This book was the first basic book about saving energy in the household that I have found. It educates people like me who only know Eskom as a monopoly and all the bad press around it.
It informed me of all the other parties involved and that there are plans in place to make Eskom one of many to supply energy and also in different more sustainable ways.
‘REDs (Regional Electricity distributors) and the National Energy Regulator NERSA, have been tasked with standardising tariffs and ensuring the tariffs reflect true costs. NERSA must balance the interest of the public, utilities and government in the energy sector.”
8600 jobs in wind power
According to Earthlife Africa, “ten pebble bed nuclear reactors that Eskom want to build in SA will cost over R40bn over their life-span, create only 70 full time jobs and 500 construction jobs for six months. For the same amount of money, we could install over 4 300 MW of wind power, creating 8 600 jobs and more than 60 000 cumulative jobs, as well as generating 50% more electricity.” Makes you wonder how their development department is planning our future.
Low income households will always chose the cheaper fuel option for themselves like wood fires etc. instead of coal or other alternatives. So coming up with renewable energy solutions will have to take the culture into consideration.
There is a very handy template of the different energy uses in households of different means and the solutions or suggestions to implement to increase fuel use efficiency and cost efficiency.
Sarah tackles the issue of transport and where government should make changes (such as) and where we, the public, can make changes in our daily behaviour to affect the issue.
Work smarter for practical solutions
The most practical solutions she suggests are the 10 smart growth principles “Work smarter, not harder to improve transportation”:
- Encourage mixed land use.
- Encourage higher density development, particularly around public transport and commercial centres
- Create a range of housing opportunities and choices within neighbourhoods
- Create walk able neighbourhood
- Foster communities with a strong sense of identity and cohesion.
- Preserve open green space, particularly areas of high ecological and recreational value.
- Strength and direct development towards existing areas of development
- Provide a variety of transport choices
- Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost-effective
- Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decision.
The reform of the transport industry is discussed with many workable and practical suggestions. Touching on reforming the transport planning at both local and national level, improvements to public transport system, smart growth land use development practices, freight transport management, support for use of public transport services and incentives for non-use of cars, charging for ALL public parking, congestion pricing, transport demand management programmes, walking and cycling improvements, providing incentives for businesses to use more efficient transport options and vehicle rental services.
The Sustainable Transport Assessment for SA (STASSA), a computer tool developed by Sustainable Energy Africa and the Centre for Transport Studies at the University of Cape Town, is promoted for the planning and sustainability of transport projects. It incorporates 7 resources in determining the sustainability of the transport project being assessed: Natural, Human, Social, Financial, Infrastructure and services, time and Economic resources. The information on this tool is viewable at www.sustainable.org.za.
Local agenda: 21 goals
- To raise awareness of environmental and sustainability among all citizens
- To maximise the support and involvement of local communities and business
- To pursue economic development and social progress whilst limiting the impact of environmental resources and fragile ecosystems.
- To reduce the consumption of all natural resources
- To maximise energy efficiency and the proportion of energy from renewable resources
- To conserve and enhance green space and diversity of wildlife
- To encourage all organisations and individuals to adopt sustainable practices and lifestyles
- To minimise levels of pollution
- To minimise the environmental impact of waste and to promote the reduction, re-use and recycling of resources.
Energy and local area planning is discussed in detail with the issues of location, layout and density, improving access, sustainable service provision, planning and installing electricity, street lighting, LED traffic lights, maybe even LED street lighting next, commuting and energy and upgrading an informal settlement.
As an expert in the field she states that project developers should always ask, when developing and planning, whether it is; Economically, socially, technically and ecologically sustainable?
I truly enjoyed this book as it gave me a whole new perspective on energy saving and the practicality of it in your everyday life and activities.
By Karen van der Spuy