Low-cost ‘green’ house signals way of future

The completion and handover of the first low-cost house that uses solar and wind energy to a Mfuleni mother yesterday has been tipped as a precedent for future low-cost housing in the Western Cape.

The “green” house allows the owner access to free lighting and hot water through “green” architectural methods as well as solar panels, and wind power from locally manufactured wind turbines.

Now Housing MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela wants to roll out similar houses “en masse”, he said while handing the house over to Mfuleni resident Phindiwe Mbewana, 33, in windy conditions yesterday.

Mbewana had applied for and received a subsidy through a partnership between the housing department and low-cost housing developers VHP Holdings (Pty) Ltd.

After demolishing her shack and squatting in a neighbour’s home, she had to wait only a month before her new 50-square-metre, three-bedroom house was completed.

Mbewana could not hide her joy as Madikizela gave her the keys yesterday.

“I am so excited I can’t wait to move in tonight. I can’t believe this is my home.”

Madikizela said the house was a response to his call for the housing department to explore alternative technologies in housing delivery.

“As the (housing) department, we want to take this and roll it out en masse – we’ve seen this is working.”

VHP Holdings managing director Sean van Horsten said the house set a precedent for all low-cost housing projects.

The house is 10m2 bigger than normal RDP houses.

VHP Holdings teamed up with Purest Energy, a company representing local manufacturers of wind turbines and solar solutions.

“We have utilised solar geysers and wind turbines so as to supply alternative, sustainable and affordable lighting and hot water,” said Van Horsten.

Corne Snyders, of Purest Energy, said their solar- and wind-energy system provided the owner with free electricity.

“If you consider that prices of electricity are going up, it makes sense to come up with these alternative methods.

Cape Times 22nd April 2010

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