand Side Management (DSM) capex subsidy potentially available to contribute to the capital costs of a project of this nature. Solar panels may also be considered as part of a water heating solution
• Roof gardens: these are options for high rise blocks of flats typically in densified areas for aesthetic, temperature and green benefits.
Green consultants are available to survey and evaluate buildings to identify potential green projects, providing quotes and forecast cost savings with their recommendations. In addition, loan funding for green projects is becoming more readily available to fund the necessary capital costs and typically the savings achieved from reduced water and electricity costs can contribute to a large component of the loan repayment instalments. Trafalgar Financial Services which specialises in loans and levy finance for sectional title buildings, is very interested in this space and eager to partner with buildings looking to reduce their carbon footprint.
Written by Andrew Schaefer (Managing Director)