New buildings must follow energy laws
NEW buildings would have to be fitted with renewable energy water heating systems to avoid running foul of the government's new regulations on energy efficiency.
SA is set to run into electricity supply constraints in the period between next year and 2012, when the first unit of the Medupi power station is commissioned, and between 2018 and 2024.
This has highlighted the urgency of reduced electricity consumption through energy efficiency.
Compared with ramping up electricity production, energy efficiency is a quicker and cheaper alternative. The government has set a target of a 15% reduction in final energy demand in 2015, in an effort to reduce the strain on the national electricity grid.
The move towards energy efficiency requires changes to new buildings as the country's older buildings are considered energy inefficient.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies last week published a regulation for the environmental sustainability of buildings, which is a sub-regulation to the National Building Regulation and Building Standards Act.
The regulation requires all buildings to be fitted with renewable energy water heating systems, such as solar water heating systems.
"Solar water heating systems will also have to comply with South African National Standards . The regulations require that buildings, heaters, air-conditioners and mechanical ventilation systems will have to be energy efficient," the department said.
The regulation, published in the Government Gazette on Friday, dictated that layout drawings for new buildings should show the location and capacity of water heating installations and details of the required insulation.
"The energy efficient regulation for residential and commercial buildings, places of learning and worship, certain medical clinics and other categories of buildings will make it compulsory for all new buildings to be designed and constructed to a standard that will make it possible for the user to minimise the energy required to meet the functional requirements," the department said.
The regulation also stipulated that different elements of buildings, such as roofs, ceilings, walls and windows, would have to meet minimum requirements for preventing loss of heat in winter or heat gain in summer .
The Department of Energy has commenced with the roll-out of solar water heaters.
Energy Minister Dipuo Peters has said that the department wants to distribute 1-million solar water heaters by 2014 to reduce the burden of water heating on the national electricity grid. In April this year, President Jacob Zuma and Ms Peters launched the national solar water heating programme at Winterveldt, north of Pretoria.
The Department of Trade and Industry said the regulations would be part of the national energy strategy. The department has invited written comments on the regulations for a two-month period.
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