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Building? Here’s how to save energy

There is no user manual for all aspects of homeownership, from moving, to taking occupation and to maintaining and understanding common and uncommon defects. Albert van Wyk has more than 38 years’ worth of building experience and has put all he has learned into a concise, easy-to-use reference book entitled, The Proud Home Owner. He has granted HomeTimes exclusive access to republish portions of his book to help homeowners make better decisions around buying and selling, as well as maintaining their properties.

Staying on the straight and narrowwalking-the-tight-rope

All new buildings have to comply with energy saving regulations. Extensions to existing buildings also have to comply with the energy efficiency regulations.

These calculations are highly technical and I will not elaborate on them, except to bring them to your attention.

During the time when I was writing the book we were experiencing electricity load shedding in the country. These days it is advisable to have a generator, candles and gas equipment on standby.

Building orientationstand47

The façade of the house with the major area of glass should face approximately true north. Façades facing east, west and south should be provided with the minimum fenestration for compliance with ventilation and lighting.

The longer axis of the building should be east/west.


Any floor with any kind of heating, e.g. under carpet or under tile heating, must be insulated under the concrete slab to prevent loss of heat.

Hot watergeyser blow resize

At least 50% of the volume of the annual hot water requirement must be heated by something other than an electrical element.

Hot water pipes which are exposed to the environment should all be cladded with an insulating material. The geyser capacity will be calculated for the type and area of the building.


An architect should indicate on the plan of a new building what the maximum energy (Watts) is that will be used by each light and with calculations show that the demand and consumption will not be exceeded.

Roofs and ceilings

The type and thickness of the insulation material will be calculated to determine what is needed to comply with the regulations. The climate zone, roof material, fenestration and building orientation are all taken into consideration to calculate this. All the energy saving calculations and details should be on the plan.

A competent person, or the person who has designed it, must certify on completion of the project that all the requirements have been met, before an occupancy certificate can be issued.

Next time: How to manage alterations to your home

For more, and to order your copy of The Proud Home Owner, click here, or visit Gauteng Home Inspections if you’re building, buying or doing maintenance


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