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Sustainable off-grid solutions for your home

The MAN truck and bus company is leading Durban’s new Solar City initiative. The company says the system can generate a surplus of energy that can be supplied to eThekwini’s grid. Picture: Supplied

The MAN truck and bus company is leading Durban’s new Solar City initiative. The company says the system can generate a surplus of energy that can be supplied to eThekwini’s grid. Picture: Supplied

Published Sep 3, 2023


Due to growing awareness of the value of nature to our well-being, and the daily challenges we face as South Africans, such as load shedding and access to essential services, sustainability has become a major focus in the property sector.

In a Rainmaker Marketing “Key to Property” podcast, head of residential projects at Collins Residential, Geoff Perkins, addressed the latest trends and shared insights on sustainable initiatives implemented at their KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) North Coast developments and how homeowners could potentially adopt these long-term solutions into their daily problems being faced.

Perkins said there are a few key points that people should be aware of when it comes to off-grid solutions.

“The initial investment for retrofitting can be significant, although long-term savings on energy bills can offset this.

“Proper planning, assessment, and professional guidance are essential to ensure compatibility with existing systems and to maximise efficiency.

“It’s also crucial to understand local regulations, permits, and potential incentives for renewable energy installations. Regular maintenance of the systems is important to ensure optimal performance and longevity,” Perkins said.

Perkins highlighted the significance of integrating sustainable elements in the property design process and the importance of this approach for developers.

Incorporating sustainable elements before construction reduces environmental impact, lowers long-term costs, enhances occupants well-being, and aligns with market demands.

Designing projects with energy efficiency, water management, and material selection in mind can greatly reduce their carbon footprint and resource consumption.

Perkins highlighted rainwater harvesting as a viable option when discussing off-grid water solutions.

This technique includes gathering water from rooftops or different surfaces and putting it away for different purposes, for example, irrigation, toilet flushing, or laundry.

There are several types of rainwater harvesting systems, ranging from simple barrels to more complex set-ups with filtration and storage.

All homes at Lalela Estate are equipped with water harvesting tanks, promoting self-sufficiency and water conservation.

Perkins said some common sustainable options for power and electricity included solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and lighting, and smart energy management systems.

“Off-the-grid solutions, such as solar power systems with battery storage, enable homeowners to generate and store their electricity independently.

“For example, at Zululami Luxury Coastal Estate, excess solar power is fed back into a micro-grid that reduces the draw off of the national grid and builds up credits back to the homeowner,” Perkins said.

Collins Residential believes in developing entire ecosystems and environments, ensuring a residential setting that thrives with biodiversity and draws inspiration from nature.

Perkins stated that sustainability goes beyond just the physical aspects of homes and lives.

This includes eco-friendly construction access to green areas, biking routes and walking routes.

With sustainability increasingly taking centre stage, Collins Residential sets an example with its commitment to sustainable property design.

With a vision that encompasses nature conservation, energy efficiency, and the overall well-being of residents, their developments on the KZN North Coast provide an exciting blueprint for sustainable living.