2010 Winner
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre
Impumelelo Social Innovations Centre
South Africa

This program earned a Platinum award.




South Africa has built roughly 2.4m low-income homes in the past 15 years; and aims to build a further 3m over the next 15. However, most of these houses have been built to very basic specifications, with little thought being given to thermal comfort or efficiency. These houses are then characterized by high levels of energy consumption (for heating in winter, for cooling in summer; and for cooking) which corresponds to high energy costs; and poor living conditions for occupants. The aim was therefore to make these houses more energy efficient, to conserve energy, to reduce costs for the occupants, and to benefit their health. In 2002, SouthSouthNorth, in partnership with City of Cape Town, built ten pilot houses, and assessed their effectiveness in reducing energy consumption and costs over time. In 2008, SAEDF, DEAT and the Provincial Department of Housing, in partnership with Kuyasa, began the retrofitting of 2300 houses in Khayelitsha. This involved installing solar water heaters (SHWs), insulated ceilings, and energy efficient lighting. Over 1000 installations have been completed to date, with the remainder due to be completed by December 2009. In July 2009, the project also commissioned an independent 1950 sample baseline survey; and 750 sample impact survey to provide statistical data on the project’s achievements.








Innovation: The innovation lies in making low-cost housing more energy efficient; and therefore more cost-efficient for those who live in it. This will assist in making the country more energy efficient generally; and can result in emission reductions.








Effectiveness: It is claimed that the savings in electricity consumption could result in emission reductions of 2.85tonnes of CO2 per household per year. There will also be a 5% temperature increase in winter; 5% decrease in summer; and up to 40% saving on electricity bills due to less need for artificial heating and cooling. In the baseline and sample impact surveys, there was a 56% decrease in the number of households spending more then R100/month on electricity. 76% of households also reported a decrease in the frequency of respiratory illness. Kuyasa obtained registration as the South Africa’s first internationally registered Clean Development Mechanism project, under the Kyoto Protocol; and was the first Gold Standard Project to be registered in the world.








Poverty Impact: The project created permanent employment for 85 people (through the retro-fitting and maintenance of houses). This includes 50 youth; 28 women; and 3 disabled people. Each employee has received accredited training. 1742 people from the Kuyasa Community have also attended non-accredited training. The reduction in costs for the households that have been retrofitted could also be substantial over time. Encouraging emission reduction projects also impacts positively on the environment of the local community; as does a public garden that is being created, through funding from Els Manufacturing and Woolworths.








Sustainability: The project has a budget of approximately R30m, primarily from the Government’s Expanded Public Works Programme (given through DEAT).The Provincial Department of Housing also allocated R4m. Other companies provided materials (eg. Genergy provided solar technology; while Isoboard supplied ceiling insulation material). SAEDF undertook to underwrite any budget shortfall for at least 7 years. The project can also apply for Certified Emission Reduction Certificates, which allows them to claim back some funds. This means the project is sustainable for at least the foreseeable future.








Replication: Much effort has been made to document the process, successes, difficulties, and needs of this project, meaning it is more easily replicable in the future. Funding and probably materials would also need to be accessed. However, government has shown significant interest in the project, as a way of reducing carbon emission and of making low-income housing more energy efficient; and work is being done on a national sustainable housing facility, with support from DBSA and others. The aim is to use Kuyasa as a model for future low-income housing developments. Thus, it seems that the project can and will be replicated.

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