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HOME living informed today

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GREEN

A WORD FROM THE

Wrapping up 2015; what a year it has been and, as we face the consequences of the drought that has gripped our nation, it is up to all of us to be super waterwise and take care of the water we do have access to on a daily basis. The rooibos tea crop has failed due to the drought and farmers are facing financial ruin and losing their precious livestock in their thousands as a result. I wish it was cheerier news… but it is not. Reflecting on the year that has been I am even more sure now that we as individuals need to take better care of our own food security by growing as much of our own food as possible. I have been experimenting with my balcony garden and managed to grow spinach, tomatoes, celery, various herbs and lettuce and rocket. It adds up to being able to source some of my own raw ingredients and, with more care, I could probably grow more to share with my neighbours if needs be.

Green Home is great to share and the paper is recyclable. Don’t let it go to waste. Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions by diverting paper from landfill, reduces litter and creates job opportunities. Visit www.mywaste.co.za

EDITOR DIVISIONAL HEAD OF SALES SALES EXECUTIVES PROJECT MANAGER CLIENT LIAISON OFFICERS MARKETING MANAGER PROOFREADER EDITORIAL DIRECTORS ACCOUNTS AND ADMINISTRATION WEBSITE PHYSICAL ADDRESS COMPANY REGISTRATION NUMBER VAT NUMBER

Green Home magazine is printed on FSC approved paper. Green Home magazine is audited by the ABC

Cover: KDA Highveld Green Home

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IMAGES AND DIAGRAMS

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES PRINTER

EDITOR

What is long overdue on my to-do list is installing a rainwater tank to capture and store what water I can when the rains do come. As we head towards a new year and the inevitable resolutions that inspire us – albeit even for a brief period – it is worth taking stock of what each of us as individuals can do to be the change we wish to see in the world. Daily acts of kindness don’t only go a long way to help ease suffering where we see it, but they also add to one’s own quality of life, because to be on the receiving end of gratitude is a gift in itself. I hope you enjoy the last issue of this year and we look forward to offering you a magazine that is inspirational and worthwhile of the time it takes you to read it and enjoy it. Happy new year — see you in 2016.

Melissa Melissa Baird Annie Pieters Elna Willemse, Stacey Sands, Zaida Yon Esther Kabaso Lizel Olivier, Natasha Keyster Nabilah Hassen-Bardien Simon Lewis melissa.baird@alive2green.com Gordon Brown, Lloyd Macfarlane, Andrew Fehrsen Chevonne Ismail www.alive2green.com www.greenhomemagazine.co.za Cape Media House, 28 Main Rd, Rondebosch. TEL: 021 447 4733 FAX: 086 694 7443 2006/206388/23 4130252432 First Published July 2011 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any way or in any form without the prior written consent of the publisher. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publisher or the editor. All editorial contributions are accepted on the under­ standing that the contributor either owns or has obtained all necessary copyrights and permissions. Publishers do not endorse claims by advertisers. Space limitations and source format have affected the size of certain published images and/or diagrams in this publication. For larger PDF versions of these images please contact the Publisher. Edward MacDonald, distribution@alive2green.com sales@alive2green.com FA Print

PUBLISHER

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CONTENTS

Dec 2015/Jan/Feb 2016

THE COUNTRY LIVING ISSUE

9 20

07 09 13 14 18 20

23

22 23 25 27 28

DIY The how and why of Adobe Bricks. LIVING KDA Highveld Green Home. GARDENING Indigenous trees. GAME CHANGER Crimes against the earth. BOOKS ETC Elon Musk, butterflies and allergen-free recipes. TRAVEL De Zeekoe Guest Farm and their resident meerkat population. CAREERS Architectural conservation. FUTURE LEADERS Youth & entrepreneurship. ECO SPORT Cycling Mount Grace. ENERGY UPDATE The sense of solar water heaters. KNOW IT Sugar addiction… and how to beat it.

Win a Wonderful Wonderbag! We’ve been singing the praises of this energy efficient cooking miracle… and now you can be one of two lucky new subscribers to win one for your own use. Enter via the website or for more information email subscriptions@alive2green.com. Entries close on 28 February 2016. Two winners will be selected through a lucky draw.

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G R E E N HOME

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DIY

MAD ABOUT MUD – Adobe Bricks

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BY Melissa Baird

he word Adobe is derived from the Spanish word for “to plaster”, and this building material is, in essence, sunbaked earth that contains a large amount of clay and straw. The mixture can be handmade and then set in open moulds using nothing more than the sun’s energy to solidify them into a brick form that can then be used in the same way that manufactured bricks are used in the construction of homes and schools. The mixture can also be used to build walls directly, with no need for conventional bricks at all, while the strength of these bricks has been tried-and-tested through the ages. Structures made from Adobe brick have been discovered all over the world, from the south-west of the USA, to Mexico and Central America, and their first use dates all the way back to the time of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Even some parts of the Great Wall of China have Adobe bricks as part of its construction, while in South Africa some of our oldest national buildings were made with Adobe bricks. According to Andy Horn of Eco Design Architects, Adobe bricks are still widely used in many rural parts of the country, such as the Eastern Cape, Transkei, Zululand and Mpumalanga. However, Horn cautions that building homes without using the correct masonry foundations (or damp proofing and the default use of cement plaster) can mean that they don’t function as best as they could. However, if correctly made and construc­ ted, then the benefits of having an Adobe construction offer far superior thermal regula­ tion compared to standard cement walls. “The combination of the high thermal mass of the material – which offers great thermal stability to structures, together with the ability of clay to moderate humidity levels to indoor climates – creates a greatly improved level of thermal comfort when compared to standard concrete and brick buildings”, says Andy. However, this is just one of the reasons he likes building with Adobe bricks. There is also an employment angle to working with natural building techniques, as Adobe bricks offer jobcreation as well as on-site skills development opportunities for construction workers. Add to this the fact that the raw materials are usually easily available, while simple tools are all that is needed to get the process under way. Their

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manufacturing also enables a level of division of labour whereby one can create additional work, with brick production being separate to the actual project construction itself. Technical information –– Strengths are typically good for doublestorey construction. –– Highly durable, with proper dampproofing and the use of natural plasters, such as earth and lime. –– Only use natural paints that enable the walls to ‘breathe’. –– The Adobe brick mix is carefully prepared by mixing clay-rich soil/sand/straw with the correct proportions.

–– The Adobe mix is placed in moulds and the bricks are then left out to dry in the sun for a full month. The longer each brick dries out, the stronger they become. –– Earth brick-building codes have been estab­lish­ed in many parts of Central, South and North America, and New Zealand. Some Adobe buildings in South Africa –– OR Tambo Narrative & Enviro Centre, Leeupan, Johannesburg. –– Mamre Heritage Revitalization Project, Mamre Tourism Information Centre, Mamre Western Cape. –– Seven Fountains Primary School for Oprah’s Angels Network, Kokstad.

G R E E N HOME

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ADVERTORIAL

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he Wonderbag is a proudly South African, non-electric, heat-retention cooker that was created six years ago by Sarah Collins (a local entrep­reneur and social activist)… and it has since gone global. In addition to the energy saving attributes of the Wonderbag, it is also recognised for its numerous health, environmental and money-saving benefits. Simply bring your food to the boil using conven­tional cooking methods and then place your pot of food into the Wonderbag. Your delicious, healthy meal will continue to cook for up to 12 hours without needing any

additional energy source. The method of slow cooking in a Wonderbag therefore benefits the environment as it uses only a portion of the energy source that would normally be required to prepare a meal. This will also save you time and money to prepare a tasty meal! This form of cooking will help cut down on diseases related to smoke inhalation in rural areas. Cooking in the Wonderbag also retains essential nutrients and juices that are often lost when using conventional cooking methods. Lower cooking temperatures ensure that more of the nutrients remain in the food, even after cooking. The Wonderbag also allows for a

much less aggressive form of cooking, with no direct heat needed after the pot has been brought to the boil, and this is likely to be more protective to the nutrients found in fresh foods. With all of these benefits, the Wonderbag is an essential item for all households as more focus is being placed on living a healthier life and, ultimately, making better food choices. Wonderbags are available at all Outdoor Warehouse stores, select Hirsch’s and KwikSpar as well as online at www.wonderbag.co.za or www.yuppiechef.com. Bags retail from bet­ ween R230 and R250 each.

Contact the Wonderbag Team on sales@nb-wonderbag.com / 031 536 8220

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LIVING

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LIVING

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LIVING

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LIVING

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GARDENING

CELEBRATING INDIGENOUS TREES IN YOUR GARDEN BY Matthew Koehorst

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outhern Africa is home to around 1,700 different species of trees, all of which are adapted and suited to their local conditions – and all of which have a valuable role to play in their native ecosystems. Many indigenous trees are also fantastic for landscaping and can add a lot of value to your green spaces at home.

Trees serve as a great addition to gardens and landscapes for a variety of reasons. They provide edible fruits and medicine, fix nitro­ gen into the soil, attract beneficial pollinators, stabilise soils, provide shade, act as windbreaks and add beautiful form to your landscape. Planting a tree should be considered a longterm investment on your property, as trees typi­cally take several years before they achieve a sub­stantial size and presence. Most plant nurser­ies stock indigenous trees, but it is wise to consult a specialist in the field who can provide expert advice for your tree requirements and to rec­ommend the right tree for your needs. It’s a good idea to consider the following factors before you commit to your indigenous trees: –– Space available How much space do you have? How big would you like your tree to be? Indigenous trees generally range in size from 3-5 metres, but they can reach up to 20 metres and beyond. –– Think under ground Consider the habits of each tree’s roots and the effect they might have on paving or foundations. Are you planting near piping, drains or powerlines? –– Purpose of planting Why do you want to plant a tree? Is it for shade, to act as a windbreak, to attract birds, provide a screen from your neighbours, for its natural beauty… or perhaps another reason?

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–– Soil type & water availability What is the soil like where you want to plant? Will you be able to meet the tree’s water demands? Some trees prefer sandy soils, some are happy in clayey soils, while many are well-adapted to a range of soil types. –– Attention, please Some trees require small amounts of water and are relatively self-sufficient. Others need large amounts of water and may demand greater care and attention in order to get established. –– Budget How much money do you have to spend? The price of indigenous trees can vary from R20 for a young and small tree, all the way to R5,000 and even above for a large, well-established landscaping tree. Deciding how much you want to spend on your tree will effect the size, type, and quality of the tree you can purchase. Types of indigenous trees There are many species and families of indigenous trees, each with their own characteristics, benefits, and habits. When purchasing a tree, understanding what personality you want your tree to have will go a long way in helping you to make a decision. Here is a very short list of some popular trees for landscaping and garden use: Yellowwoods – Afrocarpus species (previously Podocarpus) –– These beautiful and substantial slowgrowing trees can grow massive in nature (up to 30m or higher) and are South Africa’s national tree. They provide great shade, have fruits that attract birds and are very attractive trees. However, they do

take around 10 years before they reach a substantial size. Wild Figs – Ficus species –– The Ficus family is massive, with over 800 species recorded worldwide. In South Africa there are several species (including Ficus sur and Ficus natelensis) which are great for larger gardens. These sprawling trees are beautiful and provide fruit for birds and great shade for humans. They are fast-growing, but their roots can be invasive (don’t plant them near buildings or sewerage systems). Acacias – Vachellia species –– The Vachellia family (previously Acacias, but recently renamed) consists of tough and hardy nitrogen-fixing trees (typically with thorns) that are well-adapted to drier conditions such as central and northern South Africa. However, they grow well in many regions, attract pollinators, fix nitro­ gen into the soil, provide shade and offer security thanks to their thorny nature. There is a huge variety of indigenous trees that may suit your specific region and area, whether you live on the coastline, in the mountains or on the highlands of our beautiful country. For help in your decision-making, visit the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s amazing free resource (www.plantzafrica.com), which offers a comprehensive list of indigenous trees and their characteristics. We’re lucky enough to be spoilt for choice in the tree department in South Africa, so get out there and plant away.

Happy planting! G R E E N HOME

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GAMECHANGER

THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH

BY Cormac Cullinan and Melissa Baird

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n 22 April 2010, the Universal Decla­ ra­tion of the Rights of Mother Earth (the Earth Rights Declaration) was proclaimed by the more than 32 000 partici­ pants in the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth held in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This pivotal event has created an opportunity for people around the world to take the lead in addressing the key challenges of the 21st Century and prove that, regardless of what governments do, global organisations and communities will make the 21st meeting of the Convention of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) a success by signing a People’s Convention to establish an International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature. The formal establishment of the Earth Tribunal is an important next step in the process of developing systems of governance designed to ensure that humans live in harmony with nature. The more organisations and individuals that show their personal and professional support behind the tribunal process, the greater its authority and the more effective it will be in exposing the need for far stronger (and more creative) international responses to our pressing environmental problems. Article 9 of the draft People’s Convention for the Establishment of the International Rights of Nature Tribunal provides that “the convention may be signed by representatives of a nation, tribe or other traditional group of indigenous peoples, any organisation that wishes to promote the effective implementation of the rights and duties in the Earth Rights Declaration in respect of a specific geographical area or areas, or any specific being such as a river, or species; or any local community”. This means that you can endorse the international tribunal in your personal capacity and c an lobby organisations and communities to become signatories to a Peoples’ Conven­ tion that will formally establish the Tribunal (see this link: http://therightsofnature.org/ letter-of-commitment-tribunal).

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In Paris on the 4th and 5th of December 2015, the International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature were scheduled to hear a wide range of environmental legal cases covering issues such as megadams in the Amazon, mining, oil and gas exploitation, responses to climate change that further commodify nature, as well as attacks on those who defend their part of the earth. The Tribunal judges are highly experienced and respected individuals from many conti­ nents and, as such, they represent many cultures (including indigenous people) who base their decisions on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth which was adopted on 22 April 2010. This is our unique opportunity to unite with people and organisations around the world to start creating a world that focuses on regener­ ation of the Earth’s resources and people. Endorsement by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu “Successfully addressing climate change and healing the damage which industrial civilisations have done to Earth will require more than new technologies and market mechanisms. It will require a fundamental transformation of our relationships with Nature.  We are not the masters of Earth, entitled to dominate and exploit her ‘natural resources’ for our own selfish ends, but privileged participants in a wondrous and sacred community of life. Bringing about this transformation and c re a t i n g v i a b l e human communi­ ties that live h a r­­m o n­i o u s l y within the Earth community will require committed and concerted action. The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

R. Buckminster Fuller

calls upon each of us to embrace our kinship with all the beings of the Earth community and to recognise, respect and defend the rights of all. Now is the time to answer that call.”


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LIVEWELL

I love Vintage Jewellery We spotted this range of beautiful, once-off jewellery pieces on the Garden Route and fell in love with the vintage coin pendants. Made from coins no longer in use, they are cut, shaped and combined with yellow copper or silver to create these elegant – yet quirky – conversation starters. The designer, Brendan Marx, plays around with different materials to create conceptual pieces that speak of environmental awareness and living in harmony with nature. Other pieces in the range include up-cycled wooden pendants made from furniture off-cuts. The weatherinspired Rhodesian Teak umbrella is one of our favourites! Prices range from R250-R450. To order or find out more, e-mail myvintagelove1@gmail.com

Product SHOWCASE BY Grethe Matteus

Solar Dynamo Radio A great addition to your camping kit, the Solar Dynamo Powered AM/FM Radio can also be powered by hand crank or external USB adapter. It will lock and store your favourite station and also includes an emergency alarm, mobile phone charger and a flashlight. You can play your tunes from a 2.0 U disc or an SD card, and the radio has a built-in 1000ma rechargeable lithium battery. Priced at R470, the Solar Dynamo Radio is available from www.theecogreenshop.co.za

Über Flavour Brew Iced Tea In the heat of summer, this über-fashionable iced tea is just the thing to have in the fridge! The hipster friendly beer bottle-like design ups this natural brew’s cool factor… and with flavours like honey & lemon, mango & vanilla and apple & cinnamon, you’ll be sure to ENJOY THAT FEELING. Über Flavour Brews are made from all-natural ingredients. Strongly brewed Rooibos tea is combined with freshly squeezed juices to give you a glass full of smooth and subtle tastes – crafted the way only nature can! The wonder of this is also that, because there are no chemicals added, your favourite flavour will sometimes taste a tad different, depending on the season. This caffeine- and sugar-free drink is rich in antioxidants and can only accurately be described as the true taste of “Umami”. To find out what that means, you will have to pop one for yourself! Find a supplier near you or learn more at www.uberflavour.com. Earthsap Toothpaste For those of us who just can’t get our recipe for homemade toothpaste down, Earthsap has come to the rescue. 100% biodegradable (and containing no harmful chemicals), the Earthsap toothpaste is available in two flavours: Tea Tree, Mint & Herbs and Peppermint & Baking Soda. Earthsap has over 20 years of experience in manufacturing environmentally friendly cleaners and cosmetics. Products are formulated with micro-biologists and only pure essential oils are used for fragrance and therapeutic benefits. All products are safe for your family, as well as for pets and environment. They do not harm aquatic life and will not affect marine plant growth. Earthsap’s toothpaste is priced at R19.95 for 250ml. Stockists include Wellness warehouse, selected health shops and online at www.faithful-to-nature.co.za or www.earthsap.co.za. For further info email Info@earthsap.co.za


LIVEWELL Africa Organics Baobab Shampoo One of the best sulphate-free shampoos we have tried, Africa Organics Baobab Shampoo is a perfect allround shampoo for dry hair and can be used as a 2-in-1 shampoo for normal hair. 100% of the ingredients are from natural origin and 98% of the vegetable ingredients are from Organic Farming. The product is also Natural and Organic Cosmetic certified by Ecocert Greenlife. The fresh and subtle scent is soothing after a long day and the shampoo creates a good lather, with Baobab fruit and Inulin acting as natural conditioners, while Marula oil seals damaged hair and locks in moisture. Other beneficial ingredients include Rooibos leaf extract, Aloe Vera leaf gel and orange peal oil. The Africa Organics range is available at Dis-Chem and health stores. To find out more, visit www.africaorganics.co.za.

Bio Oleos de Miombo (BOM) Solid Perfume The warm fragrance of Clove & Sandalwood, tropical Jasmine & Coconut, fresh Lemongrass & Basil and earthy Bergamot & Thyme, is captured in Bio Oleas de Miombo (BOM) beautiful pock-sized solid perfumes. Made from unique blends of virgin and essential oils, BOM oils are cold-pressed, guaranteeing that the nutritive benefits inherent to the specially selected local oils from the Miombo biome in Mozambique are never compromised. Community harvesters receive extensive training in seed quality control and sustainable harvesting techniques, while community nurseries grow seedlings and reforest the Miombo biome, one tree at a time. This story of commitment towards sustainability is paired perfectly with the lovely, hand-turned and engraved Rosewood containers to make this a unique product that tells of true social and environmental responsibility. Available at health shops and online at www.biooleos.com.

Baobab Powder The Baobab is without a doubt one of the most beautiful trees on our continent, but few people know of the important contribution these majestic giants make to the livelihood of many Africans – traditionally for food, fibre and medicine, but more recently through the growing global trade in baobab powder and oil. Baobab powder is the ‘pulp’ of baobab fruit and is naturally dry. This makes it easy to extract and package. EcoProducts offers us a powder that has not undergone any further refinement or processing and has no additives. This 100% pure baobab powder provides a much needed boost for health and vitality this winter, being rich in Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, B-complex vitamins and antioxidants. The powder can be used as a health supplement and as a food ingredient. It is also a natural source of dietary fibres, minerals and is gluten free. Products are available online or from selected health stores and pharmacies. For more information, visit www.ecoproducts.co.za.

Beloved Body Oil from Eli & you One of our best winter finds – Eli & you aromatic Beloved Bath Oil makes you feel and smell like you just stepped out of a spa session. A careful selection of oils (including jojoba, rosehip, avocado and sweet almond) nurtures your skin with the perfect blend of antioxidants, vitamins and natural essential fatty acids. With a passion for purity, Eli & you lovingly crafted this pure, potent and rich oil that doubles up as a bath oil, moisturiser and massage oil. A list of yummy-for-your-skin ingredients includes calendula petals infused in organic sunflower oil, lavender, frankincense, sandalwood and neroli essential oil and olive leaf infused in organic, extra virgin olive oil. Carrot seed oil (rich in carotenoids) is added to the mix to help decrease skin damage from ultraviolet exposure. It also has great anti-aging abilities by rejuvenating skin cells and stimulating new skin growth. Helichrysum essential oil rounds off this powerhouse of ingredients with its remarkable skinrejuvenating and healing properties. To order online or to find out more, visit www.eliandyou.co.za

Soylites Rainbow Rocks Eco Crayons A fun and handmade South African first – Soylites’ new Rainbow Rocks Eco Crayons are made with a 100% vegetable base and certified food grade and cosmetic grade pigments. These creativity sparkers are completely non-toxic and biodegradable. Parents and children alike will have hours of arty energy with the softer, pastel-like, texture of the crayon and round flower shape that allows for more variation in drawing strokes. The crayon design may also help to enhance fine motor skills in smaller children. Rainbow Rocks Eco Crayons are available in nine bold colours, are very durable and subtly scented, with pure lavender essential oil to enhance the senses and calm the mind while the kiddies are creating their masterpieces. Order online from www.soylites.co.za for R98. Like them on Facebook or phone 076 632 1973.


GREENSHELF

Books etc.

Among our selection of books for this edition is the biography of South African-born entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is redefining business. Gardening for Butterflies will show you what to plant to attract the pollinators, and for those who love to leave home to explore the lesser-known parts of our country, there’s a great guide to 100 of Southern Africa’s best kept outdoor secrets. REVIEWS BY Lia Labuschagne and Melissa Baird Elon Musk – How the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our future Ashlee Vance Thinking green has become not only the right thing to do but, in the right hands, also profitable. Concepts about a green economy become increasingly important for governments, in company boardrooms and even in our homes. More and more people want to drive an electric car and get off the grid by using alternative power sources. Indeed, sustainable living is increasingly THE thing to do. One person who thinks very big and aims high when it comes to sustainability (both in terms of transportation and electricity generation) is Elon Musk. And those are but two of the fields in which he is achieving remarkable success. The boy who originally came from Pretoria, where he was bullied at school, left South Africa for Canada as a teenager and, thereafter, moved on to the USA where he has become an international sensation as probably the world’s most important current entrepreneur. Ashlee Vance looks at the life thus far of the man behind PayPal (the internet payment system), SpaceX (space rockets and exploration), Tesla (electric cars) and SolarCity (solar energy). Virgin Books, ISBN 978 0 75355-563-1

Things to do in moer & gone places Jacques Marais ‘It is a feeling. It is that immaculate sense of headspace that you get when you realise that you have – against all odds in our crowded contemporary world – managed to get away from it all.’ This is how author Jacques Marais explains the colloquial South African expression ‘moer & gone’. He has found 102 of the best places in Southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique) that most fit this description. Here one can leave behind traffic noise, crowds and Wi-Fi connectivity, and find opportunities to get back in touch with Mother Nature and enjoy outdoor activities away from it all. The destinations are listed in alphabetical order, with important information about important features and how to get there, accommodation (all relevant contact details and GPS coordinates are provided), and the great reasons to visit. If you like being outdoors, include this guide when you pack your vehicle for your next great adventure. Map Studio, ISBN 978 1 770026 649-0

Gardening for Butterflies Steve Woodhall & Lindsay Gray Here is something to help us plan and plant our outdoor spaces so that they invite butterflies and moths to visit. Butterflies are a sign of a healthy garden, and this book explains how to make the adjustments that will attract these insects. The contents was planned in a way that provides one with all the background information and practical advice you need. It starts with a discussion about ecosystems and gardens as a conservation tool, and then covers 95 butterflies and moths, with descriptions and the authors’ own excellent photographs of their full life-cycles – from egg to caterpillar, pupa and butterfly. Each description includes notes about their behaviour and the plants that are most likely to attract them. The authors then provide details about how to structure a garden and include the essential elements to attract butterflies, making this a hands-on guide that will inspire gardeners to cater for fluttering beauties. Struik Nature, ISBN 978-1-77584-124-1

More Allergen-Free Recipes for the Whole Family: Sylvie Hurford, Photographs by Warren Heath You’ll get hungry just by looking at this book. The thoughtful recipes and delicious styling make the recipes come to life, and this is exactly what Sylvie Hurford (a top food stylist and food writer) hoped to achieve. Living life better was also part of the reason she compiled the recipes because, as a mother managing her children’s allergies, she wanted to create good food that helped them grow happy and healthy, and with no added extras! More is chock full of delicious yummyness, recipes that will delay your children’s exposure to the myriad chemicals found in processed food and will set-up a healthy way of eating that will benefit the whole family. It is also filled with interesting nutritional information, particularly important to young children and what they can eat for their developing immune systems. Human and Rousseau, ISBN 978-0-7981-6830-4


Fall in love with Daikin Emura.

Daikin Emura is refined on the outside and smart on the inside. Built-in intelligence and innovative features ensure low energy consumption. Its smart sensors provide optimal performances for year round comfort at home. Still, you’re always in control via the easy-to-use remote controller and the smartphone app with intuitive interface. You see... The new Daikin Emura has everything to fall in love with. For more information visit www.daikinemura.co.za or contact one of our branches for a dealer near you. Cape Town 021 528 3500 • Durban 031 263 2992 • Johannesburg 011 997 4400


TRAVEL

MANNERS & MURMURATIONS... OR How to be on your best behaviour When meeting a mob of meerkats BY Melissa Baird PHOTOS Anita George Kuhn

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’ve been on journeys to meet creatures that have taken me to extremes I would probably have avoided under ‘normal’ circumstances. Jumping into jelly fish-infested waters in Mozambique to swim with the wild dolphins. Walking through a (huge… and yellow) spidercanopied forest to catch sight of a toucan in its wild environment. So, when I received an invitation to ‘meet the meerkats’ I was utterly delighted: they live in the province in which I live… and it didn’t involve international travel. Plus, my best friend wanted to join me, as seeing meerkats in the wild was on her vision board as well as her bucket list. Two wishes we could make come true. We chose the iconic route 62 to take us all the way to the Klein Karoo and, as the Overberg region faded into the rearview mirror, the landscape changed to the short scrub that epitomises the Klein Karoo. Although I have driven this route a number of times, I felt a new sense of wonder as the scenery offered up its treasures of simple beauty. It takes about five hours from Cape Town to reach De Zeekoe. Oudtshoorn is a mere 10 minutes away from the guest farm and there are many delightful adventures to choose from for those who love hiking, cave exploring, jumping out of aeroplanes and playing in the great outdoors. I remember being put on the back of an ostrich when I was four years old (I still have the picture of a gleeful little face smothered in feathers – the ostrich looked pretty happy too) and noted that ostriches are still truly

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wild birds. We stopped alongside the road on the way to the utterly gob-smacking Cango Caves and, within a few seconds, a whole flock of curious birds came up to the fence to look at me looking at them. It was a strange moment as I realised that I may look just as odd to them as they did to me, but I didn’t want to ride them or eat them – I just admired their remarkable beaked faces and huge, glossy, long-lashed eyes. De Zeekoe is a family-run guest farm and the staff are warm and friendly, which is a great treat having just survived a five-star experience at a hotel (that shan’t be named) who had robotic staff and charged you for using the internet after checkout. Not so at De Zeekoe. The room we stayed in was gorgeous, the beds dreamy and our lookout point gave me an uninterrupted view of the setting sun and flocks of birds returning to home base. After a delicious dinner that included homemade bread and butter (and an excellent wine from their comprehensive wine list), we decided on an early night because we had to be up at dawn to meet our guide for the meerkat introduction. The Klein Karoo at dawn sounds like song­ birds singing and, as the sky changed out of its dark-hued clothes in favour of pink and tangerine swirls, I watched the blue moon (the second full moon in one month) fall back into the horizon like an iridescent lozenge and took short breaths in the ice-cold air. At breakfast I had read on one of the sugar sachets: “The miracle is not to fly in the air or to walk on the

water but to walk on the earth.” I was feeling that as I stood on the piece of earth that forms a small part of an 80-hectare conservancy that is home to about 44 families of meerkats. Rudolph – our guide for the encounter – gave us a lesson in manners (things we had to observe) in order to make our encounter with the meerkats as successful as possible. I felt like I was being briefed before an important meeting, but I was distracted by the African shelduck, thick-billed lark, Cape sparrow, malachite sunbird and scrub robin that were playing in the bushes around our tea table. There are only three other places in the world where meerkats can be observed at close quarters, but two of them charge extortionate prices and involve feeding of the animals. In Rudolph’s opinion, such practice “is a zoo act”, not an act of quiet observation. Rudolph was a treat and his knowledge of the meerkats wholly entertaining as he clarified that he was fluent in “English, Afrikaans and nonsense”. The meerkats are part of the Shy 5 group­ ing, four of which are nocturnal – the aardvark, bat-eared fox, aardwolf and porcupine. There is, however, nothing shy about the meerkats: they love to frolic in the day but, before games, you have to wait for them to emerge from their burrow. This they do one-by-one. The first meerkat to emerge (looking like a bandito) is the sentry and, without any ado, he popped his little head up over the burrow to find seated in front of him a row of humans, sitting down bundled in blankets against the bitter -3ºC

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TRAVEL

morning. Rudolph assured us that there are places colder than this, such as Steynsberg in the Greater Karoo, where the curtains freeze to the window frames. As Rudolph was reinforcing the fact that we had to be super-polite, we were given lengthy descriptions about why the meerkats are utterly not. The meerkat sentry stared into the distance as he ruminated on the possible dangers out there, his lithe little body propped up at a right angle on his little striped tail, his paws were in the reverse Namaste’ pose. Then he murmured an encouraging little sound before the next one popped up out of the burrow. These sudden appearances of the family unit took about an hour, until the whole mob stood with their tummies facing the rising sun that would serve to warm them up enough to begin a day’s foraging and gallivanting, before returning at dusk to their burrow. Rudolph shared his personal belief that their tummies act like little solar chargers and, as my frozen fingers tried to write notes, I wished that I too had some sort of device to keep me warm. Despite the elements, these extraordinary few hours of contemplation of a creature I have been curious about for years was charming, and a perpetual smile settled as I observed their charm as each in turn looked up, looked out, and looked from left to right for things we cannot see or hear. Despite their tiny size they are great excavators and can dig twice their body weight in one minute. They do not tolerate strangers, do not share their food and, despite the ‘cute quotient’, do not make for well-adjusted pets. Rudolph told us that if they were left to their own devices they could kill a puppy. Apparently, some tourists have complained about the meerkat observation. One American (with a ridiculously large

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camera) chastised Rudolph for not having ‘control’ over the animals, while one horrified Russian was furious that the animals weren’t in cages. Thankfully our group was more evolved and we were happy to sit and watch them unbound and free as the rising sun warmed us all enough to truly drink in the space. Every creature on earth has a personal space bubble and Devey – the man who has spent his time with this particular family of meerkats – noted that theirs is about 250 metres. They also have ‘selective hearing’, which is why we could talk but were forbidden to stand up – that would have taken us out of the submissive stance of the seated group. As they warmed up they began to play like kittens and their murmurations increased. I looked around at the horizon and the snowcapped mountains. At my feet was a funnelwebbed spider’s web, covered in beads of slowly melting ice.

Once warmed-up, the mob scuttled off in search of food while, for the boys, it was a chance to search for a suitable territory to lay claim to that might turn a female meerkat’s head. Yes, they do that too. What is it about the games we play that keep us together in this world, I wondered, as my friend and I thanked Rudolph for such a treat and headed off to forage for something good to eat at the hotel. We were glowing, happy and full of our own murmurations. Much later that day, as the sun was setting and she was taking pictures, two ridgeback puppies emerged from the farmhouse to playfully cause chaos, tumbling on her and licking her ears and chewing my ‘notes to self ’. I laughed at their strategic intervention, reminding us too to keep playing. To book your stay at De Zeekoe Guest Farm (and for a chance to enjoy meeting the mob), visit www.dezeekoe.co.za/oudtshoorn1.

G R E E N HOME

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FUTURELEADERS

CAREERS

BY Grethe Matteus

ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVATION

Cleaning old epoxy fills off decorative stone on the third-storey façade of a sandstone building – the conservators have covered the work area to allow them to continue their work in the rain.

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cross the world, stories of communities, cultures and religions are literally set in stone – from St Paul’s Cathedral in London, to the Colosseum and Pantheon in Rome, and even the majestic Cologne Cathedral. These structures have stood the test of time (come rain or shine) to offer us a glimpse of what can be achieved through true craftsmanship and dedication. Prolonging the life and integrity of these buildings is essential in helping us to understand the nature of history and appreciate the pathfinders that have gone before us. This labour of love to preserve the architectural character of these structures (the form, style and materials such as stone, brick and glass) is the work of the Architectural Conservator. The focus on architectural conservation grew out of a movement in the 18th and 19th centuries that responded to the Modernist architectural sentiments that favoured technology and change over traditional structures and historic building styles. Today, this is an internationally established profes­ sion where you will find a beautiful synergy between science and art at the centre. In South Africa, however, this is still a relatively new career path and the door is wide open for aspiring conservators to find their niche within this growing field. Whether you are still studying (and remain wide-eyed about the world of possibilities out there) or are already established in a career

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linking to the natural sciences, a day in the life of a conservator will bring challenges of will and strength. The nature of the work often requires extensive hours on-site working outdoors and at elevation. If you want to consider this journey then you should be reasonably strong, physically able to scale scaffolding and not be afraid of heights! You will be working closely in a team of conservators and should be ready to keep high spirits when facing the elements. Your day will start at sunrise and the removal of paint and cementitious mortars from fragile, deteriorating sandstone will form a large part of the work. If you are working in an urban environment, the stone will often require cleaning from contaminants such as soot deposits (which discolour the stone surface) or algae and moss, which not only obscure the detailing, but also cause decay. A foundation in science will be comple­ men­ted by technical ability and artistic inclin­ ation when working on the remodeling of missing stone with lime-based mortars. This will involve fine remodeling of carved detail or the replication of sculpted areas, depending on the type of building you are working on. The conservation of decorative metalwork could include iron, bronze or brass and you will be able to imagine the stories of daily life that anything from historic light fixtures to public sculptures have to tell. If this profession sounds like a fit for you, and you want to study in South Africa, then a BSc degree will be the best undergraduate preparation to begin this unique career path. A degree in architecture or engineering will also be a good foundation from which to start. Although there are currently no undergraduate courses available in South Africa for this specific field of conservation, The South African Institute for Heritage Science and Conservation has been training persons in the field of heritage conservation for 21 years. This institution will be offering a 1-year, post-graduate diploma in Technical Studies in Conservation as from February

2017. This programme will allow interested individuals to specifically train in the field of buildings conservation. If you’re interested in pursuing this line of work but aren’t enrolled in (or have completed) a BSc degree, then you will be able to enter from another field of study in the future, providing you complete a four- to five-month Chemistry for Conservators correspondence course. If you have already lost your heart on the Heritage sector and want to focus on pursuing the broader world of conservation, then the Higher Certificate in Heritage Studies may be a good gateway option to consider. Sol Plaatje University in Kimberley is currently offering this 1-year certificate. We asked Hazel Botha (the Head of Conservation at The South African Institute for Heritage Science and Conservation), to share her view of the heart and motivation needed to succeed in this profession: “Mostly the conservator will take pleasure in the ‘rescuing’ of old and beautiful buildings or installations, such a monu­ments and public water fountains. What­ever the material, the satisfaction is in standing back at the end of a project, having worked hard with the team and against the elements, and appreciating the conserved result.” Read more • Higher Certificate in Heritage Studies at Sol Plaatje University: www.spu.ac.za • The South African Institute for Heritage Science and Conservation is currently final­ ising a Chemistry for Conservators bridging course, which will be a 4-month, distance study programme: www.sainst.org • One of the options available for a corres­pon­ dence course in Chemistry for Conservators can be found at: www.academicprojects. co.uk/distance-learning.php A special thank you to Hazel Botha (Head of Conservation) and Dr Christian Dreyer (Programme Director) at The South African Institute for Heritage Science and Conser­vation, for their time in assisting with infor­­mation for this article.

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FUTURELEADERS

YOUTH & ENTREPRENEURSHIP

W

e look at three inspiring stories of local ladies tackling some serious issues in fun and innovative ways. Whether enabling better education through solar power, helping families to become more environmentally friendly, or enabling the leaders of tomorrow through workshops and mentorship, we are excited by the passion and drive for change that these women display! The reason we celebrate Women’s Month in South Africa is to commemorate the 20 000 women who marched to the Union Building on 9 August 1956, in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. In 2015 the theme for the celebration was “Women United in Moving South Africa Forward”, and these three stories are true testimonies of taking action in moving our rainbow nation further along the path in unique ways. Christine Buchanan and Louiza Rademan, winners of the Standard Bank Think Big Challenge 2014, started their organic skincare range, Oh-lief, with just the ingredients in their own kitchen. Now being sold everywhere from Namibia and Zambia to France and Germany, the business started as a sideline project and originally grew out of their own need for ethical baby products. Heading off to community markets helped them to test the waters and develop a customer-focused product range based on hours of in-person marketing and market research. This visionary sister duo ultimately recognised the tipping point and made the decision to quit their day jobs and follow their dream of bringing 100% organic Oh-lief products to every household, not only on home soil, but all across the globe. Although Oh-lief has grown rapidly, their commitment to an ethos of 100% natural, biodegradable ingredients and “handmade

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BY Grethe Matteus

with love”, is an encouragement to any young entrepreneur that you can realise your dreams and build a successful business – while still remaining true to strong values and ethics. From soothing skin to rethinking something as simple as a kid’s schoolbag, opportunities for being the change are everywhere. The all-women business team at Rethaka (with Rea Ngwane, Thato Kgatlhanye and Tsatsi Phoshoko at the helm), is another example of passionate commitment towards finding sustainable solutions for social and environmental challenges. Children living in low-incom­e­communities in South Africa most often do not have adequate light sources by which they can do their homework, and they also face daily dangers in walking to school during early winter mornings. Finding a solution for this far-reaching problem may seem overwhelming, but this dynamic group of ladies have combined innovative recycling with solar power to address this problem through the fun, colourful and effective Repurpose Schoolbag. The bag is eco-friendly, durable and waterproof as it is made from 100% recycled plastic bags. Retro-reflective strips are incorporated into the design to contribute towards children’s visibility on their route to school. Fitted onto the bag is a removable solar light which charges during the day and can be removed at night, then screwed onto a Consol jar to serve as a light for doing homework during the evening. The light source lasts for up to 12 hours and also reduces the risk of fire and pollution caused by kerosene lamps. These green innovators are truly redefining societal problems into solutions, while playfully bringing about far-reaching social impacts. A testimony of their creative drive is the OFFCUTSMESH™ band that is

a signature element of their designs, and is made entirely from their production off-cuts. In their own words, they demand “ethical imagination” where they are feeding a revolution to “have the arrogance to see the world the way you want it and have the humility to see it through”. One of the keys to realising the world that we want to see is through investing in the leaders of tomorrow. Through mentorship, training and workshops, 18twenty8 are empowering young women by strategically enabling their educational and personal development. Not only is the organisation a partner in the 11th annual Top Women Awards, but founder Refiloe Seseane has recently been honoured as a beneficiary of the Elizabeth Arden ‘Make A Visible Difference’ campaign for her inspired work leading to grassroots change in marginalised communities. One of the aspects of 18twenty8’s work that we are most excited about is the Green Girls Workshops, in which Grade 11 and 12 girls are educated on topics like urban environmental awareness and conservation, recycling, climate change basics and reducing their carbon footprint. They are also facilitated to start school clean-up campaigns and given exposure to the career opportunities in the developing green economy. These are just three of the numerous South African women driving positive social change through entrepreneurship and active citizenship. Stories of creative change agents are truly all around, inspiring the youth of today to bloom into engaged leaders of tomorrow. To read more, visit these websites: • www.ohlief.com • www.repurposeschoolbags.com • www.18twenty8.org

G R E E N HOME

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ADVERTORIAL

CALCIUM, CONSTIPATION AND YOU D

o you take calcium supplements? Is constipation your constant, uncomfor­ table companion? You’re not alone. Many people taking calcium supplements complain of blocked digestive systems. There’s little research to explain the connection, say medical researchers, but it’s thought that the type of calcium you take plays a role. Calcium carbonate is rock based – you can understand why this form causes constipation. Calcium citrate is plant based – it’s easier to absorb and less likely to disrupt your digestion. Then there’s the calcium that the Flora Force team has used to create DensiMAX™. It’s extracted from the red seaweed Lithothamnium calcarium, which grows in the chilly waters of Ireland and Iceland. This powerhouse source of calcium, minerals and trace elements is sustainably harvested to create the formula called Aquamin®*, the prime ingredient in DensiMAX™. The calcium in DensiMAX™ with Aquamin®* is conveyed directly to the bones. People with joint and bone pain report reducing their intake of painkillers, which often cause digestive upsets, when taking Aquamin®. And that’s good news if you’re suffering with constipation. Find out more about Flora Force DensiMAX™ at www.densimax.com. *Aquamin® is a registered trademark of Marigot Ltd. It is non-GMO, FDA GRAS, Kosher and Halaal approved, HACC and ISO-certified and Organic Trust-listed. For more information, go to www.aquamin.org

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SPORT

CYCLING MOUNT GRACE BY Gordon Brown

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f it’s true that mountain biking is the new golf, then Mount Grace is the new golf resort to visit! This beautiful mountain biking resort is based just an hour from Johannesburg and Pretoria. It is the most beautiful setting to wizz out of the city to the foothills of the Magaliesberg for a weekend of bike riding… and complete relaxation. Having recently spent time at the Mount Grace Country House, I was reminded of golf resorts, the pristine gardens, set in a thicket and nestled in the Magaliesberg Mountains. The golf carts run you back and forth from your room to either the reception area or the restaurant. The rooms are exquisite – far larger than most upmarket hotels – and set among the trees, with the entrance under a canopy and the veranda looking out over the foliage and the distant hills. The area is beset with riding options and is just around the corner from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and the Magaliesberg mountains, with district roads connecting everything. You could easily plot a 100km ride interspersed with world-class trails

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while putting yourself in the midst of ancient history, discoveries and nature. However, the Mount Grace home trails are the highlight! Only 12.5km for now (but expanding) and with a vision to build as much as 45km of trail in the near future. With the surrounding farmlands and with access to these indigenous roads, a 50km to 60km trail is easy to put together according to the General Manager, Anton Meiring. The Trail Building Manager, Gavin Pelser, comes with a strong trail building pedigree and, along with his team of trail builders, spends his days maintaining, upgrading and expanding the track – almost like a resident greenkeeper. Gavin has set about creating a world-class trail network which takes you along and around the slopes that surround the hotel. There are tough climbs at the beginning to get your heart-rate up, which include a number of switchback sections reminiscent of some of the country’s toughest mountain ascents. Once over the top there is a section around the back of the hill that takes you around a field before working its way back up and onto the hill overlooking the hotel.

From here it’s simply heaven and (thanks to the excellent trail building) the descent back down through thick bush to the clubhouse is superfast. So fast you don’t really have a moment to appreciate the natural beauty of the place (or the awesome wooden bridges and bush tunnels) as you rail the berms, cleverly crafted in order to keep up your momentum as well as to intrigue you. Once you’ve shot that section, the ride back around for a second go at the course is sweet suffering indeed. You finish up at the ‘clubhouse’ (where the facilities are also somewhat golfesque), which boasts a sizeable restaurant and immaculate rolling lawns outside. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a cold recovery drink (a beer in my case). Few trails have such a fine ending, with the only downside being the tough climb back up to the hotel. Then again, we bikers do enjoy a good ascent, so even that is a blessing. If you love biking, love nature and life – you will love this place.

G R E E N HOME

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C eramic W holesaler

Our advice and site appraisals For All Your Imported Tiles, Mosaics & Sanitary Ware Requirements are free as we value the potential investment made with us to improve Full turn-key landscaping services include: your home. Artificial turf supply and installation • Decking supply and installation • Plant selection and Tel: (012) 329 0488 Fax: (012) 329 0543 303 Voortrekker & Flower Road, Gezina Project Management or Stand-alone garden/area layout design • Carpentry (bespoke wooden/metal furniture) • Jacuzzi installations E-mailinstallation : sales@ceramicwholesaler.co.za http://www.ceramicwholesaler.co.za services are also available and refurbishments • Non-structural building works • Painting and waterproofing • Paving to clients who wish to supply (brick, large pavers, etc) • Irrigation systems • Outdoor decorative and functional lighting. their own materials and costs are Now withbased Roof calculated on Tiles scope ofToo~ works and technical requirements.

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303 Voortrekker & Flower Road, Gezina http://www.ceramicwholesaler.co.za

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18/09/2014 14:14


ENERGY

RENEWABLE

ENERGY UPDATE

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James Green (Chairman: SESSA Solar Water Heating), explains why it makes sense (and cents) to opt for solar water heaters.

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he solar water heating rebates introduced in 2008 ended in April 2015… and whether they will return is a matter of debate within both the industry and among consumers. The electricity landscape has changed markedly over the last seven years with the steep increase in tariffs. Projected savings through solar water heating show that, over the next five years (assuming a modest annual tariff increase of 8.5%), one will achieve, in Rand terms, as big a saving – or, indeed, even more – as you would have if you had invested in a solar water heating system at any time during which the rebate was available. Electricity costs Let’s look at a few facts as to why and how solar water heating should now be approached. The cost of electricity has gone up by 100% since 2008, and energy efficiency is now more relevant than ever before. Over the next five years it is likely that the kWh price will increase by another 50% or more. Choosing a solar water heater – the research steps Choosing a solar water heater is quite daunting. It sounds like a great idea, but do you know what you are actually going to get? Unfortunately, it is not as simple as comparing an LED bulb with a 6 Watt rating, giving the same light output (measured in lumens) as a 60 Watt incandescent bulb. Here you can easily work out that you are saving 44 Watts per hour for the same energy service. When it comes to solar water heating, you need to have some understanding of how much electricity you are using in heating water by electricity. Then you can determine which solar water heater is going to meet your energy savings needs and which represents the best value for money. A couple of simple, basic facts will make it easier to make this decision: –– For every 36 litres of hot water out of a shower at 40 °C, the temperature most of us feel comfortable showering at, you will use 1 kWh of electricity (calculated

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using formulas that take the specific heat capacity of water and average municipal cold water temperatures into account). Most showers use 16-20 litres per minute, so a five-minute shower will use between 90 and 100 litres of hot water at 40°C.  Dividing 90 litres by 36 litres gives you 2.5 kWh… and, at 100 litres, 2.77 kWh. With four people in the home all showering for five minutes once a day, the energy used amounts to 10kWh at 16 litres per minute, or 11.11 kWh at 20 litres per minute. Using an average kWh cost including VAT of R1,85 in 2015, that accounts for an amount on the electricity bill of R564 to R627 per month respectively.  However, it all depends on lifestyle… Hot water use monitoring shows that hot water use at 40°C ranges from 130 litres per person per day to as high as 220 litres per person per day (depending on seasons, regional variations and lifestyle).  To put that in perspective, for a four person home (at a tariff of R1.85 per kWh), 130 litres of hot water usage per person per day will cost R815 per month – while 220 litres per day will cost R1 378 per month.

How much hot water do you use in your home? A simple exercise is to add up all the minutes your family members spend in the shower in a 24-hour period. We suggest you do three different sample days and average the result. Then multiply the minutes by either 16 litres for conservative hot water use, or 20 litres for generous hot water use. Take the total and divide by 36 to get the kWh consumption. The graph below offers a quick illustration  Having chosen the output of the SWH in deemed kWh savings per day, you can also

do an easy analysis of value for money. Two simple exercises are: –– Take the deemed kWh output per day and multiply that by your cost per kWh from Eskom or your municipality. That will give you a Rand figure of savings per day. Divide that into the installed cost of the solar water heating system to get the payback point (or break-even point) on your investment in days. –– Calculate your savings over a number of years. Take the daily Rand savings on the system for Year 1 (multiply by 365), then add it to Year 2, having increased the savings by inflation (8% is a conservative figure). Repeat this over future years.  –– REBATES – NOT THE REASON TO GO SOLAR. –– So, finally, back to the question of rebates. Does it still make sense to go solar without rebates? The answer is a resounding YES! –– To illustrate this: If you had bought a 150l SWH in 2008 with an output of 7,5kWh per day, you would have saved approx. R22,000 over five years, including the rebate.  –– If you had bought the same system in 2014 it would save you R33,400 over five years, including the rebate.  –– If you bought the same system today (without the rebate) it would save you R30,000 over five years. So, even without the rebate, it still makes total sense to go solar and, indeed, every year the price of electricity increase, which makes even more sense.

Did you k now? There are so me 2,400 electricity tariffs in SA . A price pe r kWh of R 1,85 is chosen fo r 2015-16, but it will be h igher in are a s such as Ca pe Town.

Value for – Which SystemSystem You are Considering? Value forMoney Money – Which You are Considering Having chosen the output of the SWH in deemed kWh savings per day

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you can also do an easy analysis of value for money. 2 simple exercises G R E E N HOME are:

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KNOW IT

SUGAR BY Melissa Baird

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n the last issue of Green Home magazine I ran a review of a book that offers an 8-week programme to kick the sugar and carb habit. I never believed I would write about this issue as if I was writing about the highest form of drug addiction (pun intended), however, the more I research the more it points to the road that high intakes of sugar will lead to severe health impacts further down the line. I watch friends feed their children endless amounts of sugar and then watch how, as a result, their children turn into little monsters. It’s not hard to predict that in less than five years sugar will be as demonised as the tobacco industry. However, as all smokers can testify, even if you are aware of the health risks it does not necessarily make giving up the habit easier in any way. Addiction is addiction and, unless one has a steely resolve and is able to change one’s mind about an entrenched habit, then sugar will remain on the ‘fix’ list. Sugar is found in pretty much every prepared food on the market, as well as in certain health products, fruit juices and sauces. If you don’t routinely read food labels then you will be unaware of just how much sugar actually dominates the ingredient list. The South African sugar industry is responsible for many jobs and the viewpoint held by this country’s largest sugar producer is somewhat guarded with reference to sugar use as part of a ‘balanced diet’. However, due to the amounts of sugar hidden in food products that are ‘healthy’ options (like snack bars, cereals and yoghurt), it is certainly up to the consumer to work out just how much

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sugar they are consuming per day. The main ingredient in a product appears first on a food label and I have been surprised to note how often sugar leads on the label, ironically above what I would term ‘real food’. According to a leading sugar producer, even though there is a growing body of evidence proving the links between sugar and diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, as well as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, they are still saying that these reports are “unbalanced and scientifically inaccurate” and that “eminent bodies such as the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agricultural Organisation agree that sugar, like other carbohydrate-containing foods, has an indispensable role to play in balanced diets”. There is a growing body of evidence that proves the very opposite of this claim and, as in the days when doctors were paid to tell the public that smoking was good for us, I would view these blanket statements with a degree of scepticism. The most sensible thing to do is to educate yourself about what the sugar content is of the foods you choose to eat.

Did you know?

Did you know? Excessive sugar intake leads to Type 2 Diabetes, which is linked to being obese. If you are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes then you can look forward to a lifespan that is potentially reduced by six years. But it is avoidable. High levels of blood sugar are linked to dementia, the fastest-growing mental illness in the developed world. Source: Agnes Flöel, a neurologist at Charité

Not sure about this

Sugar rush: There are 108 grams of sugar in a litre of Coke (around 26 teaspoons of sugar). According to a 2011 study by Euromonitor International, South Africans purchased on average 66 litres of carbonated soft drinks per person in 2011, ranking us 27th in the world. The United States is ranked first — the average American bought a staggering 170 litres of soda in 2011. (http://slate. me/1EwTW49) Germany is the second-most sugar-loving nation in the world, and they eat roughly 103 grams on average per day. The average South African consumes 41.5 grams, while the average Indian consumes a mere 5.1 grams of sugar per day. (http://wapo.st/1LmbMhU) Sweet tooth: 44% of South Africans surveyed said they used between 3 and 5 teaspoons of sugar and 29% used 6 or more teaspoons of sugar. (AMPS2014B) Safe estimates are to use no more than 5 teaspoons of sugar per day (7 for adult males).

Watch more: That Sugar Film is one man’s journey to discover the truth about sugar and documents concerning the effects of excessive sugar intake on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as ‘healthy’. You can download a free ebook with amazing sugar-free and carb-free recipes to help get off the white stuff. www.thatsugarfilm.com

www.greenhomemagazine.co.za


Green Home Magazine Issue 23  

Green Home Magazine

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