More and more green technologies have come to the fore to reduce consumption and increase sustainability, particularly in construction. Newer materials and technologies rely on savvy clients to help them prove their incredible benefits.

One young couple challenged themselves to build a home entirely off grid. They were looking for the most sustainable products for the lowest overall cost. The endlessly innovative Architecture for a Change (A4AC) assisted them in their quest. They started by using upcycled shipping containers and lightweight steel framing to form the base of the structure.

Their choice of window materials was simple. While still considered relatively new in South Africa, uPVC has been proving its effectiveness in Europe for over 50 years. It takes minimal energy to manufacture from a renewable source (rock salt). It lasts for decades while in use and it is fully recyclable. uPVC windows and doors offer much greater insulation than common alternatives and this has a significant impact on energy consumption. It’s no wonder that Teva’s uPVC has received an A+ Green rating.

Teva Windows, the most experienced supplier and installer of uPVC windows and doors in South Africa, supplied double-glazed products, to ensure maximum energy efficiency. It was simple to install the windows into the containers under their expert guidance.

Other materials included cork flooring from recycled wine bottles and additional insulation in the form of recycled plastic bottles. Using natural light and ventilation from well-placed windows, as well as solar panel energy, the home functions largely without municipal electricity connections. Bottled gas is used for cooking and water is provided by a borehole.

This home was affordable to build and its monthly running costs are extremely low. Its impact on the environment is equally minimal. The modern exterior, cozy interior and stunning views make it a beautiful place to live. In partnership with A4AC, these owners have shown that sustainable architecture can be an affordable reality in South Africa and on the continent.