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Within the next five years, the city of Cape Town plans to enact a bylaw insisting on environmentally-friendly building methods to make new developments "greener".
The city has already finalised a draft version of the "Green Building Guidelines", which will form the core of the planned bylaw, said Grace Stead, the city's Agenda 21 coordinator. Africa 2007
Agenda 21 refers to the United Nations programme for promoting sustainable development.
This falls under the city's environmental resource management department.
The guidelines will be tabled before a council in May 2007, after which they will be made available for public comment.
Ms Stead said the bylaw would be aimed at reducing the city's carbon emissions.
The draft guidelines state that the "cumulative negative impact" of construction should be considered in a context where "every action contributes to climate change, global warming and destruction of our planet through the production of greenhouse gasses and exploitation of non renewable resources."
If the bylaw is accepted, she said, all new developments would have to ensure they incorporate green-friendly measures.
These measures include solar heating, insulation and water retention systems which would make developments more energy efficient. The use of sustainable building material would also be encouraged.
All types of buildings, including commercial, industrial and residential buildings would be affected.
Cape Town is taking the lead in South Africa, she said and other local authorities were "keen to know what we are doing".
Llewellyn van Wyk, Built Environment senior researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, said Cape Town was the "first out of the starting blocks" when it came to implementing by-laws relating to building.
Durban was also about to follow suit.
Mr Van Wyk said about five local authorities in the Gauteng and Tshwane areas were also "thinking about" going green.
"There is stronger understanding about climate change linked to various natural disasters. Slowly people are starting to understand how these things affect us," said Ms Stead.
The recent Eskom power cuts have also raised awareness amongst the public about energy efficiency.
The Managing Director of Eco-Design Architects, Andy Horn, described the green move as an "excellent initiative", even though it would take a long time "for people to get on board".
Additional information: Read the full story at AllAFrica.
News date: 23/04/2007