Sustainability a factor in retirement | Everything Property

Sustainability a factor in retirement


When deciding where to retire, South Africans often consider security, the proximity to healthcare services and recreation amenities on offer. While these are a crucial part of ensuring comfort and safety, in recent years another trend is playing a more important role — that of sustainability

 A sustainability research report, commissioned this year by Mastercard found that 98% of South African adults are willing to take action to combat environmental and sustainability issues. An 81% majority of the respondents said they are mindful of their effect on the environment. More than half of the study’s respondents admitted that they will consider the sustainability policies of a company when it comes to their purchasing decisions.

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“This trend towards a more ‘eco-aware lifestyle’ is evident in the retirement property space. A growing number of retirees are considering sustainability when looking for a retirement home,” says Gus van der Spek, owner of upmarket Cape Town-based retirement lifestyle village, Wytham Estate.

“A big driver behind the trend to ‘go green’ is the need to invest in renewable power and reduce the reliance on government-supplied services such as electricity and water. It’s important for retirement developers to cater to this requirement by putting renewable energy systems and other eco-measures in place.”


Climbing costs of utilities such as water and electricity in SA, as well as load-shedding, are prompting retirees to consider homes that are equipped with green and off-grid solutions. Says van der Spek: “This enables them to reduce both their eco-footprint and their home expenses — a critical initiative for retirees who are trying to preserve their pension savings.”

He also points to CSIR data, which found that in the first half of this year, load-shedding accounted for more than 90% of that recorded for the whole of 2021. “It’s not surprising that homes with eco-friendly features that reduce grid-reliance, fetch a higher price and might even sell more quickly.”


According to van der Spek, the following items make a home more eco-friendly and cost-efficient, in support of sustainable living:

  • Energy-saving appliances.
  • Gas stove and/or oven.
  • LED and energy-saving lighting.
  • Water-saving solutions such as water-saving showerheads or rainwater collection systems.
  • Community recycling services or proximity to a recycling facility.

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When it comes to reducing environmental impact and reliance on the national grid, van der Spek takes a practical approach. “While our sustainability measures protect the environment, they go hand-in-hand with our efforts to ensure that residents will have access to alternative power and water supply,” he explains. “We understand what our residents’ requirements are and we’ve committed to delivering a technologically advanced, sustainable development”.

Wytham Estate has invested in solar energy and has fitted the residential units with energy-saving appliances and gas stoves. These amenities not only reduce the estate’s electricity consumption but also combat load-shedding.

The estate is also implementing upcycling of water, providing residents with water security. The construction of an on-site water treatment plant will ensure that groundwater sourced from the estate’s boreholes remains safe for drinking and irrigation purposes. Noting the department of water & sanitation’s recent publication of the 2022 Blue Drop report which documents the decline of the country’s water quality, this measure is fast becoming an essential consideration for South Africans.

Says van der Spek: “Our philosophy is that retirement should be enjoyed. It’s only fitting, then, that Wytham Estate caters to the demands of a modern retiree, who believes in sustainable living for the sustainable lifestyle.” 


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