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Urban-LEDS in South Africa: a win-win “glocal” approach

Groutville Care Homes in KwaDukuza Municipality

Doornkop Community Center in Steve Tshwete

Empageni Library in uMhlathuze

Mphe-Thuto primary school in Mogale

Grootkloof Envitonmental Education Center in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality

Over the past two years of Urban-LEDS project roll-out, groundwork in place in South Africa by the ICLEI Africa Secretariat (ICLEI AS) focuses on a range of practical projects that engage local communities to improve their living conditions and simultaneously contribute to reducing local and global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapting to climate change. Each project demonstrates that resource efficiency and sustainability is not only relevant but also beneficial for community members of any socio-economic background. With this “glocal” approach to low emission development, Urban-LEDS in South Africa successfully delivers local answers to a global challenge. It also responds to local challenges such as stable electricity and access to energy.

Below is a snapshot of the completed Urban-LEDS projects in South Africa. For more information, visit the ICLEI AS website or consult the report  Learnings from the Urban LEDS project.

Groutville Care Homes, KwaDukuza Municipality

The Groutville community is home to the Stranger Child Welfare Association which puts 20 children in need in the care of foster parents. Early this year the families took possession of new care homes and ICLEI AS conducted training with them on the importance of Urban Low Emission Development, how to use Wonderbags, LED mobile lights and compost containers. The families also received support to create their own food gardens and plant trees sponsored by the municipality. Go green!

Doornkop Community Solar Solution, Steve Tshwete Municipality

For long the Doornkop community was connected to the electric grid, but due to vandalism many buildings had not been provisioned with electricity since 2010. This rural community thus decided to turn to renewable energy sources , and, with the help of Urban-LEDS opted for solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate electricity, solar streetlights, solar water heating for hot water, light emitting diodes (LED) lighting, insulation cookers (“Wonderbags”) used to save electricity when cooking food, mobile LED solar lights and installing ceilings in buildings.

The whole community of Doornkop benefits from this project, since the solar panel solutions were installed on the building of the community center (which includes a kindergarten, soup kitchen and elderly day care center). The inauguration of this project was celebrated on September 18th 2015. For more information read our latest article on Doornkop or visit: https://doornkop.wordpress.com/

Empangeni Library, uMhlathuze Municipality

A solar PV system consisting of 23 panels with a total potential capacity of 6 kW (kilowatt) along with an inverter and 8 batteries, has been installed at the Empangeni Library. This system can provide electricity for the lights and computers of the library for 2.5hours during load shedding time. In addition, a total of 337 fluorescent lights were replaced, and has resulted in a 60% reduction of energy use for lighting. The library also received a Wonderbag, mobile solar light and compost bucket as part of an exhibition to showcase practical sustainable solutions.

Mphe-Thuto Primary School, Mogale Municipality

The Mphe-Thuto local primary school required support to reduce its energy consumption. With the support of Urban-LEDS, all the lights, including security lights have been replaced with energy efficient and LED lights. Other technologies implemented in the school include a solar water heating system, rainwater harvesting system and solar tube light. The primary school also received Wonderbag insulation cooker.

Grootkloof Environmental Education Centre, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality

The Grootkloof Environmental Education Center has been upgraded to energy efficient technologies and a solar PV system of 20 panels with a capacity of 4kW, connected to the grid for excess energy. During load shedding (i.e. having no access to grid electricity) the system’s backup battery can operate all the newly-replaced 161 LED lights in all offices and classrooms. In all, this has resulted in a decrease of 59% in energy use.  In addition, a rainwater harvesting system with a capacity of 22,500 liters of water has been installed together with a 3-stage filter system (particles, ultra and UV filter). This is now the main water supply for the center, with running water only as a backup, if required.

Greening Municipal Infrastructure grants: a case study of Saldanha Bay

A case study is being done in Saldanha Bay Municipality to review the impact of public sector investment on the local economy and municipality. Saldanha Bay was chosen for this case study in light of the large public investments it is expected to attract over ZAR 9.2 billion (approximately USD 687 million) to develop the area as an oil and gas hub  as part of the National Government’s Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy Lab. These investments are likely to impact the municipality in environmental, social and economic terms. In this context, the case study reviews the grant funding provided to Saldanha Bay Municipality to determine how the Municipality could utilize this resource to green their infrastructure, reduce emissions and develop climate resilience whilst contributing to the long-term sustainable development of the area.