One of the first things that can be adapted to be more in line with going Green are our homes. With this in mind, Engel & Völkers Potchefstroom launched their green initiative by building the first environmentally friendly, energy efficient house in the area at de Land Estate in Potchefstroom.
Project Green House was initiated by Carl Venter, Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Potchefstroom, with the help of Devilliers du Toit Architects in Pretoria. The project commenced in January 2014 and has since then been monitored by experts from North West University in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the various green technologies used in a specific climate.
“Following on from going green in how we eat, commute and consume, adapting a building to be more energy efficient, more conscious of natural surroundings and making optimal use of the environment is next in line. The idea was for the house to be used as a guideline for developers that want to be at the forefront of green building and for home-owners who want to go green with their existing homes,” says project initiator Carl Venter.
A lot of research was undertaken before commencement of the project, and the house will continue to be monitored and tested in order to achieve accurate results in energy efficiency and cost effectiveness.
“Project Green aims to create a prototype or a blue print, if you like, of a residential property that is as close to the perfect environmentally friendly ideal as possible. Building design, construction, maintenance and the way we live needs to adapt and move forward and this is exactly what we’re doing with the project,” continues Venter.
There were a number of factors taken into account in each step of the building process. The first step was location.
The second step focused on Green activities that included the selection of the right building team. The architects, contractors and design team were all green building specialists with experience in green building methods.
The third element to consider is insulation and thermal comfort. Effective insulation creates a welcoming and warm interior during winter and a cool and comfortable interior during summer.
“In doing our research we realised the significance of insulation. The ‘green’ ideal is to design and insulate a house to achieve a thermal passive shell. A lot of the heat that we spend hours, vast amounts of money and electricity on to create in winter, just gets lost through roofs, floors, windows, doors and walls – basically every part that is not insulated,” explains Venter.
Insulation implemented in the Project Green house:
“Engel & Völkers is not just about selling homes, but about families, people and lifestyles. With Project Green, the aim is to provide insight and information on how each individual can make a difference, no matter what the scale,” concludes Venter.