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28 August, 2023

Take a closer look at Waterside’s hydronics system

Royal Malewane

It’s cool to be green

At The Royal Portfolio, we’re always looking for ways to reduce the impact of our operations on the environment. Building Waterside at Royal Malewane gave us the perfect opportunity to include innovative eco-friendly solutions from the very beginning.

Especially in summer, the heat in the Greater Kruger area can sometimes be challenging, while fresh winter mornings and evenings can catch some of our guests by surprise. While there’s nothing quite like a shower, a bath or a dip in the pool after a game drive, the water needs to be revitalising, no matter what the season.

All of which means that creating the perfect stay requires heating (or cooling) a great deal of water, In the past, this would have involved using a great deal of non-renewable energy – but not anymore. The combination of abundant, year-round sunshine in the Greater Kruger, plus naturally clean water from the Klaserie River (which flows close to Waterside) gave us an opportunity to break the mould once again. That’s exactly what we did when we installed a state-of-the-art hydronics system at Waterside.

Off the grid luxury living with hydronics

Thanks to this investment, we’re now running all our heating and cooling systems with very low carbon emissions.
The sun provides the primary energy source for heating the water, and because the hydronics solution is a closed loop system, the same water can be reused over and over again. Without diluting our luxury offering, we’ve been able to significantly reduce our water usage and electricity consumption.

Of course, there are times when we’re not able to generate enough solar energy for our needs. For that reason, the new system has a built-in gas component which ensures that the required water temperatures are always reached. Thermostats trigger the gas component to work if they detect that the water is cooler than the required temperature (for example, on shorter winter days when there are fewer hours of daylight).

The final element is a series of heat pumps, which can be used to make the water super-hot, or conversely to cool it down. Heat pumps are efficient heat-transfer devices that can effectively move heat from one place to another.
In essence, the hydronics system is solar-powered (with solar always being the preferred energy source when enough of it is available), but with gas and heat-pump elements as back-ups when needed. However, it’s good to know that the system is so efficient that even if we can’t see the sun, the panels will still generate some energy.

Hydronics at Waterside

The system has sufficient capacity to ensure that the Waterside swimming pools, underfloor heating, heated towel rails, and water for baths and showers are always at the perfect temperature. The hydronics system lets us control these temperatures very precisely.

The water from the Klaserie River is easily purified, with very little being lost in the filtration process. The whole system is almost silent – you’ll only know it’s there when you feel how cool your suite is, enjoy a hot shower, or reach for a heated towel.

Waterside is a work of art in many ways, not least in terms of the new sustainability solutions we’ve used. As you explore Waterside, you’ll notice many of Liz Biden’s signature pops of colour – but look a little closer, and you’ll see how green this special place in the wilderness really is.

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