Can a luxury home keep itself warm and comfortable without electrical heating in the dead of a Highveld winter? This is the challenge multinational Saint-Gobain has set by inviting individuals around the country to partake in the Stand 47 Winter TestStand 47 was built last year at Monaghan Farm to act as a case study to demonstrate that housing in South Africa can be successfully executed using energy efficient materials, while retaining the qualities of permanence and longevity associated with traditional homes. Every element makes it a high-performance building where seamless sustainable practices reduce waste and conserve resources while maximising comfort.
The home is constructed using state-of-the-art materials that are warm to touch, absorb pollutants from the air and regulate internal temperature (without the need for mechanical heating or cooling) and contain sound within each room. Products that influenced the design of Stand 47 include Saint-Gobain drywall and ceiling systems, Saint-Gobain Insulation systems in the walls, ceiling and floor, and the integration of solar PV power. All the walls, with the exception of the stonewall, contain no masonry and as such are warm to the touch and have efficient thermal properties. Drywall and ceiling systems from Saint-Gobain provide high levels of thermal insulation, and double-glazing on windows limit the transfer of heat (and sound).
“What we need to see is a shift toward sustainable building and renovation practice, as it’s now becoming an economic necessity,” says Kerry Henning, marketing manager for Saint-Gobain. “Building sustainably is not only energy efficient and cost effective in the long term, it’s luxurious from a comfort and quality point of view, and through the Winter Test at Stand 47, we hope to show South Africans how, in practice, this can significantly change their lives.”
How the Winter Test works
To best illustrate their commitment to sustainable building, Saint-Gobain have invited leading editors, journalists, celebrities and the general public to stay in the home for two days during the coldest months on the Highveld, with the agreement that they will not use any electrical heating. This is to determine whether they’ll feel the cold.
“We’re so confident in the way the home has been built that we’ve set the Winter Test. We believe homes can be better – better in terms of how they make you feel and better in terms of how they can enable you to achieve more,” says Henning.
A range of guests will stay in the home over the remainder of winter, and their feedback will be live tweeted. Further, the home’s internal and external temperatures are published live on stand47.co.za, along with minute-by-minute energy consumption tracking.
“We are inviting anybody with a sincere interest in ‘building better’ to apply to be a Winter Test Pilot,” says Henning.