News > news - 20 Feb 2008
There is a bright side to the current energy crisis, says Tony Clarke, MD of
Rawson Properties: it is forcing the housing sector to find new ways of
saving and generating energy.

“Ironically,” said Clarke, “our problem in SA has been that electricity has
been inexpensive in comparison to what many First World countries are
paying – which is why we did not look for alternative energy-saving
solutions. All that is now set to change.”

Responding to what the Minister of Housing, Dr Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu, said
at a conference which he recently attended, Clarke said that what the
Minister had asked for is attainable. “She wants the housing sector to
introduce energy saving systems prior to any property changing ownership,”
said Clarke. “We at Rawson’s believe this is the right way to go – and we
think that the systems should also become compulsory in all homes.”

Asked which systems his group can recommend, Clarke said that there are many
options but initially the following should be seriously considered.

· solar heaters,
· double glazing,
· weather stripping of doors and windows,
· switching to gas appliances,
· install energy management devices,
· a UPS solution for your security equipment,
· install energy-efficient lightbulbs,
· install sensor lighting,
· blanketing of all geysers and hot water pipes,
· insulating roofs and ceilings to a greater degree,
· installing automatic switches on geysers and other hot
water systems, allowing them to cut the power supply for a few hours each
· encouraging the use of off-peak electricity which can
then be stored in batteries.

“Solar, wind and tidal power,” said Clarke, “will be obvious final solutions
but as things now stand there is too little incentive to adopt them because
they cannot currently be fed into the national grid. It is time we followed
the example of those European countries which actively encourage the
generation of power for the national network from domestic sources – and
then credit them on their home meters for this.”

Although the present problems could lead to greater use of domestic
generators, Clarke said that this is not a long-term solution because diesel
is expensive – and likely to be in short supply from now on.
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