University project lights up ‘iShacks’

2012-11-03 16:34

Mziwamandla Mthelo and his family enjoyed their warmest winter yet, thanks to a Stellenbosch University project that’s putting renewable energy at the top of the agenda.

The shack Mthelo, his wife, Lungiswa Khedana, and son Likhona live in has been retrofitted with special modifications as part of an initiative dubbed the “iShack” project.

The iShacks are part of Stellenbosch University’s TsamaHUB and Sustainability Institute’s ­pilot project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The pilot project is being rolled out over the next 18 months and will see up to 100 shacks in ­Stellenbosch’s Enkanini informal settlement powered by ­renewable energy.

The “i” in iShack stands for ­“improved” and involves cost­effective and sustainable modifications to corrugated iron shacks.

With the Stellenbosch Municipality on board, the postgraduate student initiative aims to ­improve living conditions of residents in informal settlements.

Some shacks will be built from scratch, while others – such as the one the Mthelo family call home – will be retrofitted with insulation material, fire-retardant paint and a solar power system.

Mthelo told City Press that ­before the improvements, the shack was cold in winter and the “wind was getting everywhere”.

They had been much warmer this winter, he said, no longer at the mercy of cold draughts.

Mthelo had no power in his home before the installation of the solar power system, which stores enough energy in a 12-volt battery to power three light bulbs and a cellphone charger.

Although the system does not provide enough energy to run a stove or fridge, it has improved their lives.

“It’s a brilliant idea and people support it,” Mthelo said.

Professor Mark Swilling, the TsamaHUB project leader, said residents in informal settlements wait “for a long time” for energy and water grids to arrive, and then for houses to be built.

“Research shows this can take eight years. What happens in the meantime?” Swilling asked.

He said the iShack demonstrated what organised communities could achieve short term.

Email correspondence about the project indicates that building an iShack from scratch costs between R7 000 and R10 000.

– West Cape News


SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

If you need to initiate a plan of action or network some important information, do it in the morning while the Moon is still in...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.