Impact & Validation

Socio-economic impact: The project has a had a marked impact on the  socio-economic well-being of the target community.  A 700 sample impact survey took place during July 2009 as a follow up to a 2,000 sample baseline survey the previous year.  Formal publication is pending. However, initial analysis shows the following results:

  • High degree of community satisfaction: 96% of households are very satisfied (86%) or satisfied (10%) with the installation and maintenance.
  • Improved energy efficiency: 56% decrease in number of households spending more than R100/month on electricity. Reported electricity savings of R50/month per household.
  • Reduced burning of paraffin for heating: Households report that whereas they used to burn up to 1 liter of paraffin per day in winter at a cost of approximately R11/liter, they have now (almost entirely) stopped using paraffin heaters.  Savings of up to R400 per month are recorded in relatively more affluent households during winter months.  Residents experience an average estimated saving of R150 per house per month during winter, depending on their paraffin (or electrical) usage for heating.

The benefit of this is not just the cost savings, but also the relief on respiratory illness from paraffin fumes and the improved safety having done away with open flame heaters.

  • No more condensations: Roofing without ceilings results in large amounts of condensation collecting on the roof sheeting and dripping into the house and running down the walls. This was a nightly phenomenon during winter and the damp (and significantly colder) atmosphere that resulted was the perfect medium for disease causing organisms, including life-threatening Tuberculosis (the incidence of which is very high in the area).

The use of paraffin heaters exacerbates the condensation problem.  This is because the burning of 1 liter of paraffin releases an equal amount of water vapour. Burning paraffin at night was therefore the equivalent of spraying a liter of water around a 30m2 room every evening. Doing away with the need for paraffin heaters, therefore, has a massive impact by reducing condensation and the resultant negative consequence for health and thermal comfort.

  • Improved thermal comfort: The impact of insulation in a small (30m2) room has proven to be dramatic.  The body heat of the occupants together with cooking activity and the use of solar heated water inside the house for washing and cleaning, is sufficient to result in a dramatically improved levels of thermal comfort.
  • Reduced health burden: 76% of households reported a decrease in the frequency of respiratory illness.


The following quotations from residents provide some insight into the social impact of the project:

“The project brought skills and jobs for young men, they don’t hang around street corners anymore, it has brought dignity to the community”

“I never thought a poor person like me could have a geyser. The project has given the people of Kuyasa dignity”

“The project makes us proud”

“I get a lot of visitors now, no one can laugh at my house”

“We are warm now. We are saving. We don’t get flu as often. Life is much easier”