The South African construction industry is set to go green when new energy efficiency building regulations come into effect in November.

South African construction goes green

The South African construction industry is set to go green when new energy efficiency building regulations come into effect in November. It will boost a growing trend of cutting-edge green architecture in the country and create new jobs.

All new buildings will have to use solar water heaters, heat pumps or similar technologies, while ceilings, walls and windows will have to meet minimum requirements in insulation, to minimise heating in winter and cooling in summer. Buildings will also have to be fitted with energy-efficient heating, air conditioning and mechanical ventilation systems.

The regulations will apply to all new energy-consuming structures in which people live or work, such as government social housing, schools, office buildings and hospitals. Local authorities will be responsible for the administration of the regulations and on-site inspections.

“There are no exceptions,” said Reynolds.

Boost job creation

In addition to its environmental benefits, the building standards will also create new job opportunities. Speaking at a South African Bureau of Standards convention in Midrand, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said they would boost the manufacturing sector and contribute towards the government’s goal of creating 5-million jobs by 2020.

Davies also said the regulations will have a positive effect on South Africa’s economy as a whole: the installation services industry alone stands to benefit from government’s plan to produce and install 1-million solar water heaters by 2014/15. The solar water heating programme kicked off in 2010 and is managed by state utility Eskom through the SWH Rebate Programme.

“If we achieve this, we expect to create around 18 000 jobs,” he said.

Sourced from Media Club South Africa

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