Energy Considerations when Designing your Home

In most homes in South Africa today our water is heated by electrically operated geysers, but as the cost of electricity is very high, this method of water heating can turn out to be very expensive. However due to the increased technology in our world today, alternative methods of water heating are available. These methods are of great benefit in helping to reduce the high cost of electricity in the home.

We find there are two main methods available to us, the solar water heating panels and heat pumps. GoGreenguys are the professional architectural choice when looking for a supplier of a solar geyser Cape Town.

In order to understand these two methods more clearly, here is a comparison between the two.

  1. Solar Water Heating Panels.

This method of water heating makes use of radiation from the sun in order to produce heat. With this method the size of the panel will regulate the amount of energy that can be accumulated from the sun and has no need of electricity. This makes it a very cost effective method of water heating. With this in mind however, if the panels are not large enough, the water will still need the electrical element to heat the water to its desired temperature. This will need to be done throughout the day, at night or during overcast or cloudy weather. Unfortunately most of the solar panels installed in South Africa are not large enough to produce the required energy needed to heat the average size geyser (150 – 200 L) to 60° on a continual basis. This method only allows a saving of 50% or less on the total average household electricity bill.

  1. Heat Pump

This method of water heating makes use of a small amount of electricity in order to produce a large amount of energy from the surrounding air. The Heat Pump produces 3 to 4 times the energy compared to the electricity it uses. This method makes use of a very small amount of sun light and can therefore produce the required amount of energy needed. This happens day or night and irrespective of the weather conditions. This heating method allows a saving of 75% on the total average household electricity bill.

Most people are not sure which one is right for their particular circumstances. In order to make the choice easier we will list both advantages and disadvantages of both methods.

Advantages of Solar Water Heating Panels

  • The Solar Panel is mounted on the roof and does not require any electricity to produce the energy needed to heat the water. Solar Pool Heating Cape Town is becoming increasingly popular in order to maximize the usage of the swimming pool during the winter months.
  • The Solar Panels tend to have a longer warranty period than Heat Pumps.
  • The Solar Panels tend to have a longer lifespan than the Heat Pumps.
  • The water temperature produced by the Solar Panels is higher than the Heat Pumps and on very hot days can even cause the water to boil.

Advantages of Heat Pumps

  • The initial cost of the Heat Pump is a lot less than the Solar Panels.
  • The time taken to heat the water is much less than that of the Solar Panel
  • The installation of the Heat Pump is much easier than the Solar Panel as it does not require involved plumbing work.
  • The installation of the Heat Pump does not take place on the roof. It can be done anywhere outside on the walls of the building, as long as it faces North, West or South.
  • As the Heat Pump does not rely on the sun to produce its energy it can be effective day and night and during rain and overcast weather conditions.


Disadvantages of Solar Water Heating Panels

  • The initial costs of the Solar Panel are much higher than that of the Heat Pump.
  • The time taken to heat the water is much longer than that of the Heat Pump.
  • The appearance of the Solar Panels on the roof is unattractive.
  • As the Solar Panel relies on the sun, when the weather is overcast or raining, as well as during the night, the system still requires the use of the electric element.
  • The Solar Panels need regular maintenance.

Disadvantages of Heat Pumps

  • If the water quality is not right i.e. the water is too hard, then the suppliers will not grant a warranty period for the system.
  • When the weather is cold as in our winters, then the Heat Pump is not as effective as the Solar Panels.
  • The Heat Pump maintenance needs to be more regular than the Solar Panels as it has various moving parts that need to be replaced at regular intervals.
  • The Solar Panels tend to have a longer lifecycle than the Heat Pumps.
  • The Heat Pumps rely completely on electricity to produce their energy for water heating.
  • The Heat Pump tends to be noisy.
  • The water temperature produced by the Heat Pump is not as high as that of the Solar Panel.

Finally the choice between the Heat Pump and the Solar Water Heating Panel will largely depend on the cost. Whatever choice you make, the important consideration must be to reduce your homes electricity bill. It is imperative that architects and home owners take energy saving methods and solutions into consideration when designing a new home.

Fibreglass uses for Building and Architecture

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the manufacturing of fibreglass moulds ? The first and most common thing that would come to mind is all the things that can go wrong from the actual process of manufacturing fiberglass. The cracks, accidents, being cut and every other defect you can think of right? Yes. It is common that some people may be terrified of glass, I know I certainly am. Most architects will require the services of a professional fibreglass product manufacturer at some time or another in their architecture career.

However, that is not the precise approach to have towards the manufacture of fibreglass. The manufacture of fibreglass consists of many stages before it comes out as that shiny beautiful item. Fibreglass is no ordinary glass; it is quite unique in actual fact. Although it is not as a strong as the other fibers, it does have an element of strength in it.

With almost every product being made from fibreglass, it is important to know which products exactly are manufactured from this kind of reinforced plastic material:

Fibreglass moulds


  • Aircraft – With a machine that is so big and strong, it comes as no surprise that it comprises of some elements of fiberglass. Aircrafts were built as means of transport to arrive quicker and safer to your desired destination.
  • Boat – Just like an aircraft, a boat is also another method of transportation. Fibreglass is incorporated in the production of boats. No wonder the ride is so breathtaking by the sea!
  • Bathtubs ­– All of these great things seem to have some element or another of fibreglass in them. Bath tubs are also made from fibreglass. Bathtubs are quite strong; they don’t break easily if not at all. All the materials that are put together to make a bath tub are made so that you never have to worry about replacing your bath tub. Bathtubs are extremely common fibreglass products actually and quite often architects are required to arrange the design of custom items.
  • Storage tanks – There are some storage tanks that are made of fibreglass. Storage tanks are made to complement whatever needs to be stored inside them. Certain steel tanks are made to store chemicals in them and this is done to avoid exposure to the sun amongst other things.
  • Roofing – Some ceilings are made with fibreglass. The light weight effect of fibreglass plays a role as to why fibreglass is preferred. The most common reason is that wood is heavier to lift and build with as compared to roofing that is made from the light weight material of fibreglass.
  • Hammers and Axes – You might not want to get in the bad books of a person carrying a hammer and axe. They are dangerous weapons but also helping tools for building, hiking and camping. Fibreglass is produced into very fine materials particles that always leave a shiny effect afterwards. If you look closely to a hammer or axe, you will find that there are always shiny particles in the weapons. Shiny or not, they pose as a destruction mechanism so it is always advisable to keep away from children.
  • Swimming pools – Swimming pools are made similarly to bath tubs. The only difference is that a bath tub is occasionally smaller unless it is a Jacuzzi compared to a swimming pool. Swimming pools are made of fibreglass and that is probably the reason why we have some excellent swimmers in Cape Town.

Another advantage of fiberglass is how cost effective it is compared to carbon fiber. Fibreglass is cheap and that is why most companies prefer to put it as part of their manufacturing process. As cheap as it may be, fibreglass in correlation with other materials have made some great products and equipment’s.