Thousands of people recently attended the inaugural HomeShow at Waterfall Estate in Midrand to view a collection of environmentally friendly show homes, proving that the shift towards ‘green’ living in South Africa is fast gaining momentum.
12 homes were opened to the public via the show which was hosted by Century Property Developments and Eskom. The decision to host the show was a natural step for Century. In addition to being one of the first developers to actively drive down the carbon footprint at its residential developments, Century also established Gauteng’s first Green Design Centre in 2011 which acts as a resource hub for homeowners interested in the latest green products and services.
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One of the show houses
The centre proved a hit, prompting Century to ask 12 teams of the best local architects, builders, interior designers and landscapers to design a ‘House of the Century’ for this year’s inaugural HomeShow.
Century Property Developments CEO Mark Corbett said: “The HomeShow is Century’s way of kick-starting eco-awareness in the residential market in South Africa. While many South Africans are aware of the need to protect their environment and especially reduce their own personal carbon footprint, it has not always been easy for them to know exactly how to go about doing anything meaningful. We are hopeful that our HomeShow will in time come to be seen as a key milestone in taking environmental awareness to a new level.”
Waterfall Estate itself comprises a number of different lifestyle nodes featuring stands ranging from 650 to 2000sqm’s. Stand prices start at R745 000 which secures buyers a foot in the door of an estate which features a clubhouse overlooking a lake, walking and mountain bike trails, greenbelts and a private schools amongst other amenities.
Each of the 12 homes displayed between the 27th of October and 4th of November showcased the latest trends in green home designs, gadgets, energy efficiency and landscaping. Of all the show houses on display, number one stood out for me largely due to its appealing rustic design which, according to architect Louise Osborne, was dictated by the need to cater to the future needs of a growing family.
The concept behind the form of the home was that of three simple farm-style shed buildings linking together around a central courtyard. The shape and orientation of the long narrow stand catalysed this particular design which also allows the majority of the rooms to enjoy outward facing views. In line with the evolving needs of a growing family, two of the home’s elegantly outfitted rooms are “flexible” in that they can be used for a number of purposes such as a children’s play room or office.
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A hanging garden on the side of the property
According to Osborne, the home’s north facing orientation was arguably the single greatest determining factor in terms of its environmentally friendly design. North facing buildings benefit from more sunlight hours each day, making the spaces lighter and warmer all year round which cuts down on the need for heating and light in winter. When it gets hot in summer, excellent cross ventilation made possible by the form of the house, open plan living areas and strategically placed windows keeps the house cool.
The building itself is designed with natural materials such as clay bricks which greatly facilitate insulation and offer the lowest carbon footprint in terms of distance travelled. It’s worth mentioning that clay bricks are durable, can be recycled and are fire resistant.
“Number one’s windows are double glazed and the frames are made from uPVC which means that not only do they prevent heat loss but they also seal out wind and sound,” adds Osborne.
Number one’s ceilings are insulated with Eco-Insulation, a treated wood fibre product made from recycled paper, and the building’s water heaters tap into the estate’s piped gas which heats water on demand, making the system 40 to 50% more energy efficient than traditional geysers.
Countless other green features were incorporated into number one and the other show houses on display which was encouraging to see. The event was clearly a hit with the thousands of visitors who were given the opportunity to vote for their favourite house during their visit. The winning house will be announced during the course of this week.