The role of the South African renewable energy legal framework in climate change mitigation-a focus on the construction of buildings

Elton Moyo, M Barnard
2016 unpublished
i ACKNOWLEDGMENTS To God all mighty for he makes all things possible. I would like to thank my Supervisor Dr Michelle Barnard for her supervision throughout this dissertation. Her immense input has been invaluable. Thank you for the change in direction from the modular course to the research approach-I enjoyed every bit of it! To Christine Bronkhorst I have no words that can express my deepest gratitude for the last two years and am deeply humbled by your unwavering assistance. To my
more » ... e. To my family-Elliott, Violet, Brian, Mukani, Nyaladzi and Simisani this would not have been possible without you. We have come from far and may we continue to our successful destinations. I would also like to thank Professor Alan Brimer and Mrs Doepie de Jongh for their technical expertise. To Likomo thank you. You have been a pillar of strength and made me persevere when I doubted myself. Carl and Botshelo...may this lead to a better life. ii ABSTRACT Buildings account for more than a third of all global emissions of GHGs and 70% of all electricity use. The industrial revolution saw the unprecedented increases in GHGes which have influenced climate change with the brunt of the negative effects to be felt in third world countries like South Africa. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in 2007 the Fourth Assessment Report stating that global warming was unequivocal. Human activity has been the main catalyst for this increase in global warming. South Africa is an energy intensive economy which sources most of its energy requirements from fossil fuels. There is a need for urgent diversification of the energy sector with a shift from coal to sustainable energy sources like renewable energy. The construction of buildings with their long lifespans requires an energy policy or legislation that is cognisant of the implications of continued carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 under section 24 provides for the right to an environment that is not harmful to one's health or wellbeing and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations. The State is mandated to protect the environment through reasonable legislative and other measures to prevent pollution, promote conservation and secure ecological sustainable development. Such development must benefit society and it is the intention of this research to show that renewable energy is a beneficial source of energy that can transform the energy sector through its use in buildings and ultimately lowering carbon emissions into the atmosphere. An analysis will be done of current South African renewable energy documents with the purpose of establishing to what extent or lack thereof renewable energy is being developed/used for the construction of buildings.