SA Affordable Housing November - December 2018 // Issue: 73 - Page 20

FEATURES Green pod homes: providing an alternative solution In the affordable housing space ‘sustainability’ is a huge buzzword covering everything from development methods, to finances and lifecycle costs of the home. So, could sustainable pod homes be the answer? By Warren Robertson Pod homes tend to create less waste than traditional buildings. O ver the past few years there have been a number of developments targeted at producing renewable pod style homes that are not only cost effective, but also easy to set up on site and kinder to the environment. If you take Malibongwe Drive north out of Johannesburg, past Cosmo city, on the way to Lanseria airport you very quickly find yourself flanked on both sides by large, undeveloped plots. It is here, down a small, non-descript road that Iqbal Hirji and his team at RWPA Solutions have set up a new kind of housing marvel. Designed and developed from recycled chip packets, bottles and other often forgotten plastic waste Hirji and his team have created a series of small, fully-functioning buildings that today house a playschool for local children. The buildings come in two primary sizes, and while most of the buildings are stripped down to function as a toilet block or storage areas, a few have been done to full 18 NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2018 specifications that include insulation in both the walls and ceilings, as well as electricity and in some cases plumbing. It’s a design that Hirji hopes to eventually take nationwide to fill the desperate need in the country for low-cost housing. “We are still at the stage where we are working out the details and estimate they will eventually cost about R150 000 each, but as you can see, the concept works,” says Hirji who also passionately explains that his eventual goal is to ensure that South Africans do not need to live in shacks. The houses are generally laid out as one large open room that includes a small kitchenette counter, as well as a bathroom that includes a toilet and shower. It’s stripped back and minimalist, but as Hirji explains it is also, “Warm in winter, cool in summer, lockable and safe.” The homes stand on stilts to ensure that wherever they are delivered they can be set up immediately without any need for earthworks on site.