keyboard_arrow_upRecognising the supply chain in sustainable development
keyboard_arrow_downRecognising the supply chain in sustainable development

The Legrand Group was awarded the coveted ‘Responsible Supplier Relations’ mark of approval towards the end of last year (2012), becoming one of the first four companies in France to be granted this recognition. 

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_upeWasha recycles carwash water
keyboard_arrow_downeWasha recycles carwash water

eWasha offers a patented and environmentally responsible solution to recover and clean car- bus- and truck-wash water, providing for substantial reductions in water consumption and costs. The company has chosen to use JoJo tanks for its water recycling plants. 

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_upSavings on water heating for Johannesburg apartments
keyboard_arrow_downSavings on water heating for Johannesburg apartments

The installation of four air-to-water heat pumps at an apartment building in Johannesburg has resulted in a reduction of electricity usage at the building of at least 70%.  Ai-Tec (Advanced Industrial Technology) installed the four 45.6kW ThermoWise heat pumps to reduce electricity consumption and minimise maintenance requirements on the building’s water heating system. 

keyboard_arrow_upInvesting in solar energy in SA
keyboard_arrow_downInvesting in solar energy in SA

Global leader in solar energy solutions, 3W Power/ AEG Power Solutions, has established a new manufacturing facility in Milnerton, Cape Town, which is already producing state-of-the-art utility-scale solar inverters and combiner boxes for monitoring systems. The 3 400m² factory was built specifically to manufacture the company’s world-renowned solar products. It is the first facility of its kind in Southern Africa and has a manufacturing capacity equal to 200MW per year. 

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_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_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_upRio +20 – Building our common future
keyboard_arrow_downRio +20 – Building our common future

Rio +20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), is due to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 4 to 6 June, 2012.  Twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, and ten years after the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the UN is again bringing together governments, international institutions and major groups, including business, academia, non-governmental organisations, trades unions, community groups and others, to agree on a range of smart measures that can reduce poverty while promoting decent jobs, clean energy and a more sustainable and fair use of resources.  Rio +20 is billed as a historic opportunity to define pathways to a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all; a chance to move away from business-as-usual and to act to end poverty, address environmental destruction and build a bridge to the future.

keyboard_arrow_upFirsts in sustainability, health and safety
keyboard_arrow_downFirsts in sustainability, health and safety

For Sika, this year marks its 101st year of supplying materials to the construction and automobile industries – materials that are globally renowned for their reliability and innovation.  In its manufacturing processes and the products it supplies, Sika also sets itself the highest standards of environmental management, in compliance with ISO14001. Sika SA was the first construction chemicals company in South Africa to achieve ISO 14001 certification in 2006 and is still the only construction chemicals company to have this rating.

keyboard_arrow_upOfficial ‘green’ listing for gypsum plasterboard
keyboard_arrow_downOfficial ‘green’ listing for gypsum plasterboard

Lafarge Gypsum South Africa recently announced the official listing of Lafarge Plasterboard on ecospecifier South Africa. In addition to Lafarge’s technical fire-check and moisture-check boards, the range of 6.4mm, 12mm and 15mm Lafarge Plasterboards have been labelled ‘green’. According to Jean-Paul Croze, managing director of Lafarge Gypsum South Africa, the key focus for the company is to create a sustainable environmental footprint by producing products profiled for the future using the most advanced technology. “We want to provide solutions as close to specification requirements as possible to allow architects and interior designers the flexibility to adapt design concepts without compromising the environment.”

keyboard_arrow_upUnited Nations World Habitat Day
keyboard_arrow_downUnited Nations World Habitat Day

UN Habitat is the United Nations’ agency for human settlements and the UN has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. World Habitat Day will be celebrated this year on 3 October. The idea is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter. The event is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat.

keyboard_arrow_upCementing opportunities across Africa
keyboard_arrow_downCementing opportunities across Africa

Lafarge, a global leader in building materials and the largest producer of cement in the world, is positive about the potential of the cement market in South Africa, despite the challenges of the past 18 months. The enormous need for housing both locally and across Africa provides an important and valuable opportunity for the cement manufacturer and Lafarge is confident of improved growth in South Africa and internationally. With the introduction of a new production line in 2009 the group is also confident that it has sufficient capacity to meet anticipated growth.

keyboard_arrow_upEcosystems have no value
keyboard_arrow_downEcosystems have no value

At the recent Green Building Conference organised by alive2green and held in Johannesburg over 13 and 14 July, Eamonn O’Rourke from Strategic Environmental Focus (SEF) offered delegates one of the most thought-provoking presentations.  The title of O’Rourke’s presentation – Ecosystems have no value – certainly raised questions ahead of his taking the podium. However, he soon clarified that statement to say, actually, “Ecosystems have no Rand value. They are priceless.” How do we determine what is valuable? In his presentation O’Rourke explored the whole question of values, whether different value systems can be compared, and what value systems are appropriate when we consider plans for land use, built developments, site selection and construction.  If something is priceless – is it of no value? How do we determine what is valuable and what is valueless?

keyboard_arrow_upGBCSA Convention and Exhibition 2011
keyboard_arrow_downGBCSA Convention and Exhibition 2011

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) is hosting its fourth annual Convention and Exhibition, sponsored by Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, in Cape Town 26 to 28 October.  “Green buildings can reduce energy consumption by more than half, and even existing businesses and homes can benefit substantially from the latest, greenest leaps in sustainability,” says Bruce Kerswill, executive chairman of the GBCSA. “Green building makes sense – not just for the sake of the planet but also for the sake of our pockets.”

keyboard_arrow_upFirsts for sustainability and OHS in construction chemicals
keyboard_arrow_downFirsts for sustainability and OHS in construction chemicals

Now in its 101st year of supplying construction chemicals – and renowned globally for reliability and innovation – Sika also sets itself the highest standards of environmental management in compliance with ISO 14001.  Sika SA managing director, Paul Adams, says, “Achieving ISO ratings necessitates a continuous improvement in management systems. In gaining ISO 14001 certification, Sika demonstrates its total commitment to sustainability. We are continually striving to source new and environmentally-friendly raw materials and are focussing on the elimination of harmful solvents in production.”

keyboard_arrow_upHeat pump industry joins sustainable energy forum
keyboard_arrow_downHeat pump industry joins sustainable energy forum

Following meetings of key heat pump industry stakeholders hosted by the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (SESSA) in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban during June, SESSA has been given the mandate to establish a national heat pump division.  A non-profit organisation dedicated to the creation and continued growth of renewable energy and energy efficiency, SESSA already represents more than 500 members through its solar water heating division and an additional 120 through its solar photovoltaic division. Other SESSA initiatives include opportunity builders like Young SESSA, solar cooking and Sunpower for Life.  Establishing a heat pump division will create a voice for the industry and facilitate the expansion of more energy-efficient technology as well as supporting SESSA’s endeavours to create a low carbon society.

keyboard_arrow_upGreening the Future Award for cement manufacturer
keyboard_arrow_downGreening the Future Award for cement manufacturer

Leading black-controlled construction materials group AfriSam has won a prestigious Greening the Future Award in the Mail & Guardian’s (M&G) awards programme.  For the past eight years the Mail & Guardian newspaper’s annual Greening the Future Awards have honoured innovation and action in environmental sustainability. This year the awards built on past successes and reflected the latest thinking, trends and practices to combat climate change, reduce impacts on water, preserve biodiversity and improve eco-efficiency.

keyboard_arrow_upSustainable design for ‘The Future African City’
keyboard_arrow_downSustainable design for ‘The Future African City’

‘The Future African City’ is the theme of the fifth annual Cement & Concrete Institute (C&CI) Sustainable Design Competition. The competition is open to students in their final year of an undergraduate architectural qualification at an accredited tertiary institution. Daniel van der Merwe, architect at the C&CI, says the competition aims to promote the innovative use of concrete in building sustainable environments.

keyboard_arrow_upNew ‘green’ precedents in cement manufacture
keyboard_arrow_downNew ‘green’ precedents in cement manufacture

AfriSam views the ‘greening’ of its operations not as a nice-to-have but as a business imperative which has enabled the company to forge ahead with innovative and, in some cases, radical environmental initiatives, setting new precedents for the industry.

keyboard_arrow_upTUV quality for timber treatment manufacturer
keyboard_arrow_downTUV quality for timber treatment manufacturer

Supplier of wood preservation products, Arch Wood Protection, recently underwent its annual third party quality verification audit by the TUV Rheinland product safety and quality inspection authority. TUV Rheinland’s certifications are globally recognised and Arch Wood Protection’s participation in the TUV programme reflects the company’s commitment to world class standards.

keyboard_arrow_upThe SAICE Infrastructure Report Card 2011
keyboard_arrow_downThe SAICE Infrastructure Report Card 2011

The SAICE Infrastructure Report Card for South Africa 2011 (IRC), the second of its kind, was released in April by the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE). It provides a valuable reference for continuing development in the built environment and to focus government’s budgeted infrastructure spend. The IRC 2011 rates the overall condition of our national infrastructure at C-. This it classifies as “satisfactory for now”, although stressed at peak periods and in need of investment in the current medium-term expenditure framework period to avoid serious deficiencies.

keyboard_arrow_upA safe, clean and efficient home energy solution
keyboard_arrow_downA safe, clean and efficient home energy solution

Leading South African petrochemical and energy group, Sasol, has introduced LP gas reticulation for housing developments with supply from bulk tanks on site – offering property developers a ‘greener’ alternative energy option. With Sasol Homegas the carbon footprint of new housing developments is reduced and electricity consumption costs for the homeowners will be lower.

keyboard_arrow_upFly ash makes for ‘greener’ cement
keyboard_arrow_downFly ash makes for ‘greener’ cement

According to John Sheath, strategy and marketing manager at Ash Resources, the inclusion of fly ash in concrete mixes can substantially reduce concrete’s carbon footprint and contribute significantly to sustainable construction.  Sheath says fly ash has a number of specific environmental benefits.