Inauguration of the KwaTinta School for the Deaf/Imagine Durban – Renewable Energy and Water Saving Project
Inkanyiso Sustainable Systems (ISS) was tasked by Imagine Durban to design and implement water (Phase 1) and energy saving (Phase 2) projects for the KwaTinta School for the Deaf in Cato Ridge outside Durban.
After a careful assessment of the energy and water needs of the 300 pupil boarding school a number of interventions were decided upon in consultation with the school and Imagine Durban. These included: the replacement of electric stoves with gas operated ones; the repair of a heat pump, the installation of as solar hot water system and the installation of low-flow shower nozzles.
The gas stoves are more efficient and cost effective and also reduced the electricity used for cooking. Gas is generally a better alternative to electricity especially for large kitchens such as Kwa Thintwa’s.
Heat Pumps provide a means of using natural heat energy from the environment to supplement existing water heating systems. KwaTinta School’s heat pump uses enrgy from the air to help heat the schools geysers. The heat pump works alongside an evacuated tube solar water heating system. Evacuated tube solar water heating systems is a very efficient technology used to convert sunlight into heat energy. The hot water from the system is used in the school’s geyser’s for showers and baths, and the (27kW) heating element in the heating tank is able to be disconnected.
As a result of these interventions the school is already saving, on average, 3000 kilowatt-hours per month or around R 2 700 per month (and this excludes the water savings). This is equivalent to the electricity used by 5 average households and translates into around R 30,000 savings per annum or a four year pay-back period at today’s electricity prices. The estimation is based on early measurements and higher savings are expected once the systems have been operating for a full year and further tariff increases are applied. A comparison with September last year with the same month this year for example, indicates a saving of nearly 5000 kWh. (See attached graph.)
The interventions at KwaTinta School for the Deaf facilitated by Imagine Durban have made the school a more sustainable and planet friendly institution while also reducing its operating costs. The projects also provide a valuable educational opportunity for sustainable living allowing learners, educators and school management from around KZN to see sustainable technology in action.