Davies to introduce renewable energy quota for new buildings
CAPE TOWN - All new commercial and residential buildings will have to receive at least 50% of their hot water requirements from renewable energy sources, such as solar water heaters and heat pumps, in terms of new regulations to be promulgated by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies in the next two months.
While not affecting existing building stock, the new regime announced by Energy Minister Dipuo Peters yesterday will lay the foundation for energy efficient buildings in future. The regulations fit in with the government's drive to promote energy efficiency and roll out solar water heating systems, the aim being to install 1-million solar panels by 2014.
Trade and industry spokesman Sidwell Medupe said the regulations would apply to all new buildings regardless of their value and while it would add to the cost, "over the lifetime of the repayment of the building the additional costs will be minimum". He said the implementation of the national policy was supposed to have started in March but it had been delayed due to substantive input from the industry.
Ms Peters said in a written reply to a parliamentary question by Independent Democrats MP Lance Greyling that the amendment to the n ational b uilding r egulations had emerged from consultations between the departments of energy and trade and industry.
The announcement was welcomed by Mr Greyling as well as the Green Building Council of SA which represents major construction and engineering companies, property owners, asset managers, project managers and interior designers.
The council is a member of the World Green Building Council and the official certification body of buildings under the Green Star SA rating system.
Council technical executive Manfred Braune said the new regulation would have a significant effect on energy consumption and the heightened demand for solar panels would increase competition and contribute to lowering costs.
Mr Braune said he did not think the regulation would impose heavy additional costs on the construction of new buildings and said savings would be made on electricity costs.
Mr Greyling said many sectors had been calling for such regulation for some time and for greater urgency in the roll-out of the solar water heating programme, which had fallen far short of targets. One of the problems, he said, was that Eskom had not been given enough funding to reach this target.
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