Ricochet News

EMBRACE GREEN LIVING: Rhino House previews the future of green living

EMBRACE GREEN LIVING: Rhino House previews the future of green living

The subject of ‘Going Green’ has been on the lips and minds of supporters and sceptics alike for long. With the cost of living rising sharply and news of more tariff increases from Eskom, green and self-sufficient living is very much becoming a reality.

In July last year, the Rhino Group unveiled a R3.4 million show house, called House Rhino, situated at the Crossways Farm Village near the Van Stadens River Gorge, just outside of Port Elizabeth.

This futuristic house features Rhino Group’s best technologies and offers comfortable off-the-grid living. For this, it makes extensive use of solar photovoltaic panels, which, together with Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) inverters, and deep-cycle battery packs, effectively nullifies the need for Eskom-supplied electricity.

Hot water heating is done by utilising solar water-heaters backed up by heat pumps stored in fully-insulated solar geysers. This same system provides House Rhino with under-floor heating and cooling system. Water is pumped through reinforced concrete floor slabs resulting in warmth during winter and cooling in summer.

Rainwater is harvested and stored in tanks that can hold as much as 30 000 litres. The harvested water is then treated with ozone for safe human consumption.

Waste water, commonly known as black water, along with all the organic kitchen waste, is fed into a bio-digester which converts it into methane gas which is then used for cooking.

Overflow water from the digester is also put to good use. It passes through an on-site black water treatment plant before being used for garden irrigation and for flushing toilets.

Incorporated into the design and used throughout the house, are dry-packed stone and recycled alien timber which not only limits the need for imported materials but also help in offsetting House Rhino’s carbon footprint.

Light Emitting Diodes (LED) have become very popular in recent years and are used extensively at House Rhino. Besides emitting less heat, unlike normal incandescent lights, they give the house a contemporary look.

LED’s also have a life expectancy of 35 000 hours (compared to the 1 000 hours of normal light bulbs), are free of mercury and use only 1/30th of the electricity use of normal bulbs.

House Rhino might only be a show house for the moment but given the rate at which residents and communities are looking for new and cheaper ways of save on monthly bills, this landmark building may well become the benchmark for future homes.