Innovation That Matters

The Team Mahali | Photo source City of Cape Town

Modular, zero-carbon home design in Cape Town

Property & Construction

A “house in a box” concept uses upcycled and locally available materials, rainwater harvesting, solar power and passive cooling

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Spotted: A team of recent graduates and young professionals have won first place in the Green Building Council of South Africa’s (GBSCA) design, which takes place in Cape Town. The My Clean Green Home competition challenges teams of designers to create the ultimate “clean, green home”. Team Mahali won the competition for their “Mahali Hub” – a net-zero carbon home.

This was not the first time Team Mahali had demonstrated their prowess with sustainable design. In 2019, the team was awarded second place for architecture and design at Solar Decathlon in Morocco, an international design competition that challenges university students to develop an architecture that incorporates renewable energy.

Team Mahali’s design for the My Clean Green Home competition consisted of a modular “house in a box” made from upcycled and locally available materials. It includes rainwater harvesting, solar power generation, passive cooling and a food garden. A full-sized Mahali Hub will be constructed and displayed as part of the festival.

Sharné Bloem, team leader of Team Mahali, described the design in a festival press release as inspired by, “the typical African tradition of community formal and informal gatherings under an expansive tree canopy. The design tries to recreate the communal space by creating a courtyard-like space between two more private spaces for sleeping and living.”

It is no longer enough to add a few sustainable features; architects and designers are increasingly aiming for net-zero carbon emissions in new builds. Springwise has seen this in innovative designs such as backyard net-zero tiny homes and flat-pack carbon-negative homes.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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