South Africa has been dealing with more than a 100 days of Lockdown, with the curfew now reinforced and the economic toll of a recession biting. Add to this Loadshedding is now back in play.
The far-reaching impact homeowners re-evaluating their lifestyle and long-term goals, but also the immediate surroundings of the home, whether owned or rented.
Changing the focus of what adds value to a property
It will certainly change the criteria with which people evaluate a proposed rental or purchase, geared towards a simpler, more cost-effective lifestyle.
Their key criteria will include affordability, convenient location, close to amenities, including schools and the workplace. It may include a larger living space to enjoy quality family time, or a more compact space for singles or young couples starting out and wishing to conserve capital.
"Some may even decide to relocate to more decentralised areas or secondary towns, away from congested cities, or areas on the periphery of cities, yet still easily accessible and more suited to their needs, including career and family. More people are likely to continue to work from home, which means their living requirements will need to accommodate this."
Golding adds that as Eskom further increases the costs of electricity, coupled with more load-shedding once lockdown ends, the impact on municipal tariffs that form a significant portion of living costs, will be significant.
"It makes good sense to try to reduce these as much as possible and gear one’s lifestyle to suit the challenges of today and going forward.”
Says Anthony Stroebel, a director of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) says reducing monthly costs and implementing energy-saving solutions – as far as budgets permit - in order to live as much off the grid as possible will become much more commonplace.
“With over 16.7 million households in South Africa, homes are a significant consumer of water and energy resources as well as generators of waste. Any contribution towards reducing this consumption and output not only has the potential to help reduce the collective environmental footprint, but it also adds value to a residential property, particularly in terms of desirability. According to the GBCSA, 27% of the energy produced in South Africa is consumed by the residential sector, which also accounts for 60% of municipal water and sanitation sales, and contributes 44% of municipal waste.
'Sustainable living indicators as a green home rating tool'
“Energy, water and waste have measurable baselines and benchmarks, which, along with other ‘sustainable living’ indicators, have been refined by the GBCSA into a green home rating tool (EDGE certification) which enables a householder to assess where their home sits on the sustainability scales.
The rating tool – which generates a score out of 100 - covers three distinct spheres of influence – behaviour; performance, namely measured water, energy and waste performance; and asset improvements, such as insulation. This will give South African householders the information and tools they need to transform their homes for healthier and more sustainable and environmentally prosperous living.”
“This simple tool offers rewards and incentives for achieving ‘green goals’, compares your performance to others and tracks performance, provides a clear measurement of sustainability and clear benchmarking framework for reducing operating costs and providing more appealing homes," adds Stroebel.
So where to start?
Grahame Cruickshanks, managing executive for a market engagement at GBCSA, explains some of the easily-available investment options, across three specific categories and the time it would take for these to break even.