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South Africa goes green in a bid to oust frequent powercuts

by David Masters
February 19, 2008

As widespread powercuts and rising energy bills strike South Africa, the country is turning to green building as a way of tackling both of these problems, whilst reducing its carbon footprint.

Being neither a developing country nor an industrialised world power, South Africa’s energy supply is less than reliable. However, until now, energy has always been cheap.

Now, though, the growing energy demands of business and domestic users have led to a drastic increase in both power cuts and energy prices.

The recently set up Green Building Council of South Africa sees this rise in powercuts not as a problem, but as an opportunity. It is being used by the council as an added incentive to encourage developers to consider energy efficiency and on-site power generation.

Local authorities have taken notice too, and are pushing through regulations for more energy efficiency in new developments.

Marna van der Walk, president of the South African Property Owners Association, is reported to have said: “Many businesses are realising that back-up generators are simply not a sustainable solution in the longer-term.

“We need to find viable, alternative sources of renewable energy – as is being done in Europe and North America – such as solar or wind energy.”

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