Australian support for South African ‘green street’

Tuesday, 06 December, 2011

An innovate project in a disadvantaged South African community will be visited by attendees of the UN COP17 climate change summit. The Cato Manor project is being led by the Green Building Council of South Africa and the World Green Building Council, with the project being supported with funding from the Australian federal government, facilitated by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

“This project involves retrofitting an entire street with green building technologies such as solar hot water systems and rainwater collection tanks,” explains the Chief Executive of the GBCA, Romilly Madew. Madew will be attending the launch on 5 December with the Secretary of the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Blair Comley, and Australian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ann Harrup, as part of COP17 side events.

“The project demonstrates that green building practices are affordable and achievable in developing nations and can provide long-term environmental, economic and social benefits. We applaud the Australian Government for supporting the initiative with joint funding from AusAid and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency,” Madew adds.

Each of the houses in the street will be retrofitted with a solar water heater, efficient lighting and roof insulation. Rainwater harvesting systems will enable better water and food security, while fruit trees are being complemented with indigenous trees for shade and biodiversity.

The project team is also installing heat-insulation cookers in each home. In developing countries, the health benefits of investment in technologies and appliances for heating and cooking are directly resulting in better health outcomes. The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that the uptake of green buildings in developing economies could help reduce the estimated 11% of human deaths resulting from poor indoor air quality each year.

“Monitoring and evaluation of energy, resources and dollars saved by the project will enable us to determine how to proceed with future retrofit programs in developing countries,” Madew says.

“The Cato Manor project is a positive example of how green building is not just the preserve of the wealthy. Green building practices can be affordable and deliver on a range of priorities to help people decrease their living costs, improve health and wellbeing, gain valuable job skills and work opportunities, not to mention reduce their impact on the environment,” Madew concludes.

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