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Hotel Nieu: Net Positive rating achieved!
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Hotel Nieu: Net Positive rating achieved!

Hotel Nieu, an upmarket off-the-grid boutique hotel in Pretoria, has received one of the first Net Positive – Carbon Level 2: Occupant Emissions (modelled) ratings in South Africa. The development provides upmarket hospitality services to people who care deeply about the appropriate stewarding of resources.


Hotel Nieu is centrally situated on the corner of Cameron and Marais streets in Nieu Muckleneuk; and offers sixteen individual private suites as well as business conveniences including a boardroom and dining room. The site houses older heritage buildings, newer existing buildings and new buildings.

Zendré Compion, Sustainable Building Consultant at Solid Green, explains:

A Net Zero Carbon building is highly energy-efficient, with any required energy being generated from renewable sources – to result in zero net carbon emissions on an annual basis. In the case of a Net Positive Carbon building, the energy from renewable sources results in more energy being produced than is used on site.

An energy model of the building demonstrated that, over the course of a year, Hotel Nieu will produce more energy on site than it uses. In addition to good passive design principles, this was achieved through a rational design process that included high performance materials being specified. The new buildings on site are north-oriented, self-sufficient living pods that sit on top of water reservoir concrete raft foundations with a lightweight, highly insulated Imison walling system with insulated roof and floors that assist in temperature regulation and control, as well as operable solar shading. For the refurbished existing buildings, sufficient insulation was used together with shading devices; and repurposed roof trusses were used as decorative timber.

Active energy-producing systems were also implemented such as solar PV panels linked to Endless Power control modules. In addition, low-energy light fittings, water heating and appliances are used, and energy consumption is continually monitored and audited to ensure ongoing improvement. An electric vehicle (EV) charging station is available onsite with an EV for shuttle services; and shared Qhubeka Bicycles are available to guests for commuting within the neighbourhood.

“The Hotel Nieu philosophy revolves around six elements of sustainable net-zero living,” says Paul Boshoff, the hotel’s architect and co-developer.

These are human capital, water, energy, food, personal security and transport. Where we redevelop an older or existing building, we seek to retain the best aspects of the building and then introduce new infrastructure, utilities, and more appropriate modern amenities and functions. Our aim is always to reduce utility demand and dependence.

In achieving its Net Positive certification, Hotel Nieu has set a benchmark for the local hospitality sector – not only in terms of mindful and inspirational design, but also by demonstrating a conscious and committed approach to sustainable daily operations.

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