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  1. Thurlo, I don’t believe this is true. I have scanned through the two “new” energy regulations – these are South African National Standards rather than laws – for everything relating specifically to garages. While the aim of the regulations is to build homes that are energy efficient, the regulations simply give guidelines that can help ensure we construct buildings with a properly designed “building envelope” that will keep the building warm in winter and cool in summer.
    The new SANS 10400-XA: The application of the National Building Regulations Part X:Environmental sustainability Part XA: Energy usage in buildings defines the building envelope as “elements of a building that separate a habitable room from the exterior of a building or a garage or storage area”.
    And it gives guidances in terms of orientation of the building envelope. It doesn’t mention garages here, but does mention storerooms which seem to be lumped with garages. It says: “Uninhabited rooms, such as bathrooms and storerooms, can be used to screen unwanted western sun or to prevent heat loss on the south-facing facades.”
    Various buildings – including dwelling houses (which are defined by law as “Occupancy consisting of a dwelling unit on its own site, including a garage and other domestic outbuildings, if any”) must be certified by a competent person as having “a theoretical annual energy consumption and demand less than or equal to a reference building that complies with the requirements of 4.2.1(b)” BUT this EXCLUDES garages and storage areas.
    4.2.1(b) has to do with orientation and shading of external walls (SANS 204) as well as the new fenestration requirements – which relate to windows +++
    And the only other place where the word “garage” is used, also excludes “garages and storerooms”.
    So there is nothing here that says you can’t have a window in the garage.
    The other “new” energy law is SANS 204 (2011): Energy efficiency in buildings.
    This mentions garages twice. Once in the definition of net floor area: “sum of all areas between the vertical building components (walls or partitions), excluding garages, car parks and storerooms” – which isn’t relevant here.
    And in the section on External walls, where design considerations for energy efficiency are given – or more specifically for “the required level of thermal performance for that building”. Garages must have “an external fabric” that achieves the above; be separated from the main building in such a way that it achieves this; or doesn’t compromise the thermal performance of the building.
    There is no direct reference to windows in a garage. Obviously a window will allow heat to enter or leave a room (including a garage) and therefore it will affect thermal performance. But it is separate to the house. As long as the structure meets the minimum specifications for thermal performance, I don’t see why you should’t have a window. Some types of glass have better performance values, so this should also be taken into account.
    The other thing to consider is that it is essential to have adequate lighting and ventilation in a garage. Part O states: “Any habitable room, bathroom, shower-room and room containing a toilet pan or urinal, or any room which is a parking garage shall be provided with a means of lighting and ventilation which will enable such room to be used, without detriment to health or safety or causing any nuisance, for the purpose for which it is designed.”
    As an addenda, there are sometimes circumstances where a window may not be allowed in a garage wall. e.g. In terms of the City of Cape Town’s new zoning by-laws, if a garage (or other building) is built on a common boundary, there may not be a window in the wall facing the neighboring property. But you may have a window in the other walls.

  2. thurlo joseph sê:

    Hi, can someone please explain why one can have no window in the garage under the new energy law. I am failing to understand this. Please help

  3. Hi Joao Paulo,
    Go to the downloads tab on the main menu. There are three files relating to the SANS 10400-X & XA, they are “SANS10400-XA 2011-DSS3” “TN No1 Compliance With SANS10400XA” and “Energy in BuildingsAmendments-SANS10400 X and XA-1”

  4. Would appreciate the file on Part XA – Energy Use In Buildings in PDF to download and read here. Thank you.