Residents and Professionals’ Perspectives on Energy and Water Consumption While Transiting from Conventional to Sustainable Housings in South Africa

Lindelwa Nonjabulo Dlamini, Kowiyou Yessoufou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of sustainable construction is, unfortunately, not implemented in many developing countries, and even where it is, e.g., South Africa, the uptake is still slow. In the present study, we evaluate, based on residents and professionals’ perspectives, the sustainability measures implemented at the Belhar Gardens Rental Estate (BGRE), a sustainable housing rated for its Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Data were collected through questionnaires administered to experienced professionals (n = 19) and residents (n = 106) of BGRE and analysed using descriptive statistics and a modelling approach. We found that 95% of professionals were aware of the concept of sustainable construction, and 74% were aware of the National Building Act 103 of 1977. However, some barriers to sustainable construction were raised: (i) it is expensive and (ii) there is a limited knowledge of how the sustainability concept can benefit the construction industry. Ecological design and procurement are the solutions proposed by professionals to mainstream sustainable construction in South Africa. Finally, 63% of the professionals indicated that the centralized heat pumps installed in BGRE lead to efficient energy use. Surprisingly, only 61% of residents are aware that energy-saving measures are implemented in BGRE, and only 40% of the residents agree that the energy-saving measures implemented are efficient. Interestingly, 65% of residents indicated that energy consumption in BGRE is less than what they consumed in conventional housings. Finally, none of the variables tested (age, gender and residence time) correlate with residents’ satisfaction with sustainability measures in BGRE, making it difficult to predict what drives people’s satisfaction in an EDGE-rated housing. By identifying the barriers and benefits of sustainable construction, we provide opportunities on which to press to improve the awareness, mainstreaming and uptake of the sustainable construction approach in South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4498
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • awareness
  • construction industry
  • developer
  • residents
  • satisfaction-level
  • sustainable construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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