The Green Housing Company is a Gauteng-based building and property development company.
We build highly-insulated and energy-efficient homes for both the high end luxury property market as well as the low cost housing sector.
Types Of Buildings
We work across a spectrum of markets including domestic and commercial buildings:
- low-cost affordable housing
- off-grid shopping malls
- top-end luxury residential homes
Our expertise lies in insulation, solar power, gas and water recycling solutions. We enable people to live off the grid and to generate excess power. This excess power can easily be used to power surrounding properties and communities. The beauty of this is that we can diminish our reliance on Eskom.
Our products are viable, sustainable, legally compliant and supported by the banking and building industry, including the NHBRC.
Brett Petzer: Our Founder
Brett Petzer has over 20 years’ experience in the property industry. He is a highly skilled real estate developer and seller, including selling of real estate in the prestigious Michelangelo Towers in Sandton – a Legacy Hotels development.
Brett’s experience and skill set includes identifying real estate opportunities, conceptualising property development plans and building to the highest green building standards in the country have resulted in the construction of over 100 residential estates.
The concept of an “off the grid” housing development occurred to him after he bought a large tract of land and was unable to develop due to Eskom’s moratorium on supplying power to new developments at that time. Having to pay rates on the land and service the loan was a costly experience during which time he came up with The Green Housing concept.
I watched solar technology developing and thought what would define our company and product would be not just to offer buyers a solar assisted house but the opportunity to live free of the grid and the problems associated with power delivery
Mr Petzer quoted in the the Financial mail October 2014. https://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/financial-mail/
The Green Housing Co’s Attempts to Engage with Eskom
2012: We saw the urgent need to pre-empt a growing problem with Eskom’s ability to provide sufficient and affordable electricity supply to South African citizens, businesses and industry. We approached Eskom in an effort to build awareness regarding the vast possibilities of alternative power supply and to explore ways to educate communities about these alternatives.
We first met with Eskom spokesman, Andrew Etzinger, in 2012.
2013: We were passed onto Eskom Marketing and Communications Manager, Latetia Venter. Despite repeated invitations for her to visit one of our sites to see first-hand market-leading energy efficient construction techniques, she never showed up, nor expressed interest in finding solutions for Eskom or for South Africa.
2014: we were passed on again to Eskom’s Marketing Services Manager, Rego Mavimbela in 2014. She has also never taken up our invitation to visit a sample site and she has also not followed up as promised to conduct a case study on solar/gas powered energy solutions, such as those offered by The Green Housing Company.
2015 – current: We have persisted for the past 4 years, sending emails, requesting action and providing Eskom with proof that our solutions are viable, sustainable, legally compliant and supported by the banking and building industry, including the NHBRC.
Our Building Technology
- We use alternative and advanced building technologies including UPVC double glazing and roof and floor insulation for achieve a housing product that is completely insulated from external temperature influence which makes the solar power requirements much less hence making it commercially viable in the market place.
- Each house is fitted with a solar geyser, which is a legal requirement for new houses. But buyers can also opt for a more extensive solar system, with batteries capable of storing enough power for three days, that will provide power for lighting and appliances. It is backed up with Eskom electricity in case of overload.
- Yingli photovoltaic panels can provide 6,5 KVA . Petzer says the PV panels are Chinese manufacture and the most energy intensive technology currently available. The batteries have a life of up t0 10 years and the solar supplier will maintain them for the first year to ensure that the batteries “ mesh” correctly.
- Alpha-ESS Home Series Solar Inverter: Lithium Ion battery which can be refurbished.
Past Projects: Noordwyk Residential, Midrand
We are proud of our history and of our achievements in the property industry. Noordwyk was pivotal for us as it was the first development of its kind in South Africa. “108 on 8th” was developed by The Green Housing Company to be the catalyst to convincing the building and banking industry that in fact such a housing system is both viable and desirable in the market. All 51 units were sold before building was completed. Includes both single and double story houses.
- Each house is piped for gas for heating, cooking and braaing (no charcoal is allowed) from 2 x 20 kilogram outdoor gas tanks.
- House designed to significantly reduce the need for heating and air conditioning.
- Walls are insulated concrete form: a polystyrene block filled with concreate, which is five times more thermally efficient than bricks and mortar. The blocks are easy and quick to assemble, cutting down on construction costs. Wall are stronger than bricks or concrete blocks which makes it easier to build multi storeys.
- The roof is insulate
- The windows are double-glazed.
- Under the floor is a mixture of concrete and vermiculite. Vermiculite creates air bubbles which stop cold from seeping up from the ground to the floor of the house.
When people come for meetings in winter, I tell them to take off their shoes to test the insulation which has performed excellently
- Houses are fitted with ceiling fans to enable cool temperatures in the summer months.
- In winter, a short spell of gas heating warms rooms quickly and heat is retained due to insulation.
- The insulation in the walls and windows has a secondary advantage – in that it limits noise, a major annoyance in housing estates!
- All technology used has a minimum of a five-year track record, is affordable and locally made (except for the solar technology which is not yet widely made in SA).
- The estate is not self-sufficient in water and sewage, though there will be rainwater tanks to provide “grey” (ie not potable) water for watering gardens and washing cars.
- Potential buyers were offered the choice between a traditional bricks and mortar home and a “techno” home and 70% opted for the techno homes. A techno house using Eskom electricity rather than solar power is more efficient than a bricks and mortar house.
Current project: Greenhill Estate, Waterkloof Heights Pretoria East
- A secure, green housing estate in Pretoria East with modern house designs. Investment property for sale in Pretoria with a contemporary South African design aesthetic is, eco-friendly and energy efficient.
- The Greenhill Estate is located on top of the Waterkloof Hill with 360-degree views of the surrounding area. The estate begins with the completion of the Glastonbury Boulevard to bring owners to the magnificent entrance of the Greenhill cluster development. There are 39 stands, ranging from 545sqm to 829sqm. Average stand size is 600sqm.
- We are proud to offer our property owners the option to design their home using our Green Housing Solution. What this means is that your home can function independently of the power and water grid as an option.
- Custom Design: The customization process extends from the design through to the interior as well as the finish of the home with expert advice available to the owner every step of the way.
- Option to go off grid
Solar Energy For Home Use
Legislation is in the pipeline that will eventually allow South Africans to follow the example of other countries and sell their excess power back to the grid. Homeowners could opt to double up on the roof solar panels. Once household energy needs are met, the surplus can be used to generate an income. This will also mean that after time homeowners would recoup their initial capital expenditure – the system pays for itself.
A full solar power system adds R1,000.00 /square metre to the cost of a house. These are upmarket, though not top-end houses, costing around R6,500-R7,000/square metre, depending on finishes.
A solar system can be financed separately on hire purchase so home purchasers can choose to install it later, when they can afford it.
The Green Housing Company has had to tackle a lot of obstacles, including spending a long time convincing the big banks to provide mortgages. All but Nedbank, who do not finance alternative building technologies, are now supportive.
We will continue to use our hard won experience and technical know how to build private sector affordable housing -particularly in rural areas where the lack of services infrastructure is a serious obstacle to development. Our continued engagement with local Tshwane government and Eskom at the highest level means that we are constantly informing stakeholders of every aspect of the green building process. What this ultimately means is that eco homes are opening up to more people in South Africa at grassroots level.
It is this passion and dedication to providing housing that is not harmful to the environment for the people of South Africa that makes us GREENER THAN THE REST!