Arts & Lifestyle Kudos for locally designed zero-energy house

Kudos for locally designed zero-energy house

A zero-energy house designed and built by students at UCT and Stellenbosch University has received acclaim in Africa’s first solar design competition.

The design called House Mahali collects its own water and uses it for evaporative cooling, has a dry toilet, reclaims greywater and has an innovative solar system that generates more electricity than the house uses, according to TimesLive.

The house is encased in recycled plastic bags, which have been turned into yarn and crocheted into 250m² wall panels by unemployed women at the Plastic Project. The project is a social initiative in Franschhoek, in the Western Cape.

The university team built a prototype of the house at Solar Decathlon Africa in Morocco, where it won second prize in the architecture category.

The South African design used a 12m side-opening shipping container for the living space, with timber pods attached. It was based on a traditional Moroccan riad with a central courtyard and water feature.

“These designs have been used for centuries for their exceptional performance in terms of climate control, security, privacy, flexibility and adaptability.”

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