11. How can housing be made more environmentally friendly?
In South Africa there is a lack of knowledge of green building products, technologies, services and design for resource efficiency among most housing stakeholders. The impacts of current settlement design norms – such as single houses on large plots with full-pressure water supply, water borne sewerage, grid electricity and poor insulation – militate against resource efficiency. This is especially problematic in the low-cost housing sector, where the government subsidy produces a standardised and non-innovative dwelling unit, especially when delivered by developers. However, well-built housing, as a fixed asset with a long life, can make a significant contribution to overall environmental sustainability because it consumes large amounts of resources in its construction, maintenance and use. Passive energy efficiency, solar water heaters and photovoltaic pannels, low-energy lighting and heating, gas stoves, urine diversion toilets, and grey water recycling should be encouraged.