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Solar heaters for Cosmo City
11 June 2010

MMC for environment Matshidiso Mfikoe launches the climate proofing project in Cosmo City

Subsidised houses in Cosmo City are more energy efficient, with new ceiling insulation and solar water heating systems.

COSMO City was drowned in the sounds of vuvuzelas as a large crowd converged to celebrate the installation of solar water heaters and insulated ceilings in 700 RDP homes in their community.

MMC for environment Matshidiso Mfikoe and counsellor at the Danish embassy Carsten Laugesen at the launch of the climate proofing project
MMC for environment Matshidiso Mfikoe and counsellor at the Danish embassy Carsten Laugesen at the launch of the climate proofing project

Wearing green and yellow, the colours of the national football team, Bafana Bafana, residents of the northwestern suburb showed their appreciation for the climate proofing project by singing and dancing. The project was implemented by the City and the Embassy of Denmark to promote renewable energy and energy efficiencies in low income housing.

It was funded by the Danish Development Agency (Danida) under the auspices of the embassy as part of a R15-million climate change mini-programme for Joburg. The City spent R9-million on installing solar water heaters in Cosmo City.

Speaking at the unveiling of the climate proofing project on Wednesday, 9 June, the member of the mayoral committee for environment and corporate services, Mathidiso Mfikoe, said it was part of the City's programme to address the effects of climate change and to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

"This project will contribute to achieving the Department of Energy's target of one million solar water heating units within five years," Mfikoe said.

It is the continuation of the roll out of 170 solar water heaters in 2007 in the same area.

Mfikoe said the City was monitoring the project to determine electricity savings and changes to indoor temperatures. "Carbon savings will also be calculated in order for the City to apply for carbon revenue for this project. This revenue will be used for additional renewable interventions and maintenance of the interventions."

It had demonstrated that jobs could be created from green industries. "The contractors for this project are required to train and employ members of the community in skills required for the installation of the interventions."

This would provide them with sustainable skills that would equip them for future employment in a growing sector of the economy.

Solar water heaters in Cosmo City
Solar water heaters in Cosmo City
The project involved the installation in subsidised houses of:
  • Solar water heaters to heat water using the sun's energy;
  • Isoboard ceilings to improve indoor temperatures; and
  • Compact fluorescent lamps to improve the efficiency of lighting.

A few years ago, many RDP houses were built without ceilings. This posed a serious challenge to families trying to heat or cools their homes, resulting in condensation or warm and damp conditions. Such conditions are known to provide a breeding ground for diseases, especially tuberculosis.

The development counsellor at the Danish embassy, Carsten Laugesen, said the climate proofing project would help many households reduce electricity costs. "Denmark is committed to helping the City in implementing carbon reduction initiatives that can promote energy conservation to save money and the environment."

After the speeches, Mfikoe and other City officials unveiled the solar water heating system at one of the houses and planted a tree outside the home.

Sello Mohale, one of the beneficiaries, described the solar heater as a life-saver. Previously, he had battled to pay his electricity bills. "The solar water heating system is quite efficient and I no longer use a lot of electricity," he explained.

Solar water heater
A low pressure solar water heating system has been used in this project. It is an evacuated tube close-coupled thermo siphon system. The system includes a water tank mounted on the roof. Water gravitates from the tank to the hot water tap.

The tank and vacuum tubes are filled with water and are heated by the sun. As the water in the tubes gets warmer, it rises and mixes with the colder water from the tank, eventually heating all of it to a high temperature.

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Last Updated on 25 June 2010