Globally, residential and commercial buildings are responsible for almost 60% of energy usage, making the construction and building sector the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

SANS 10400-XA, published in August 2011, is the new South African National Standard (SANS) for environmental sustainability and energy usage in buildings, and forms part of the National Building Regulations (NBR).

Buildings that consume energy as a result of human occupancy are the main target of these new regulations, and all new buildings must comply with the regulations, as must any additions and extensions to existing buildings. Any renovations or upgrades to buildings that require planning approval from a local authority must comply with the regulations.

The regulations are aimed at regulating energy use and encouraging energy efficiency in buildings. The amended NBR requires the following:

  • XA1 – says that buildings should utilise energy efficiently and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with a checklist of requirements.
  • XA2 – says that not more than 50% of the annual volume of domestic hot water should be supplied by means of electrical resistance heating, in other words 50% or more of the hot water used must be heated by energy sources other than electricity.
  • XA3 – says that by building in accordance with SANS 10400–XA, the buildings will be ‘deemed to comply’ with National Building Regulation XA1.