Joe Slovo - Mainstreaming Energy Efficiency in Low-Income Housing

The National Department of Human Settlements (DHS), with funding from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), piloted a project that sought to integrate energy efficiency within the government-delivered subsidised housing sector. The chosen project, Joe Slovo Phases 3B and 3C, is part of a larger 'N2 Gateway' project located in Cape Town. At the time of implementation in 2009 the project was managed by Thubelisha Homes on behalf of the DHS, with Sombambisana appointed as a turnkey developer. Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) was part of the technical project team; providing technical and advisory support in the integration of energy efficiency interventions in these households.

This project is closely aligned with the DHS’s Breaking New Ground Strategy, which encourages a holistic approach to housing delivery to ultimately create sustainable human settlements. Poor households spend up to 30% of their income on energy sources. The project developed and piloted affordable energy efficient low-income house designs and materials, with the view to contribute to poverty reduction by reducing the cost of heating houses, improving indoor air quality, and to inform policy for future subsidised housing projects. The energy efficiency interventions that have been implemented in 49 houses built last year have included pergolas for shading, solar water heaters, roof overhangs to protect against the harsh summer sun, larger windows, a northward orientation to maximise winter sun, and ceilings for thermal efficiency. A further 3000 efficient houses will be built during 2010. SEA will be overseeing the Monitoring and Evaluation as well as the Homeowner Education and Awareness components of this larger project.