When we used to think of “greenie” types, we generally thought of long-haired hippy youngsters who chain themselves to trees and refer to themselves as eco warriors. Times have changed and, these days, most of us have become far more aware of the environment – and as such have all become a little greener.
While many people have installed solar geysers and manage their grey water, the eco warriors among us remain far more committed to doing their bit for the environment and are building homes that literally put their money where their mouths are.
Although it would be fair to say that truly green homes are in the minority, the trend of building homes that not only blend in to their natural environment, but boast numerous eco features, is on the rise.
They’re on show
Let’s look at a few eco properties, some of which are being featured tonight on Private Property’s Win A Home show, which airs on SABC3 every Thursday evening at 8.
A perfect example of a green home can be found in the prestigious Monaghan Farm near Lanseria in Gauteng. Priced at R19-million, this Enrico Daffonchio-designed home boasts the latest in eco-technology. Heat pumps supply hot water to the home, the under-floor heating and the swimming pool. There is also a Morso wood burner for those extra cold winter nights. In summer, cool and airy circulation between the living areas is ensured by the evaporative coolers and double glazed windows.
Another magnificent example of green building, this one in Blair Atholl Estate on the banks of the Crocodile River, is currently on the market for R16-million. This four bedroom, four bathroom home features heat pumps as well as rain and grey water harvesting.
Serengeti Lifestyle Estate has been described as a prime example of what estates should aspire to. Set among some 300 hectares of a conservation area and home to one of South Africa's top golf courses, the estate is ideal for those who want to enjoy the finer things of life in a laid-back atmosphere. One home in particular, priced at R7.5-million, showcases all that is good about Serengeti. This four bedroom, three bathroom home features an astro turf cricket pitch and putting green and a glass tiled, heated pool complete with a water treadmill. The property is serviced by two solar geysers and a water heater and preparatory work has been undertaken for an inverter.
Another example of going green in style can be found in Diaz Beach in Mossel Bay. Priced at R2.45-million, this three bedroom, two bathroom home was designed to minimise energy usage as much as possible. All of the bedrooms face north and all of the windows are equipped with Solar E glass to regulate heat transfer. The living areas face south and have large glazed areas to allow for maximum natural light. The home is also equipped with a combustion stove that heats the home when temperatures drop too low and things become a little chilly. In summer the home is kept cool via large stacking doors that allow for optimum airflow and circulation. The roofs are all mono pitched to a central concrete slab which serves as a large box gutter, which slopes to a 5 000l water tank, from which the garden is irrigated. The overall usage of energy is regulated by low energy appliances, a gas hob and a large solar geyser. Water consumption is also kept to a minimal by the use of low flow taps and the reuse of rainwater.