keyboard_arrow_upSoftware developments for building efficiency applications
keyboard_arrow_downSoftware developments for building efficiency applications

Johnson Controls, a global leader in building management efficiency, has introduced the Panoptix software development community, providing building data, tools and support to software developers to create and market new applications that address energy efficiency, sustainability and operational management in buildings. 

keyboard_arrow_upHonouring SA’s ‘Green Leaders’
keyboard_arrow_downHonouring SA’s ‘Green Leaders’

At its fifth annual convention in October, the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) honoured Green Leaders in SA, those individuals, organisations and projects that are leading the way in green building design and innovation. 

keyboard_arrow_up4-star Green Star SA rating – a first for local government
keyboard_arrow_down4-star Green Star SA rating – a first for local government

The City of Cape Town’s Human Settlements Contact Centre in Manenberg has recently been awarded a 4-star Green Star SA rating. It is the first newly built municipal building in South Africa to achieve a Green Star SA rating. 

keyboard_arrow_up5-star Green Star SA rating – a first for provincial government
keyboard_arrow_down5-star Green Star SA rating – a first for provincial government

Nestled in Ixopo in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) midlands the Sisonke District office of the KZN Department of Public Works is the first provincial government building to receive a 5-star Green Star SA office design v.1 rating. The 5-star rating signifies excellence in green building.  The final cost of the new building was about R21 million, which is about 1.5% more than a conventional building would have cost, but the long-term savings through energy and water efficiency will more than balance out the additional expenditure. 

keyboard_arrow_upBenchmarking water and energy usage
keyboard_arrow_downBenchmarking water and energy usage

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has launched the pilot version of its Energy and Water Benchmarking tool for the commercial property industry. It provides for analysis of the energy and water usage in existing buildings and enables property owners and managers to see how their buildings’ usage levels compare to industry norms. 

keyboard_arrow_upShowerhead exchange programme saves water and energy
keyboard_arrow_downShowerhead exchange programme saves water and energy

Magnet, in partnership with Energywise, has completed the installation of exchange showerheads in terms of its Eskom performance contract in six months – 13 months ahead of schedule. This joint initiative is expected to save 330 Gigawatt hours of energy over a three-year period, through the use of energy-saving showerheads and water restrictors. 

keyboard_arrow_upLight-reflecting paint
keyboard_arrow_downLight-reflecting paint

The importance of creating a positive working environment for employees is increasingly being recognised by business owners and corporate companies. Workspaces are being designed to create a lighter, brighter and more spacious look, not only to increase productivity, but also to promote energy efficiency. 

keyboard_arrow_upLearning from the 2012 London Olympics Park Project
keyboard_arrow_downLearning from the 2012 London Olympics Park Project

As part of the build-up to the 5th annual Green Building Council of South Africa(GBCSA) Convention and Exhibition  several master classes will be presented by foremost thought leaders. 

keyboard_arrow_upA sustainable tourism development for CapeNature
keyboard_arrow_downA sustainable tourism development for CapeNature

“The use of fibre-cement represents a small fraction of the energy embodied in a conventional brick and mortar structure…”  CapeNature, a public institution with the statutory responsibility for biodiversity conservation in the Western Cape, recently launched its flagship tourism facility, the Oudebosch Cabins in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve. 

keyboard_arrow_upTwo rural schools win for sustainability
keyboard_arrow_downTwo rural schools win for sustainability

The AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture is this year shared by two rural South African schools that could transform the way in which future educational facilities are designed in the country: Lebone II College in Phokeng, North West, designed by Activate Architects in association with Afritects, and Vele Secondary School in Limpopo, designed by East Coast Architects. 

keyboard_arrow_upSaint-Gobain Gyproc saving energy one house at a time
keyboard_arrow_downSaint-Gobain Gyproc saving energy one house at a time

Saint-Gobain Gyproc is committed to manufacturing products that contribute to the reduction of energy usage in homes and address the need to combat South Africa’s mounting energy crisis, as detailed in the recently published legislation.  Gyproc uses mainly natural materials in the manufacturing of its products and recycled materials in its production processes. As a company Saint-Gobain saves more energy per year than it uses to produce its products. 

keyboard_arrow_upThe business case for green buildings
keyboard_arrow_downThe business case for green buildings

The financial viability of green buildings is a critical question in the minds of South African property developers and a new report from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) investigates this issue and sets out the compelling business case for green building.  The Rands and Sense of Green Buildings contains evidence-based studies on the costs and benefits of green building in countries with established green building markets, such as the USA and Australia, as well as local case studies, examples and anecdotal evidence. 

keyboard_arrow_upGreen office building for Gautrain
keyboard_arrow_downGreen office building for Gautrain

Growthpoint Properties is developing a 7 000m² green office building in Midrand, to be tenanted primarily by Gautrain which will take up premises of 2 500m².  The development is located opposite the Gautrain Midrand station and, in due course, will form part of the Grand Central Office Park, with Growthpoint’s neighbouring building tenanted by Sanofi. 

keyboard_arrow_upHelping home wishes come true
keyboard_arrow_downHelping home wishes come true

RBA Homes handed over the keys for a brand new home to Lucky Mathibela and his family on Friday 1 June 2012, making good on its promise made on 94.7 FM Highveld Stereo’s Christmas Wish campaign.  When RBA Homes was approached by 94.7 Highveld Stereo’s Breakfast Show and heard Lucky’s story, it welcomed the chance to make a difference in his life. RBA Homes was impressed by the young man’s positive spirit and his desire to give back to his community as a teacher – even though he was struggling himself. 

keyboard_arrow_upNatural light without the heat
keyboard_arrow_downNatural light without the heat

Ice Cool, flagged as the premium insulating window film from Solashayde, admits “all the light with none of the weather”. When natural light and temperature and solar control are priorities, this is the best window film to use. Ice Cool assists in keeping interiors warm in winter and cool in summer, while letting through bright, visible light. It can be used in offices, homes and any other buildings. 

keyboard_arrow_upAlternative building systems support energy efficiency
keyboard_arrow_downAlternative building systems support energy efficiency

ABP Building Products, specialist in the design, development, manufacture and marketing of alternative building systems that support energy efficiency, has changed its name, because of a naming rights conflict, to Eco Building Systems.  Rodney van Dam of Eco Building Systems says, “We focus primarily on using expanded polystyrene systems (EPS) to provide building products that withstand the impacts of rising building, energy and labour costs. With the promulgation of new energy efficiency legislation in the National Building Regulations, our products are playing a greater role in the South African building environment. 

keyboard_arrow_upIncreasing options in LED lighting
keyboard_arrow_downIncreasing options in LED lighting

One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce energy consumption in buildings is to replace incandescent lamps with more energy-efficient solutions. However, some energy-efficient lamps contain mercury, which is dangerous to the environment, and they have a relatively short lifespan. For this and other reasons, the more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly light emitting diode (LED) technology is poised to replace conventional lighting technologies in both residential and commercial spaces.  Verbatim is at the cutting edge of LED technology and has recently announced a range of super-efficient LED lamps designed to replace conventional bulbs. They are easy to retro-fit into existing fixtures. South African distributor, Drive Control Corporation (DCC), will be stocking and distributing this innovative new range. 

keyboard_arrow_upBuilding with natural light
keyboard_arrow_downBuilding with natural light

"Light is not only an amount of energy," says Marilyne Andersen of MIT’s Department of Architecture. "It also provides us with the means to reveal spaces and volumes and interact with our environment."  Andersen and others in the Building Technology Program have been working on how to better incorporate natural light into building design, recognising that natural light has many positive effects – including considerable financial savings in energy bills as well as benefits for occupants’ health and wellbeing. According to their findings, natural light improves mood and health by regulating human circadian rhythms, for instance. “Natural light is one of our biological needs. Intuitively, we prefer daylight to electric light,” she says. 

keyboard_arrow_upRadiant barrier insulation reduces heat build-up
keyboard_arrow_downRadiant barrier insulation reduces heat build-up

The newly legislated SANS 10400-XA: 2011 and SANS 204: 2008 introduce the requirement for proof of compliance with the standards set out for energy efficiency in buildings. This means that architects and building developers need to ensure that new buildings and building refurbishments are designed to meet the prescribed energy efficiency standards; that a building’s performance in terms of energy usage is calculated and documented; and that the building is built to perform accordingly.  Thermal insulation materials – for roofs, walls and floors – constitute a key element in building to achieve the required thermal resistance values (R-values) as set out in SANS 204. 

keyboard_arrow_upLeading the way in sustainable architecture
keyboard_arrow_downLeading the way in sustainable architecture

The AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture, initiated in 2009, seeks to identify and honour outstanding South African architectural projects that reflect sustainable outcomes. This year, following a vigorous adjudication phase, 12 qualifying entries have been announced for the 2011/12 awards programme.  The entries will be exhibited at the South African Institute of Architects Architecture ZA 2012 Biennale, to be hosted by the Cape Institute for Architecture in September, in the run-up to the announcement of the award-winning projects in October.  Entries for the 2011/12 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture were submitted under two categories – one for built work that has been beneficially occupied since 15 March 2011 and the other for works of social importance, including research. 

keyboard_arrow_upAny bright ideas on energy-efficient lighting?
keyboard_arrow_downAny bright ideas on energy-efficient lighting?

          The 2012 Eskom Energy Efficient Lighting Design Competition invites design students and professionals as well as design-minded secondary school learners and amateur designers to design an innovative energy-efficient luminaire or lighting system for residential use. The competition has been run biennially since 1999 and this year aims to demonstrate that efficient lighting technologies, such as gas discharge, fluorescent and LED technologies, can be used in contemporary and attractive luminaires and lighting systems for residential applications. There are substantial cash prizes on offer – a total sum of R214 000 – for the most innovative designs across the four entry categories.

keyboard_arrow_upThe Green Lease Toolkit
keyboard_arrow_downThe Green Lease Toolkit

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), in partnership with SAPOA (South African Property Owners Association), launched the new Green Lease Toolkit at the 44th annual SAPOA Convention held at the Durban International Convention Centre at the end of May 2012. The Green Lease Toolkit was developed in response to growing market demand from South African landlords and tenants. Landlords have consistently requested guidance and resources to help them harness the benefits of well-designed, well-built, and, importantly, well-operated buildings. Tenants too are increasingly seeking out ‘green’ space in a bid to gain the advantage of the healthier and more productive working environment that green buildings offer. A ‘green lease’ is structured to ensure that a building that has been designed and built for sustainability is operated in a sustainable way.

keyboard_arrow_upSANRAL leads the way for green government buildings
keyboard_arrow_downSANRAL leads the way for green government buildings

The new corporate headquarters for the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) in Pretoria has been awarded a 4-star Green Star SA - Office Design v1 rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), the country’s green building authority.  As the first parastatal in South Africa to achieve a Green Star SA rating for one of its buildings, SANRAL, an agency of the Department of Transport, is leading the way for government and state-owned enterprises to move towards green building standards.  Worldwide, buildings are reportedly responsible for a third of all carbon emissions. Given that SA has boldly committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 34% by 2020 and 42% by 2025, the reduction of carbon emissions via buildings and the built environment presents one of the most efficient ways of achieving these commitments. 

keyboard_arrow_upPVC minimisation clause out of Green Star ratings
keyboard_arrow_downPVC minimisation clause out of Green Star ratings

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has announced that the use of PVC products in buildings seeking Green Star SA ratings will no longer be penalised. This means that environmentally conscious building contractors in South Africa can now make use of the full benefits of PVC piping products.  The GBCSA developed its Green Star SA rating system to provide the local property industry with an objective measurement for green buildings, and to recognise and reward environmental leadership in the industry. The council initially introduced the clause to minimise the use of PVC products in buildings due to environmental concerns regarding their formulation, manufacturing and end-of-life disposal. 

keyboard_arrow_upLow VOC paints support green building ratings
keyboard_arrow_downLow VOC paints support green building ratings

Nedbank Phase II at the bank’s Sandton headquarters was the first project in South Africa to achieve a 4-Star design rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA). One of the factors contributing to this rating was the use of a low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint from Dulux Trade, a company that shares Nedbank’s vision of a greener future.  Dulux Trade communications manager, Bennum van Jaarsveld, says, “Dulux Trade is one of the founding members of the GBCSA and we put our full weight behind Nedbank’s aim to achieve a 4-Star Green Star rating – and to be the first project in South Africa to do so. With local green building practices still very much in their infancy at the time, Dulux fast-tracked the development and production of its Ecosure range which played a part in the greening of this landmark project.”

keyboard_arrow_upUpcoming courses for green building professionals
keyboard_arrow_downUpcoming courses for green building professionals

The Green Star SA Accredited Professional Course, the core training course offered by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), will be travelling the country over the next few months. This course provides an introduction to the GBCSA’s Green Star SA rating tools and is a key requirement for those wishing to achieve Green Star SA Accredited Professional status. The course will be presented in: -          Port Elizabeth, 24 May -          Johannesburg, 6 June -          Durban, 7 June -          Cape Town, 2 August. 

keyboard_arrow_upThe Cool Roofs Challenge
keyboard_arrow_downThe Cool Roofs Challenge

Ceratech has launched the Cool Roofs Challenge to raise awareness in the industry about energy saving through roof coating technology, and to try and shift current attitudes which show a persistent preference for darker roof colours. The Ceratech Cool Roofs Challenge promotes the fact that cooling a building’s roof is one of the quickest, most cost-effective and guaranteed methods of reducing ambient heat in all types of buildings.  Explaining how the Cool Roofs Challenge was conceived, Ceratech CEO Chris Hayman says, “The benefits of cool roofs are being recognised around the world. A cool roof can reduce internal temperatures by as much as 45%, lower electricity costs, and significantly reduce roof maintenance for up to ten years, due to the virtual elimination of expansion and contraction in the roof sheeting. It’s obvious that we’re way behind here in South Africa – and we want to ask why?  “We are also asking why, at a time when the world needs to be more environmentally aware and is facing escalating costs of energy, many architects and developers continue to be concerned about roofs being white or in a pale colour, despite the benefits this affords.”

keyboard_arrow_upVersatile clay pavers used on floors and walls
keyboard_arrow_downVersatile clay pavers used on floors and walls

In designing the new buildings for the UNISA campus in Parow, Cape Town, MSa Michele Sandilands Architects chose to use Corobrik’s de Hoop Red 50mm pavers on both the floors and the walls. “The different applications certainly show how versatile the de Hoop Red paver can be!” said Corobrik’s Peter Kidger.  UNISA Parow has seen a steady increase in student numbers and, according to project architect Russ Wingfield of MSa (Michele Sandilands Architects), the brief called for additional teaching accommodation, an administration wing and associated facilities. As part of an architect-led initiative, the creation of a responsible building within the criteria of a changing climate became a priority and the vision was to achieve (in principle) a Green Star rating for the new north and south blocks.

keyboard_arrow_upFibreglass sun diffusers to reduce energy usage
keyboard_arrow_downFibreglass sun diffusers to reduce energy usage

Vital Engineering, best known as a manufacturer of steel and stainless steel gratings, stair treads, pressed floors and safety handrails, has developed a range of fibreglass external sun diffusers that are designed to reduce energy usage in buildings.  Some studies have shown that installing external sun diffusers can achieve a potential saving of 70% to 95% of the cooling load in a building. Since effective external shading blocks mostly direct sunlight, while admitting indirect light, this typically reduces solar heat gain by 80% to 90%. In turn, the dependence on air-conditioning to cool the internal environment is decreased and operational costs as well as environmental impact are reduced.

keyboard_arrow_upTowards energy efficiency in new and existing buildings
keyboard_arrow_downTowards energy efficiency in new and existing buildings

SANS 10400 part XA, developed by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) and brought into effect from November 2011, is the first of a set of minimum standards for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability for new and refurbished buildings. The new energy efficiency regulations tackle the building design and construction process by providing guidelines for minimum requirements for design elements such as glazing, insulation, shading, orientation and building services, including air-conditioning, hot water supply and lighting.