Residential contribution to environmental degradation is often considered a minor issue in relation to industrial and agricultural processes. Whilst these industrial and agricultural processes have a large impact on greenhouse gases and use large quantities of water, the residential sector cannot distance itself from it. Household behaviour is a considerable source of environmental harms and carbon emissions. Every individual in this world lives in a household and therefore contributes his share. In Cape Town the following statistics apply:

  • Households use 60% of total municipality water consumption
  • Households use 38% of total electricity consumption, 6% is for residential lighting

Martina Gluckman, an eco and efficiency consultant assists households with determining their current environmental performance. She provides residential eco audits resulting in the development of a green household management plan. In this article we have asked her to explain the financial benefits and eco achievements that come with greening a home. We have asked her to provide us with an example of her work. She demonstrated the following family home she has worked on in 2010.

The home

The house is a triple storey family home with 3 en-suite bedrooms, 3 bedrooms, extra large open plan living area, medium sized garden with pool and one flatlet.

The objectives

Martina Gluckman conducted a full residential eco audit on the premises with the objective to reduce the overall environmental footprint of the household and at the same time reduce costs on utility bills. The comprehensive audit included all areas of residential resources and operations such energy, water, waste management and elimination of contaminants. Martina Gluckman set out to provide the home owners with the best strategy for reducing water and electricity consumption whilst remaining within the designated budget for retrofits. Since maintaining the current lifestyle is a primary goal, Martina Gluckman makes every effort to avoid any inconvenience and balances financial with behavioural efficiency when suggesting retrofits.

The process

A full residential eco audit of the premises was undertaken. The following eco auditing methodology was applied:

  • Contact with municipality for collection of historical data
  • Visit to premises with interview of the homeowner
  • Walkabout and audit of the house
    • Kitchen
    • Rooms with water connections
    • General rooms and flatlet
    • Garden and pool
  • Post interview
  • Production of detailed report

The data gathered from the above steps was then analysed. Calculations were based on occupational and operational patterns established through the interview. Suitable retrofitting options were proposed and payback periods were calculated. An implementation strategy for each household section was developed so that a minimum environmental footprint could be achieved by means of current technologies available in SA and within allocated budget by the homeowner

The results

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Download the full case study here: Residential Eco Consultation case study

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