The COP-17 legacy project involves thirty low income homes in a street in Cato Manor, Durban, which have undergone a green refurbishment to demonstrate the range of possible social, economic and environmental benefits.
South Africa has built over 2.5 million low-income homes in the past fifteen years, and is targeting a further three million by 2025. So far, green considerations such as passive design, energy/thermal efficiency and water efficiency have not generally been a priority.
However, this is something that needs to be addressed as living conditions can be improved in a way that minimises the drain on the earth’s resources, minimises the impact on the environment and avoids a ‘carbon intensive’ development path. This demonstration project thus will act as a positive legacy to inform policy and practice beyond COP17.
Each house will gain a solar water heater, efficient lighting and a heat-insulation cooker. Roof insulation will regulate temperatures in the homes to ensure they are cooler in summer and warmer in winter, while the new rainwater harvesting systems will enable better water and food security.
Indigenous trees will be planted, and the Botanical Society of South Africa is sponsoring shade, fruit trees and planting in collaboration with community.
The electricity department, Eskom, has installed energy-saving LED street lighting, and will establish historical baselines for electricity consumption. Similarly, temperature and humidity recorders will help the project team to evaluate the energy and dollars saved by the retrofit project.
The project will deliver a range of socio-economic, health and environmental benefits such as lower energy costs, reduced illness and safety risks, skills training and job creation for disadvantaged members of the community, as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact.
Funding for the project has come from in-kind contributions and sponsorship from the British High Commission and further funding has been received from the Australian government.
The residents have chosen to name the street ‘Isimosezulu COP17 Place’. Isimosezulu means ‘climate’, and will ensure COP-17 has a lasting legacy for the people of Cato Manor