Die NG Kerk van Wes- en Suid-Kaap se sinodale sentrum is deesdae geleë in Bellville se middestad. Niederheim is ‘n skamele 3 Km hiervandaan in die naaste spogwoonbuurt, Loevenstein. Wat meer is, is die NG Kerk se Oornaghuis wat goedkoop basiese huisvesting bied gerieflik binne stapafstand van hierdie luukse B&B. Dit maak dit ideaal vir persone wat verskillende begrotings vir akkommodasie het maar tog naby mekaar wil wees ter wille van saamry. Niederheim het ook ‘n ruim konferensielokaal wat ideaal is vir groepe tot 14 in grootte.
South Africa is waking up to the challenges of the global crisis of climate change. The Climate Change Summit 2009 is being held this week (starting 3 March 2009) where about 600 delegates from all sectors of our society are meeting to discuss ways in which our country can change from one of the world’s least energy effective countries to the leader it should be. Even though we are only responsible for 1.5% of the planet’s human-made greenhouse gas emissions, we nevertheless count among the twenty worst polluters in the world with our high per capita CO2 release.
Cape Town is especially susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change, with particular risk to its coast line, economy, service delivery, resource sustainability and its most vulnerable communities.
Cape Town has a newly formed Climate Change Thinktank consisting of renowned academics and specialists who will assess climate change and its effects and will lead proactive response. It was established by the City with funding from the Royal Danish Embassy, in partnership with the University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities and sustainablee Energy Africa. It represents over 30 top academics and specialists from a numbr of Cape Town institutions. The city aims to be a leading local authority in its response to climate change. The city council has already adopted an Energy and Climate Change Strategy, and has established an Energy Committee.
As a sign of practical steps in the right direction, the City of Cape Town’s electricity department has won this year’s top prize for managing the most environmentally friendly vehicle fleet in South Africa. By managing part of its fleet of 740 vehicles in an intentionally green fashion, a massive 22% reduction in fuel usage has been procured. This approach is to be extended to the rest of the 6000 vehicles of the City of Cape Town’s fleet.
Niederheim B&B is in its modest way a leader in this regard. We invested in a large solar water heating system, which limits the use of electricity to overcast days. And even though our establishment is well illuminated both outside and inside, we mainly use low energy fluorescent bulbs. Our north facing windows ensure optimal solar warming of the rooms in winter while our trellised vines keep the scorching summer sun out. The net result is that we use less than a mere 20 kwh per day in summer.
One can only hope that the current rise in the price of electricity will be accompanied by the necessary incentives and legislature to build more energy efficient and to effect a large scale switch over to solar energy.
The popularity of B&B accommodation is steadily growing in the north of Cape Town as part of a world wide phenomenon. The reasons for this are manifold. This type of accommodation offers both business people and tourists the homeliness of a house in a normal residential area. It softens the away-from-home feeling of the itinerant professional and executive person. Especially women appreciate the added safety of a home. For tourists it offers direct and personal contact with local people and an intimate experience of and look into their particular way of life. For European tourists Niederheim offers the possibility of a first hand experience of how their colonial heritage has transformed itself into an integral part of the rainbow nation of South Africa. Esther and Jan Nieder-Heitmann with their Dutch, German, French Huguenot and Irish ancestry and their Afrikaans (Cape Dutch) home language adds to the richness of such an experience. And last, but definitely not the least, for cash strapped people everywhere braving the global economic storms of 2009, B&B accommodation like N-H offers the same luxuries for which hotels would easily charge twice as much.