Techno shack in Western Cape

2012-07-30 14:10

Cape Town - A shack in a Stellenbosch informal settlement is the envy of its neighbours because it has been fitted with insulation and a solar panel, it was reported on Monday.

The improved zinc shack, or iShack, had a solar panel on the roof which allowed for three lights, a cellphone charger and a motion sensor security light, the Cape Times reported.

Its walls were lined with recycled cardboard boxes sprayed with a fire retardant paint. It was also insulated with inside-out milk cartons so the shiny material could reflect heat.

The shack's floors were bricked with old bricks from a nearby landfill site.

The pilot project was the result of 18 months of research by the Sustainability Institute and Stellenbosch University. It was funded by the National Research Foundation.

A grant by the Melinda and Bill Gates foundation would allow it to be tested to scale.

Single mother Nosango Plaatjie lives in the shack.

"My old house was very cold. Cold air would come in while we were sleeping and make my children sick. This house is beautiful and very warm," she told the newspaper.

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-07-30 14:20

    great story, this should be made a benchmark for shacks, also big business together with government should sponsor promising black entrepreneurs & help erect I-containers, which have internet access & DSTV, so that local communities can have better access to information.

  • - 2012-07-30 14:25

    Sad. We surely want to 'improve' shacks? What a fuss.

      wendy.craig.9655 - 2012-07-30 14:33

      Of course but that will take time and lots of money, in the meantime it's winter and cold and any relief is welcomed.

      antoinette.jordaan - 2012-07-30 15:15

      I agree with Holly - at the moment, this is a step-up from having a shack with no insulation and a dependency on an electricity grid that cannot carry us all.

  • navorser.vanwyk - 2012-07-30 15:29

    Will tax payers also benift from this? Will the price of solar panels be subsidies, or will those who install them become victims of theft? In Knysa people stopped installing panels, because it is becomming the target of thieves.

  • navorser.vanwyk - 2012-07-30 15:40

    Antoinette. Read what this system can do. It is NOT designed for heaters, only for basic stuff such as 3 light, charger. The insulation has nothing to do with the panels. They installed insulation material made of recycled material. This caused the temperature to rise.Squatters will now see this, and more will come. Can the ANC install 100 million of these units on shacks? A 3KW system will cost about R 30 000.00. Why not start a project where businesses benefit from solar. In that way ALL of us can benefit from this project. E.G: I can just imagine how the price of bread can drop, if bakeries became solar opperated.

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