Mandatory Energy Efficient Education For Government

Cape Town - A suggestion has been made for government officials to go through a "mandatory energy efficient education."

In the same vein, Parliament in Cape Town and Pretoria's Union Buildings have been called upon to take the lead in energy saving.

Government has also been urged to stop the "urban sprawl" and have a coordinated approach on achieving energy efficiency.

This came out earlier on Tuesday during presentations to Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Energy by various built industry players, such as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Council for the Built Industry (CBE).

The meeting came at a time when the country and the global community is preparing for the much anticipated COP17 Climate Change talks later this year in Durban.

Dr Llewellyn van Wyk of CSIR argued that there were 10 things the government had to do in order to win the fight on energy-saving.

These, he said, included moving away from "urban sprawl" to integrated urban development and investing in alternative energy as well as innovative and bio-composite materials.

For instance, he said that industrial hemp, which can be grown four times a year in this country, could be used for building.

However, he said that the police were resistant in giving licenses for hemp growing, as some people tendered to grow the plant along with dagga.

While there were no simple solutions in saving energy, he called for "smart ways" in designing buildings and allocation of land.

He said that South Africa could save up to 23.3 million gigajoules of energy through clever design of houses.

By 2035, he said that the global energy use in the non-high income countries would have increased by 36 percent.

The committee admitted that the "situation is threatening and answers too hard to get."

Zola Skosana of CBE expressed concern on whether town planners were tapping into new and smart technologies when designing buildings.

He called on government to lead by example in the retrofitting of its buildings in order to save energy.

Steve Thorne, director of non-profit organisation SouthSouthNorth, said that they would upscale their Kuyasa Project in Cape Town to a National Sustainable Development Facility (NSDF).

The initiative was Africa's first Clean Development Mechanism project.

The committee was also impressed with the presentation on an "Integrated Energy Environment Empowerment - Cost Optimised (iEEECO)" project taking place in Atlantis, outside Cape Town.

The mixed housing project was also being funded by the Department of Human Settlements. - BuaNews