Living the green dream

Private Property South Africa

Towards the end of April, the “My Green Home” challenge kicked off at the home of the Ngewanas, a family interested in living green.

The challenge is an initiative of the Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA) and the South African-German Energy Programme. Through the initiative, the Ngewanas will learn how to “green up” their home and lifestyle through a combination of behavioural changes and eco-friendly equipment.

The Ngewanas have lived in their double-storey house for 11 years. It features five bedrooms, three lounges, a dining room, a kitchen and two bathrooms. There is a swimming pool and some outbuildings as well as a double garage. In total, the property measures approximately 880m².

Bulelwa Ngewana, the mother of the family, says: “We’ve always had good intentions but haven’t been sure about where to start. So we’re taking on the My Green Home challenge, and we’ll be getting help with training and a sponsored green makeover.”

Change needn’t cost

Zwelethu the father explains: “Our goal is to cut our electricity consumption by 15% with no-cost changes. With equipment, we hope to take this to 40% in just three months”.

The family is also aiming to reduce its water consumption by 20% and recycle 75% of its waste. It is hoped that, through their actions, they will inspire other South Africans to join them in going green at home.

Their journey can be followed online and via Twitter at @mygreenhomesa. In addition to the Ngewanas progress, the website also features profiles, useful advice and resources on how to get started, based on cost criteria. Regular competitions will also reward people who participate with a range of green prizes. A fantastic grand prize of another green home makeover will be awarded at the end of the challenge.

  • In February, a set of electricity and water meters was installed to check and analyse the family’s consumption

  • In March, it was “business as usual” for the family as their behaviour and usage was monitored

  • In April, the family received training and started to implement their no-cost changes

  • In early May, a green retrofit transformed the house

  • In June, renewable energy will be added to the house – like solar photovoltaic panels

  • The challenge will continue through to the end of August during which time it will become apparent how much energy the Ngewanas save and how much they changed their lifestyle in order to do so

Says Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA: “We’re leading the transformation of the SA property industry towards environmental sustainability. We started by influencing the commercial property market and now we’re keen to take the lead at individual homes too. We’re delighted that the Ngewana family has taken on this challenge. We wish them well, and we’ll be watching their progress with interest.”

So go on, take the challenge and see how green you can go. Not only will you be doing yourself a favour, but you’ll be helping the environment too.

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