A low-cost post carbon house built from tyres, cement, recycled wooden pallets, tin cans and cardboard boxes was unveiled on Monday 21 May 2012, at the Rocklands Urban Abundance Centre on the Rocklands Primary School grounds on the Cape Flats.
A project of SEED - a recent finalist in the Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award’s – The Homestead will be life-tested by Rocklands Primary School principal, Kevin Pretorius. He will stay in the house to model daily life and activities that don't rely on conventional sources of energy, such as coal-fired power stations, for the remainder of the week.
SEED is an organisation that uplifts and educates communities using permaculture principles. Their flagship Rocklands Urban Abundance Centre is a green lung in a gritty neighbourhood. It is also the site of SEED’s first outdoor classroom made of 680 tyres, 2 400 tin cans and 18 000 cardboard boxes.
The layout of the Homestead Model is based on the floor size and budget of an RDP house (Reconstruction & Development Programme) – and costs just R80 000. The Homestead Model imagines a life without electricity and oil, and showcases practical examples of how residential units could use waste streams and low technology applications such as pedal-powered washing machines and solar cookers in order to live sustainably “off the grid”. In addition, The Homestead Model recycles all of its own waste and has a demo permaculture system that will see occupants able to use run-off rain water to grow their own herbs and vegetables.
The demo Homestead Model will eventually be home to the school’s new live-in caretaker, offering much needed security to the school.
SEED Director Leigh Brown comments; “The Homestead Model offers more space and better individual sanitary systems than most RDP houses but over and above this, it is a future-fit solution for a rapidly expanding low income population – not just in South Africa but in many developing countries around the world.”
Principal of Rocklands Primary School Kevin Pretorius says; “I believe my stay in The Homestead will be a great adventure. I am curious to see how I will adjust. We’ve been working on this project for a long time and now is the time to show the learners, and our community, that there are other ways to build and other ways to live. Perhaps it will inspire our learners to go on to become the engineers and architects of the future; leaders for a more sustainable environment.”