South African parastatal Eskom’s inability to meet the nation’s electricity demands could in the long run prove a blessing, according to property developer, Fritz van Graan, Inframax’s Regional Manager for Johannesburg.
Van Graan believes the seriousness of the undersupply will force developers and designers to be more energy conscious and less reckless in their energy use.
“From now on,” said van Graan, “developers will be far more conscientious about reducing energy consumption.” They will also, he believes, become very creative at the drawing board stage and more willing to consider alternative energy sources such as gas and solar heating.
“On a recent visit to Holland and Belgium I came across wind farms with ±3 000 wind turbines. In my view many areas of South Africa are suited to this type of energy production and recent studies have shown that even a relatively small initial step in this direction could result in a 15% saving.”
On its 1 Athole project in Craighall, Inframax has already been told that the city cannot supply the originally required capacity within the next two years. Inframax has, therefore, isolated the hot water system (the main electricity consumer) and is now looking towards solar power. They are likely to make gas an option for the ovens and hobs.
“Until now,” said van Graan, “power in SA has been relatively inexpensive and, knowing little about global warming, we had no incentive to reduce consumption, but that has all changed and we are looking at a future in which to a greater or lesser degree all buildings will be green.”