An estimated 20% of South Africa's population is currently housed in low cost dwellings. These dwellings are extremely energy inefficient and it has been shown that these households spend almost 20% of their disposable income on heating in winter. This situation is undesirable for both the home owners and ESKOM who must ensure an unusually high electricity demand especially on winter nights. Some of the people don't use electricity for heating but fire and this contributes to the high levels of pollution in these communities. By ensuring better energy efficiency in these houses the demand for electricity will decrease and the pollution levels will obviously decrease as well. The process that strive to reduce this electricity demand is called Residential Demand Side Management (RDSM) and is strongly supported by ESKOM. This dissertation investigated the international experience concerning RDSM and some of the possible steps that could be taken to establish an RDSM program in South Africa. It was discovered that the two most important steps relevant for South Africa would be to install ceilings in low cost dwellings and to install insulation in middle income and low-income households. Various computer simulations using QUICKcontrol, a thermal design software package, was done to assess the effect that these steps would have on energy usage. Before any decisive steps could be taken to install these products in houses, it was important to hear what the public thought of the low-cost ceiling concept. It was decided to conduct a Socio Economic study to estimate the public opinion and the response towards the low cost ceiling turned out to be extremely favorable. The participants supported the idea of a low cost ceiling but the access to the ceiling might still prove to be difficult. Through experience it was found that people often don't want to invest in a certain product if the only benefit is a slight monetary saving. It has become necessary to investigate other aspects concerning the ceiling and insulation that would encourage people to buy into the concept. This line of thinking led to the "Comfort" study. The finding that insulation will ensure that almost three times more people are satisfied with their indoor situation is quite significant. The improvement of the indoor aesthetics if a ceiling is installed in a low-income dwelling is also an important consideration when a decision has to be made to install the product. This type of information could persuade people to purchase these products to the benefit of themselves, ESKOM, the insulation manufacturer and the environment.
Dissertation (M Eng (Mechanical Engineering))--University of Pretoria, 2007.