Mary Haw’s name is synonymous with sustainable green and renewable energy solutions that are aimed at creating ‘healthier, safer and more liveable cities’. She is one of the go-to experts whose counsel and input is always sought to drive and deliver initiatives that can contribute significantly to mitigate the increasing negative impact of the climate change and other environmental hazards.
A qualified and professional engineer, Haw boasts degrees from Stanford University and the Royal Technical Institute in Stockholm. For over a decade she has been delivering outstanding and integrated environmental and sustainable social projects.
Haw is currently energy efficiency and renewable facilitation manager at the City of Cape Town. Her responsibilities primarily include facilitating a wide range of projects within the sustainable energy markets department. It also includes further uptake of small-scale embedded generation and new technologies such as electric vehicles, with the goal of shifting people’s energy choices for a better future, she says.
One of the initiatives that she is currently involved in is the ‘My Clean Green Home’, a project that is aimed at lowering carbon emissions. She believes that buildings consume significant amount of energy and that they are largely responsible for emitting large proportion of carbon gases.
The project is a partnership between the City of Cape Town and the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA). According to Haw the objective of the project is to offer a platform for students and professionals in the built environment to create a model home that demonstrates the sustainable design principles, technologies and behaviours that create a net zero carbon home.
Haw teamed up with GBCSA because its mission aligns with the objectives of her project. For instance, it promotes a built environment in which people can co-exist with their environment. It also ensures that all “that buildings and homes are designed, built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way”.
Recycled shipping containers
Haw says the intention of the My Clean Green Home project is to create a physical and interactive experience for the public to see that a net zero carbon home and sustainable living is feasible and accessible. The competition drew 20 teams comprising architects, students and professionals who submitted projects on how they can contribute towards net zero carbon.
Their design projects incorporated critical elements such as spatial efficiency, daylighting and ventilation, renewable energy, material choices and water efficiency. The winning design used re-used and upcycled materials obtained from two shipping containers which are readily available in Cape Town. The Clean Green Home exhibit has a permanent home in Green Point Urban Park.