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HOME Issue 24 R29.00 incl VAT 9 772223 540014 05024



This is not a brick. It is a Smarter Brick. • • • • • •

Fire-, water- and bulletproof Less water used Sustainable growth Thermally efficient A third of the carbon footprint 3 – 5 x stronger than hollow concrete blocks

An innovation in quality, sustainable building materials We all understand that rapid urbanisation creates a number of problems for the economy and our environment. How often do you see massive piles of soil and rubble being scoured from the earth to make way for new houses and developments? What do you think happens to all this material? Well, the simple reality is that it needs to move to make space for the houses. So we load it onto trucks - that clog up our highways - travelling many kilometres to be dumped in an expensive hole called a landfill site. We also travel hundreds of kilometres away just to mine sand and aggregates from our rivers – destroying biodiversity and our precious water resources – only to lug it all the way back to be made into building materials. It goes without saying, we have to change the way we do things. The question is can we use innovation to turn this waste into opportunities and solutions? USE-IT – the Durban-based multi-award winning Non-Profit Organisation has discovered an answer that makes use of innovation in the waste sector to unlock the Green Economy. Chris Whyte, Managing Director of USE-IT, puts it into perspective: “Over the last 6 years we have helped create over 2300 jobs by unlocking the value in less than 1% of the city’s waste. We’ve hardly even scratched the surface of the opportunities available. With funding from eThekwini Municipality we have saved the city more than 4.5 times their investment just in landfill diversion and leveraged more than 11 times that amount in additional funding for project development and job creation.” USE-IT’s flagship innovative project development is the Rambrick TM – a compressed earth block made from waste soil and builders’ rubble destined for the landfill. As an organisation USE-IT believes their innovative Rambrick™ is part of the solution to some of the country’s most dire problems.

Rambrick is rated a 5-star EcoStandard© product

So what’s the problem? • LANDFILL – In South Africa we spend R25 billion yearly landfilling 108 million tons of waste. More than 30% of this is inert soil and rubble. • HOUSING – The housing backlog is around 2.3 million units. Housing delivery has dropped by 25% in the past 5 years. We build less than 2% of the backlog required yearly and yet the backlog increases by more than 4% per year. • UNEMPLOYMENT – Currently standing at a rate of 25% in South Africa and can almost be doubled if we include discouraged job-seekers and those living on State benefits. • CLIMATE CHANGE – More than 1/3 of carbon emissions causing global warming emanate from the built environment, yet we still use energy-intensive “conventional” materials. Here’s the solution The Rambrick™ “smarter bricks” system diverts specific landfill and, through skills development and job-creation, converts it into various housing products- with 1/3 less carbon footprint than conventional materials! So we save on LANDFILL by coverting it to quality HOUSING, creating EMPLOYMENT and combating CLIMATE CHANGE. It’s a four-in-one solution… The RamBrick™ “smarter bricks” is the only 5-star fully certified EcoStandard building system (Agrément, NHBRC, SABS and CIDB compliant) in Africa. The Rambrick™ is also 15 to 45% cheaper, 3 to 5 times stronger, 3 times more thermally efficient, bulletproof, waterproof, soundproof and eco-friendly saving 1/2 a ton of Carbon per square metre built. If you’re ready to move into innovative, sustainable building, find out more at

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Dear Reader, It gives us great pleasure to bring you this issue of GHM, as hence forth the magazine seeks, somewhat exclusively, to bring you inspiration, design, and instruction on residential green building. This focus enables GHM to be architectural in concept and more technical in content, seeking to influence the residential building project decision maker, be you the owner, architect, project manager or contractor. To reach you more effectively we have sought affiliation with key organisations through which distribution to key readers is made simpler, such as the South African Institute of Architects, Institute of Interior Design Professionals; KSA, SAIL and SAWLFA. This issue we feature green home tech innovations, green home feature House Alectrix by Darryl Croome Architects, the green housing system by Green House Architects, and focus in on kitchens, insulation, and flooring. Please write to us and give us your feedback on our articles. If you’ve recently commissioned or designed a cool green home, please reach out as we may wish to feature the house in an up coming issue. Equally if you have great green products and technologies to help our readers reduce the impacts of their homes, please write to us and we may publish same either in the Magazine or online. Yours faithfully,


Use of Sustainable Paper Alive2green is committed to using sustainable paper and printing products and services, and to this end Alive2green prints with a black womanowned printer, FA Print. FA Print prints alive2green publications on paper supplied to it by an FSC certified supplier. FA Print is taking steps to become FSC certified at which point this publication will become entitled to carry the FSC logo.

Green Home magazine is audited by the ABC

EDITOR Gordon Brown DIVISIONAL HEAD OF SALES Annie Pieters SALES EXECUTIVES Robin Temmers, Jacques Gerber, Elna Willemse, Esther Kabaso, Zaida Yon PROJECT MANAGER Gerhardt Burger CLIENT LIAISON OFFICERS Natasha Keyster MARKETING MANAGER Nabilah Hassen-Bardien DESIGNER Tariq Cassim EDITORIAL DIRECTORS Gordon Brown, Lloyd Macfarlane, Andrew Fehrsen ACCOUNTS AND ADMINISTRATION Chevonne Ismail WEBSITE PHYSICAL ADDRESS Cape Media House, 28 Main Rd, Rondebosch. TEL: 021 447 4733 FAX: 086 694 7443 COMPANY REGISTRATION NUMBER 2006/206388/23 VAT NUMBER 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. IMAGES AND DIAGRAMS 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. DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Edward MacDonald, ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES PRINTER FA Print PUBLISHER



APR / MAY 2016














WORKING FROM THE BOTTOM UP Green home flooring


CREATING A GREEN KITCHEN Everything you need to know




ENERGY FEATURE Architectural conservation.




ocated in the heart of Hout Bay valley, this small, predominantly West facing site offered its challenges, not only in relation to environmental considerations due to orientation, but in the planning of spatial requirements on a compact site. The house, which doubles up as an office space, offers unique spatial flexibility



and was conceived as a simplistic form suspended over a base. Central to the design is a courtyard, which feeds the adjacent internal spaces with natural light, ventilation and views. The courtyard is pivotal to the layout, designed to transition all seasons. Glass sliding doors disappear entirely into concealed ‘pockets’ to create a versatile

indoor-outdoor flow, maximising the use of the internal spaces. Fundamental to the architecture is its raw simplicity in materiality, bringing truth to materials echoing the clients need for an “honest building”. This outlook complements the calm, minimalist spaces, reflected at a more intricate level of detail. The warm



Alectrix oak flooring and joinery are in rich contrast to the raw off-shutter concrete soffits and plastered walls. Interior landscape elements highlight focal zones within the design such as in the central courtyard, and through the use of a green wall in the reception area. This serves to increase oxygen levels in the building, adding to one’s

experience of the space and symbolising the ‘green’ approach to the project. Mirroring this, exterior landscaping comprises an indigenous plant palette complementing the architecture and ideals of the house design, with low maintenance and low water requirements. Attenuating storm water on site was important to the

client, hence a 6000 litre ‘JoJo’ underground storage tank was installed. Fed from the roof, this reduces Alectrix’s dependence on mains water supply for irrigation. Approaching the design intent on a larger scale, an alternative construction method was adopted with regards to the building envelope. The building is viewed as a ‘cooler box’, both in









form and in relation to thermal insulation. In principle, a cooler box minimises conduction by means of insulators. Materials usually used in coolers are poor heat conductors owing to the small air pockets trapped inside, such as Expanded Polystyrene. This material consists of 98% air thus offering excellent insulation properties which are maintained throughout the products working life. This is the key component in the construction method used for Alectrix – commonly known as the Aruba construction system. The Aruba construction system could very easily be mistaken for a fully fledged game of “Lego”. It comprises modular Expanded Polystyrene blocks which interlock to create a permanent formwork. The monolithic concrete infill of this formwork sees the walls

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cemented in place resulting in an “Insulated Concrete Form” construction. Not only is this method fast and costeffective thus reducing time on site; but the end result has the added benefit of exceptional thermal insulation and acoustic properties. The concrete core awards the system its heat absorbing capabilities through “thermal mass”. This attribute coupled with the insulating properties of the Expanded Polystyrene gives Alectrix a much more balanced even temperature throughout a 24 hour period compared to the average house. The end result is an estimated 30-40% saving in energy used to heat or cool the space. In terms of the Aruba system’s acoustic benefits, noise pollution from outside is drastically reduced. Approximately only 17% as much sound gets through the system compared with other forms of construction. The end result is a quiet and thermally comfortable space which is essential not just to a home but particularly in the case of Alectrix – a productive work environment. Initially it was a concern whether the design and the implementation thereof could become limited when using such a system but it proved anything but. The playful manner in which the blocks interlock and their lightweight character encourages creativity in architectural design and provide for incredibly simple handling and execution. As a result, less




skilled labour is required than for conventional construction which not only comes at a saved cost for the client, but helps support the local economy through employment. This construction method, together with architectural sun control measures, provide for thermally controlled spaces. Extremely low energy requirements have been achieved for lighting, heating and cooling owing to the use of LED light fittings, roof mounted photovoltaic (PV) panels, and hot water produced by a heat pump. House Alectrix’s sixteen PV panels convert solar radiation to electricity and are installed with a total capacity of 4.2KW peak. The total electricity generation in the last 18 months has been 13200kWh which amounts to approximately R24000 saved in electricity costs. Integrated with the PV installation is a large UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) with a rating of 10kW, storing the newly generated electricity in batteries with a capacity of 1000Ah running at 48V (a total storage capacity of 50kWh). With this integrated system in place at Alectrix, it is only necessary to connect to the grid to boost charge the batteries once a week during summer. The high thermal performance of the building envelope is also a factor in reducing electricity demands for the house. In order to fully understand the heating and cooling requirements of the design, an extensive 3D




thermal study was carried out. This was realised using the ‘Design Builder’ software by a Swiss engineer, Raimund Neubauer. Results indicated for instance how in relation to solar gain in this project, the effect of external shading resulted in greater thermal savings than the use of double glazing and thermally bridged window frames. Acting on these findings, shutters have been employed together with pergolas to temper the heat gain and low sun angles experienced on the West aspect. Taking note from the Aruba system in



terms of effective wall insulation, additional expanded polystyrene was used at roof level and below the raft foundation/floor slab. This substantially advanced the thermal performance of the building. House Alectrix demonstrates a responsible approach to climate change and a move towards independence from the grid. The ‘green’ technology used, the client’s sustainable needs and DCA’s design values resulted in a unique intuitive design. In essence, it is 21st Century luxury living, favouring comfort and ease of over stoic high consumption houses.

Darryl Croome Architects is well known for its luxury, timeless simplicity and elegant designs with a conscious approach to context. House Alectrix, in particular, turned the tables on the practice bringing the conscious aspect to the forefront, not just in terms of context, but in terms of being an environmentally responsible building. The client’s brief, together with an emphasis on a low carbon footprint and responsible living, was the driving element of the design. However, as with all good architecture it was important to merge this with DCA’s design ethos. Alectrix thus evolved out of the marriage between the two. DCA is an integrated practice that incorporates architecture and interior design. Architectural excellence, in design and execution together with a keen understanding of the commercial aspects of property developments, has placed DCA in a unique position to provide a professional service to both developers and private clients. Darryl’s extensive experience is complemented by a specialised commercial, industrial, cultural and residential professional team. Attention to detail in every aspect, including landscaping, is evident in their many published projects.



t all began with Eskom’s moratorium on the availability of power for new developments in the country. I was in my 19th year of my property career and our company had just taken transfer of a R 65mill property opportunity which was clearly going to be a challenge to convert as the proposed delay in power availability was forecast at around 5 years. In that time, I clearly had a lot of time to work out the future of the Green Housing system due to the fact that I was busy learning how to make a small fortune from a large one. At the time cost of the solar component of our housing system was exorbitant and to achieve the correct balance between the various components, the secret would lie in being able to find a way to exclude the need for heating and cooling the home by way of the introduction of an insulated housing system. If one were to need to power up under floor heating and air conditioning, then the size and price of the solar requirements of the unit just simply made the model un-marketable. And so the Green Housing system was born. To eradicate the need for under floor heating we introduced an insulated flooring system which basically prevented thermal transfer through the floor hence the floor never cooled down enough to need heating. We achieved this by introducing vermiculite, the substance used to insulate ovens from heat transfer, into the ready mix prior to pouring the raft foundation on which our housing system is based. This meant that the insulation was evenly distributed throughout the floor thereby eliminating the concern of thermal leakage in areas where the insulation had not combined. We upped the MPA on the ready mix to 35 MPA which after the introduction of the



vermiculite gave us a 25 MPA strength which is what our engineers required in order for the foundations to be structurally sound. Then came the walling system which after much research we introduced the Insulated concrete form solution, Aruba, which answered not only the insulation requirements of the building but solved many of the engineering questions at the same time. The next challenge came in how to maintain the outdoor / indoor lifestyle we as south Africans are used to and not be limited to the amount of glass used in our housing system and to achieve this we took the view to introduce the Teva double glazing

window system throughout including all windows and sliding doors in the home. This left the roofing system to consider as the final link in the chain. With the introduction of the Isotherm insulation product we achieved a completely insulated structure which was capable of a 7degree temperature range throughout the year instead of a 21-degree range as per our traditional houses as we know them. In order to further reduce the power requirements of our housing system we introduced gas for cooking, both oven and hob, heating (should you want to top up with heat ) as well as braaing because after all we are South Africans.


To power up the remainder of the home which basically involved the lighting, plugs and appliances the system required to do this was reduced to an absolute minimum and by way of the introduction of a battery backup element to the power plant the product was 100% grid independent and ready to be introduced to the market place. Then came the challenge of introducing the product to the banks and regulatory authorities so that we could offer end users bond finance and to say the least after many years of working together we can proudly say the product is bank approved and ready to be rolled out into all market sectors. With the launch of our first housing project in Noordwyk Midrand in late 2013 where the Green housing system was introduced we offered owners the choice


of either our housing system or a traditional brick and mortar product where our “ grid independent solar , gas powered house built from alternative technology “ came into the market at around R 1000.00 / Sqm more than the traditional housing system and this without the additional solar equipment required to operate the home at a grid independent capacity. The night of the launch we introduced the market to our product by way of a fully functional “off-grid “show house and the power failed in the area for a 10km radius of our development for the duration of the launch only to prove the true potential of our “housing system of the future“and of course to achieve a power outage at the launch of this product you need connections in high places or a bit of luck or both right.



GREEN HOME CHANGE IN TECHNOLOGIES AND IMPROVEMENTS ARE COMING THROUGH THICK AND FAST AND WE HAVE COMMITTED TO STAY ABREAST OF THESE IMPROVEMENTS BY CONSTANTLY REVIEWING OUR PRODUCT OFFERING Anyway, the launch was a great success and over 70% of the 52 owners in that development chose our housing system even though the price was higher and 20% of those owners going to the final phase of our product which included the off grid solar, gas solution which means owners need not even connect to the power grid in order to live in our insulated and self-powered housing system. Our next project in Waterkloof Pretoria come to the market on one of the most beautiful sites the city has to offer where we have focussed on a secure village where the development is walled and secured by way an access controlled entry system with all communal security and lighting systems being solar powered with battery back up to ensure that the complex functions both inexpensively and during power outages. The architectural design is a combination of features collected over the 23 years we have been in the development industry and is ideally suited to our lifestyles, weather patterns and of course the solar equipment needed not only to continue with our brand of housing but in many ways to improve on our original design. Being part of one of the most exciting industries in the world right now means that change in technologies and improvements are coming through thick and fast and we have committed to stay abreast of these improvements by constantly reviewing our product offering to be the best that it can be in order to offer owners the best product available at that time. “Greenhill in Waterkloof“ will allow 39 owners the opportunity to self-design their homes from around 240 Sqm in size upwards with a price range of between R3 and R6 mill dependant of the eventual land and building



size combined in either our “ Green Housing “ system or traditional brick and mortar housing as has we have been accustomed to in South Africa. The product was introduced to the market late 2015 and sales have been steady and solid with almost a third of the stands spoken for. An addition to our product offering is an optional water processing plant where all the water consumed in the home is recycled, fed back into the home indefinitely with a 30 000L of water in the system at any one time, just in case water supply is the next challenge that home owners will face in the future.

In conclusion

resource management we face in this country that change might be the only way of survival. In the set up of our housing system we focus on local technology as far as possible so not to be currency fluctuation dependant the technology we have adopted has a minimum of 10 year track record in the market and must be easily and affectively introduced into our lives without affecting our lifestyles except for keeping our hard earned rands in our pockets and our security intact. The “ Green Housing “ system can now be utilised in the entire range of housing requirements including multi-level dwellings and there is no time like the present to introduce grid independent living into the South African market place.

People do not adapt easily to change but in the current situation presented to home owners by way of the lack of planning and

For any enquires regarding the above please feel free to call Brett Petzer on 081 736 6165

INNOVATIONS Knauf Earthwool Range Global GreenTagCert™ Level A Certified glasswool thermal and acoustic unfaced insulation range with high post-consumer recycled glass content. Suitable for walls, roofs, ceilings and floors of framed or part-framed residential and commercial buildings, where the insulation remains dry during its serviceable life. The Earthwool® range of thermal and acoustic insulation materials is manufactured using recycled and with formaldehyde-free ECOSE® Technology binder which is based on rapidly renewable materials. The product contains no added phenol, formaldehyde, acrylics or artificial colours. Perceived as more comfortable to handle during construction process, due to its softness and as a result of it being odourless.

Isoboard thermal insulation board Isofoam South Africa’s (Pty) Ltd Isoboard is a thermal insulation product designed with the environment in mind. Isoboard reduces a building’s energy consumption and reduces the carbon footprint by reducing heating and cooling requirements. The product has at least a 25year lifespan and does not emit harmful substances.

USE IT’s Compressed Earth Blocks (CEB) scored a 5-star Eco Standard SA rating, the highest rating available. The Compressed Earth Blocks are manufactured using available clay-bearing soils and a blend of inert wastes such as crushed builder’s rubble as well as a small amount of cement stabiliser. CEB is a building product that embodies the principles of sustainability, the waste hierarchy and the responsible use of resources.





INNOVATIONS Composite Bamboo Decking Weather resistant, slip resistant, insect resistant, maintenance free and eco-friendly! Our composite bamboo decking is made from 60% bamboo fibres and 30% recycled plastic! Waste bamboo pulp and plastic bags make this product incredibly strong, durable, stable and green – a brilliant, cost effective alternative to the common traditional wood decks. Available in a range of colours, supply only or installed and also as DIY decking tiles for small area like bathrooms and balconies.

TECHNOply™ is a 100% synthetic woven roof underlayment offering high tear strengths, a proprietary walking surface and most important a green solution to today’s ecological building technology. TECHNOply™ is the GREEN answer to the 15# asphaltic paper.

–– Manufacturered from post industrial recycled materials –– 2.5 times lighter than 15# felt –– 25 times stronger than 15# felt –– 25 year warranty to shed water –– UV resistant for 6 months exposure time


Saint-Gobain – Gyproc Plasterboard Global GreenTagTM GBCSA Level C Certified,range of products consisting of an aerated or foamed gypsum core encased in paper liner. Gyproc plasterboards can be adapted to the requirements of different sites, by using performance boards to achieve the required thermal, acoustic or fire ratings. Suitable for use in commercial and residential projects. Gyproc RhinoBoard is a plasterboard and consists of an aerated or foamed gypsum core encased in paper liners. RhinoBoard is used as lining/cladding for ceilings, drywalls and drylining. RhinoBoard 9.5mm and thicker is non combustible and it is used as a lining in fire rated drywall and ceiling systems. RhinoBoard 6.4mm can be used for applications where no non combustible materials are required. The plasterboard ange includes Gyproc FireStop, Gyproc MoistureResistant, Gyproc SoundBloc and Gyproc DuraLine.



The Solar Cool™ system

GardenResQ Maxi 300 Grey Water System The recently launched Maxi unit is already proving to be a popular choice for homeowners with large gardens to irrigate. Ample pressure from the built in pump allows for the use of multiple sprinkler heads which can be placed in different parts of the garden, up to 30m away. The Maxi unit is connected directly to the bathroom’s outlet plumbing pipes. Water from the bath, shower and basin is thus diverted away from the sewer directly into the Garden ResQ unit where it is filtered of hair and any other debris that may have found its way down the plug. An automated pump activates when the water reaches a certain level, sending the water directly to your garden irrigation system.



SolarCool is the original and leading Solar Air Conditioning system in South Africa. “The Hotter It Gets, the Better It Works™”. Finally, there is a product available that will cool as well as heat residential, commercial and industrial buildings while allowing you to save up to 80% on electrical charges. The Solar Cool™ system is a unique patent pending solar assisted air conditioning system which incorporates a premium EER of up to 8, which are 2-3 times higher than best-in-class competitors. By reducing the power demand at peak load, Solar Cool™ is helping to reduce the need for new power plant construction and curbing greenhouse emissions. The Solar Cool™ system has a high efficiency top quality 2 stage compressor and variable speed air handler. The compressor is backed by a full 2 year warranty. The system will operate as a conventional air conditioner under any conditions. With the solar assist, the system will perform at an increased capacity, higher than any other air conditioning system available today.

RUMOCCO eco-cleaning services

E-wire lights “E-wire lights” is the brain child of Andy Horn, founder of Eco Design Architects & Consultants. These elegant features follow his ecologicallyconscious architectural work. The light shades come in three different types, are made from recycled paper, and are adjustable, interchangeable and biodegradable. The shades are then attached to the timber base with recycled stainless steel wire. Horn uses alien wood harvested at a certain moon phase where the sap is low and there are no insects in the wood. Felling at this time also means that the wood doesn’t crack and is of a high, durable quality. The wood is oiled and there is no need for chemical treatment. The base of the standing lamps and desk lamps are used metal car components such as brake discs and flywheels cleaned with a heated mix of linseed oil, beeswax and turpentine. The LED lights contain no mercury or poisonous gases. The individual components ensure that each piece is unique. The “e-wire lights” range includes: a desk lamp (umtata), a standing floor lamp (umkhulu), a pendant light (phezulu) and a chandelier (imbizo). The fittings and custom designs are made to order.

Eco Shower VX7.9L The Water Saving VX7.9L is a unique, intelligent construction, its comfort-level extensively tested and proven by two independent Scandinavian Testing Institutes to be the superior mode of shower water delivery. The VX 7.L challenges the idea of traditional showerhead construction, raising the standard through innovative design which has received world-wide recognition as the ultimate form of efficient water use. The Eco Shower VX has been tested by Eskom and is listed on their website as an Approved Energy Technology.

RUMOCCO is an Office/Commercial cleaning business entity that provides top of the class eco- cleaning services creating a dirt and dust free environment Cleaning being in our nature hence RUMOCCO eco- cleaning expertise meets excellence, that’s preserves the earth’s environment. Partnering with a company such as yours, we will provide you with services that meet your needs and shapes facilities, image, health and safety into one organ. Your company will realize more productivity, less absenteeism, happy clients and more growth for your business.

contact us FOR FREE SURVEYS and quotations No 6942 Lekhoba Crescent, Vosloorus, Boksburg 1475. South Africa PO Box 1641. Lyndhurst, 2090. Johannesburg, South Africa Contact: Moyana Lindiwe Ntimane Tel: + 27 (0) 11 0494366 • Fax: +27 (0) 86 662 2652 Cell: 074 971 5721 • Cell: 061 767 7282 Email: info@ • Email: Email:


f looring



reen flooring or eco-friendly flooring is an exciting new introduction in the sustainable flooring industry. Many factors such as durability, renewable sourcing and non-toxicity make flooring green. Although no flooring products have zero environmental impact, some materials used in flooring have more environmentally sound than others. The challenge for many industry players and consumers is determining which materials have less environmental input and longevity. There are several sustainable flooring options, ranging from bamboo flooring, carpet, cork flooring, linoleum flooring, rubber flooring, stone flooring, tile flooring and wood flooring.

Bamboo flooring, which is made from bamboo; a natural material is often said to be environmentally ambiguous since there as various environmental concerns regarding bamboo. Bamboo flooring is a popular option for flooring as it is relatively inexpensive, easily maintainable and an “ecologically friendly� option. Bamboo does not require pesticides and it is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) according to strict sustainability criteria therefore it has a low carbon footprint. Bamboo flooring is considered a durable flooring option although not as durable as wood as its durability depends on added materials and the quality of bamboo used in the flooring. The Janka Hardness Test is often used to measure and explain the durability of wood; the test is often used to determine the durability of bamboo flooring



however carbonized bamboo is one of the lowest ranking species on the test therefore diminishing its durability. One of the means use to extend the durability of bamboo flooring is using aluminium oxide which gives the flooring a durable finish nevertheless regardless of the number of coats of aluminium oxide applied to bamboo flooring it still proves to be a soft floor product versus other flooring products. One of the concerns regarding the adverse effects of bamboo flooring is that man-made adhesives are used to make bamboo flooring harder. The adhesive most commonly used in bamboo flooring is urea formaldehyde resin which has adverse toxic health effects, which is undetected when air concentrations are below 1.0 ppm but if air concentration is over 3.0-5.0 ppm coughing and fatigue have

been some of the effects noted. Due to the concerns raised about urea formaldehyde resin, some bamboo flooring manufacturers have introduced an innovative alternative, no added formaldehyde (NAUF) bamboo flooring which retails at a higher cost but with lower volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There are a range of sustainable carpeting options, which are made from less toxic inputs, natural or synthetic fibres and little to no chemical treatment. Carpets made from recyclable material such as PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is the plastic material used in water bottles, is often found in polyester carpets. PET carpets have a minimal impact on the environment and it is an economical option, which is durable and biodegradable. Conversely some experts are weary of synthetic fibres as they tend

FLOORING to absorb indoor air contaminants such as sulphur dioxide. Therefore a natural fibre such as wool or jute is often the best option as it is durable, renewable and biodegradable. Cork flooring, is considered one of the best sustainable flooring option as it produced from the bark without destroying the cork oak tree. It has achieved higher eco-friendly credentials than other flooring options and it continues to prove popular among home owners. Cork is low in volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, anti-microbial, hypoallergenic and has a lifecycle of up to 10 years. Cork is made of 14 insulated cells, which have a gaseous mixture installed within them. It is known for its thermal qualities, and it is the only flooring material with natural insulation properties. Due to its softness, cork flooring is easily damaged and is easily susceptible to a variety of hazards. Since its invention in 1863, linoleum flooring has used the same ingredients: linseed oil and other plant material such as cork dust, tree resin, and wood flour all pressed onto a jute backing. It is manufactured by



using most natural and renewable materials such as linseed oil and organic additives, however some linoleum installations do use adhesive hence the invention of marmoleum. Marmoleum is a modern and sustainable of a more innovative and sustainable option made from biodegradable, natural raw materials, recycled content and manufactured using 100 % green electricity. Linoleum flooring is a thin flooring product and has good thermal and insulation properties. A linoleum floor has a lifecycle of up to 40 years depending on the environment and its can be incinerated to produce a clean energy source or disposed of in a landfill without producing noxious off-gassing. Ceramic tiles have been found to be more environmentally friendly than stone because of its production integrity, maintenance and material extraction. Unlike other flooring material such as plastic and carpet floors, ceramic tiles do not release VOCs. According, to various Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) conducted ceramic tiles have been repeatedly found to cost less per year than

any other floor material over the lifecycle of a building. Ceramic tiles are sometimes made of post-industrial waste and some ceramic tile manufacturers have created closed loop processes that encourage the use of recyclable raw materials and water waste reduction during the production process. Due to their slim profile, ceramic tiles have been found to have high thermal conductivity. Glass tiles fall into four categories: cast, fused, a hybrid of cast and fused or low –temperature coated glass. However, recycled glass tiles are proving to be popular because of its eco-friendly properties and more glass tile manufactures are producing glass tiles that are entirely made from recycled glass material. Moreover, glass tiles have a long-lasting durability because glass is a strong building material imperious to many hazards. In recent years many residential, commercial and industrial building are using cement screed flooring instead of tiles. Screed is a mixture of sand, cement and fine aggregate applied to base to produce smooth flat floors. Given that cement is a strong material, screed flooring is naturally an exceptionally durable product and has tremendous longevity. However its ecofriendly credentials are rousing many debates amongst industry experts and environmentally conscious consumers. Although there have been newer, innovate and sustainable flooring options, wood flooring is still a popular option for residences. Wood flooring is manufactured from timber and contains no harmful chemicals that can affect indoor air quality. It is a durable option that can last for decades and add value to a home. Debates have emerged regarding the environmental profile of wood and sustainability of timber. According to Steven Suntup, the chairman of South Africa Wood Laminate & Flooring Association (SAWLFA), the organization mission is to “Enhance the awareness of wood and laminate flooring products, even though the organization does not endorse any specific companies or products”. Suntup says, the organization does encourage the protection of environment and educates its members and industry players on new technologies that are used to reduce environmental impacts and encourage efficacy, he believes South African industry players in the wood laminate and flooring industry embrace new technologies as much as their counterparts abroad. He encourages consumers and industry players to utilise the organization’s services as they also assist consumers in regards to any assistance or queries they have on South African wood and lamination industry.





or generations our planet has been misused, overused and quite simply destroyed by mankind. Over the last couple of decades the populist choice has been to become (or, rather, to ‘go’) green. In almost every walk of life there are opportunities for each of us to be more sustainable, and we all have a role to play. Dennis Hayes, an environmental activist and the man who coordinated the first Earth day back in 1970, once said, “I feel more confident than ever that the power to save the planet rests with each individual consumer.” The humble family kitchen is the perfect environment for employing sustainable and environmentally friendly furnishings and fitting but, according to Stephanie Forbes (national manager of The Kitchen Specialists Association), this can be a very expensive process. “There are probably only a handful of companies that specialise in kitchens around the country for the sole reason that they are so expensive,” says Forbes. “The raw materials are



extremely expensive as most of them need to be imported, which obviously increases costs.” To install a fully sustainable kitchen would cost far too much for most South African households and is really only attainable for wealthy families. However, there are ways for the majority of consumers to cut costs by not using imported materials. This might not be the best route in terms of pure sustainability, but it would certainly be an improvement on many kitchens of today.

Kitchen Carcass The bulk of kitchens are made from melamine board, which is definitely not the most sustainable product around. However, there have been improvements in the production of melamine which have helped to make it more sustainable. If you are going to remain local to a strictly melamine board kitchen then you would do well to start looking at the grade of the chips used. The best melamine to use is board that is AAA-rated. Forbes adds that if you going for a fully green kitchen you would need to “completely

move away from melamine and start looking for a more sustainable timber such as Danze board for your carcass”. This option obviously also increases your price significantly, as Danze board is an imported product. “The most important part for most customers is deciding between going fully green and being a realist when it comes to cost. You have to find that balance between being green and what fits into your budget, as going fully green is almost guaranteed to double your costs,” says Forbes. “One can build a kitchen with a green conscious at a very affordable rate, but everything in your kitchen will not be the most sustainable products.”

Doors “Your least sustainable option are the entry level boards, which are laminate-based melamine boards. Once again you should look for the triple A rated chips,” says Forbes. Another option comes in the form of a rack door. Your choices range from less expensive doors which are not green stamped wrap foil, while your more expensive doors are imported


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from Europe. These factories are constantly monitored for their emission levels and, on that basis, they are able to earn their green stamp. “It is important to see what level of green sanction the producer of that wrap foil has from a manufacturing point,” says Forbes. “What a lot of people forget to consider about wrap is that when you think green you must look at the longevity of the wrap. Even though it is in the manufacturing process, the longer it lasts the less the need to replace it in future, which obviously makes it far more sustainable.” Lastly, you get your high-pressure laminate boards which, according the Forbes is most popular in either the highgloss format or a very extreme matt format. Important considerations once again are to check where it is produced and to look for the green stamp of the company that produced the laminate. You also get sustainable timber and non-sustainable timber. Drambuie is very sustainable as it is not killed when it is harvested but, rather, it is grown like a crop - and it grows very fast. “A-grade boards cannot easily be found in South Africa. I only know of one company currently importing these boards from America. Places like PG Bison don’t like talking about A- or B-rated boards as they meet all the requirements but can, unfortunately, only get the highest rating South Africa has to



offer. They are not eligible to be judged by the international standards.”

Gas/alternatives With South Africa and Eskom suffering serious energy shortages, many households have moved over to gas over the last decade – at least when it comes to cooking. While this trend has been largely driven by continual bouts of loadshedding and continuous increases in electricity costs, it is also a far “greener” way to cook your daily meals. According to Forbes, the main reason for this switch is because gas does not have “residual heat”. A further benefit over electrical appliances such as stoves is that gas appliances are immediately cooking hot and, even quicker, are immediately cold once switched off. “Electrical appliances such as a normal electrical stoves take time to heat up and time to cool down – all of which costs money,” adds Forbes.Gas is also not the only alternative available to the South African homeowner, as induction cooking is proving increasingly popular in Europe, although it has not yet taken off in South Africa. “Induction cooking is essentially a top hob which, instead of having a heating element under the glass, works on a basis of a magnetron. You have to use pots and pans with a magnetic base in order for them to create a magnetic relationship,” says Forbes.

Induction cooking is very green and economical for the specific reason that there is no residual heat wastage. “You can put your hand flat right next to the glass but, because there is no magnetic relationship with your hand, you won’t feel a thing,” says Forbes. Once again, the reason induction cooking hasn’t taken off in South Africa is again due to the issue of price. Most people will have to go out and purchase a brand new set of pots and pans… and the best pans are “imported from Germany, Italy and France”, although Forbes also points out that many people are “very wary of magnetic and microwave technology as there has been a lot of bad publicity about it”.

Appliances When looking for an oven many people are not sure what to look for when going green. Forbes says that the current trend for many consumers is for the “big wide oven”, but she adds that what is important is to look for is an oven with two fans. “This increases the speed of the heating and cooling process. A lot of wastage goes into the 20-30 minute preheating time so anything that can quicken the process is a huge help.” On the cooler side of the kitchen, environmentally friendly refrigerators are easy to spot, especially the imported ones, as they get a star rating in terms of their green cred. Dishwashers are more hygienic because it uses water that is hotter than the human hand


Compost heaps are another option for food waste if your living conditions allow for it, however it can also take some work, at least to get it started off.


can tolerate while washing dishes, but many consumers are anti-dishwashers because you they use more water than washing by hand. On the positive side, most manufacturers are investigating ways to reduce water usage, and Forbes advises that consumers “should look for a dishwasher with an economy or green function”, in addition to looking out for their environmentally friendly star rating. This should also indicate how much water and electricity is used in any wash cycle. Many people still prefer the old-fashioned twin tubs or top loaders because they believe it uses less water, but Forbes believes that this is a trend in decline. In recent times the front loader has become more aligned with the water usage of the top loader, however, the biggest benefit is that the front loader is not as hard on your clothes as the top loader, which

means your clothes last longer. Longevity of your clothes is also important when looking to be environmentally friendly.

Recycling Recycling has become part of many of our lives over recent years, however, there is no fancy method for it. Many systems are available from various importers – “you should just look at which system suits you best.” The main reason why more people don’t recycle is because it is a hassle to separate. “The easiest way to overcome that is to have a bin with different compartments which allows everything to be done in one area. The hassle does get too much when you have to walk from one area to another with your dry waste and food waste.”

A kitchen also needs a lot of light, ideally natural light. If you are building from scratch consideration should be worked into the architectural plans, but while light is very important, one must also remember that if you are using timber for countertops, doors and so on then you run the risk of materials warping or suffering damage from too much direct sunlight. The easiest way to prevent this is to have the facility of blinds so that you can control the amount of sunlight. “Because kitchens have become a bit like a family utility room where, for example, homework gets done, it is important to have good lighting but, at the same time, be sure to install and use lights with the lowest voltage,” says Forbes.

Conclusion According to Forbes, the level of green in South Africa is improving and more people are becoming aware of the importance of employing sustainable décor and design. Unfortunately, due to the cost of things, wealthier families are implementing green design while the majority of other homeowners simply cannot afford it. Architects are also being given points for designing green these days, so they are adding some weight to the push towards the going green trend. Despite high costs of many products, it remains possible for all of us to go green in our own ways. If building a fully environmentally friendly kitchen is not within your price bracket, it won’t prevent you from going for the most environmentally friendly option that is within your price range. Going green will, in many instances, also will save you money on energy usage, so be sure to factor that into your costings and savings, as your electricity and water usage is almost certain to come down.





he new EDGE-certified projects were announced at the annual Green Building Convention 2015 signalling a shift in the local residential property market towards global green building practice. Created by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group that focuses on the private sector, EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) was brought to SA a year ago by the GBCSA and is supported by the affordable housing fund International Housing Solutions (IHS). EDGE is the green building certification programme that empowers the residential property market to design and build resourceefficient buildings featuring the solutions to



achieve minimum savings of 20% energy, water and embodied energy in materials. Grahame Cruickshanks, EDGE Technical Manager, says that EDGE has the global potential to achieve 20% transformation of the residential construction sector in developing markets. “In just seven years, imagine 1.3 million green homes with an annual potential power saving akin to 3,300 acres of solar farms; and a possible million tons of CO2 per year. The opportunity to tackle the most pressing issues of our day in our very own homes is simply hard to ignore”. “South Africa’s current water crisis provides a prime example of how we should do things differently in future to avoid the water scarce

precedent. Those 1.3million potential green homes could see water savings of 38 million cubic metres – which would go a long way to addressing our country’s water woes”. To assist developers, building owners, banks, governments, investors, real estate agents, project professionals, students and homeowners in realising these opportunities, EDGE AP courses are now offered by the GBCSA to prepare industry professionals for residential green building ratings. Residential projects targeting EDGE certification are required to appoint an independent Accredited Professional (AP) to conduct the project audit. This workshop is hosted by the GBCSA and a faculty member and presented face-to- face

GBCSA green

About IHS International Housing Solutions (IHS) is a South African private equity firm focused on the development of residential housing. IHS partners with financial institutions, real estate developers, private capital groups and local government authorities to provide equity finance for residential projects, primarily in the affordable housing market. Currently focused on South Africa, IHS is set to expand its presence to other African countries and globally in future. Committed to green building, IHS secured funding from the IFC to run the first EDGE pilot projects in South Africa in partnership with the GBCSA. to a group of 25-50 people in an open and collaborative learning style setting. Workshops aim to give attendees an understanding of the importance of green building in the residential sector; the opportunity to experience the EDGE software applied in action; an understanding of the process and benefits for the EDGE certification

process; and a certified qualification for those interested in becoming an EDGE Accredited Professional. Having already certified the first housing projects in the country using the EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) residential green building tool, currently in pilot phase, the council is set for a major rollout

About IFC IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise and influence to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

About EDGE An innovation of IFC, EDGE helps property developers to build and brand green in a fast, easy and affordable way. EDGE is supported by software that encourages solutions to reduce energy, water and the energy used to make building materials by at least 20%, which is the standard for EDGE certification. The program has been generously supported by the following donors: Austria, Canada, Denmark, ESMAP, EU, Finland, GEF, Japan and Switzerland. For more information, visit



About GBCSA The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) is an independent, non-profit, membership-based organisation that was formed in 2007 by leaders from all sectors of the commercial property industry. It is a full member of the World Green Building Council and the official certification body of buildings under the Green Star SA Rating System. The organisation aims to ensure that all buildings are built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way so that all South Africans work and live in healthy, effective and productive environments. of green building ratings in SA’s residential property sector. GBCSA Chief Executive Officer, Brian Wilkinson, last year announced Ravenswood affordable housing development in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, as the first residential project in Africa to achieve an EDGE Design Certification. The development is led by affordable housing fund, IHS, who are rolling out a number of residential developments in South Africa that will be EDGE certified. Wilkinson comments: “Awarding the first EDGE pilot ratings in the country is a significant milestone, not just for the GBCSA and its partners in the programme, but for the South African residential property sector and its journey toward going green and becoming more sustainable. We appeal to the residential property industry to join the movement to change the way homes are built in SA.” The current energy discussion underway with Eskom’s latest application to NERSA for an adjustment for its 2013/2014 financial year has resulted in a 9% tariff increase for the consumer, making energy efficiency in homes and in businesses vital from not just an environmental standpoint, but from a financial one too. In addition, the current water crisis and imposed water restrictions bring into view South African’s need to address a potential water-scarce future. EDGE calculates the upfront cost and potential operational savings via a simple



user-friendly online software platform and determines, at a conceptual level, the financial viability of a project’s green potential. It’s smart, fast, affordable, and makes sure green buildings are available to all. Cruickshanks, illustrates: “According to IHS projections, the Ravenswood development is predicted to realise a saving of almost R600,000 a year by applying EDGE-certified energy efficiency measures. This would translate into an anticipated saving of approximately R3200 in utility costs for each unit.” “Total savings annually of 250,000kWH of electricity and more than 10,000Kl of water has been demonstrated in the EDGE design rating of the Ravenswood project. EDGE helped us crunch the numbers to reveal the most affordable path to building green,” explains IHS Dealmaker, Myles Kritzinger. Located on Trichardts Road in Boksburg, Gauteng, the Ravenswood residential development will bring 188 two-bedroom green homes onto the local market. IHS is acquiring all 188 units in the development as rental stock from RPP Developments. Efficient energy usage is set to be maximized at Ravenswood through the use of solar hot water collectors and efficient water usage through the installation of smart meters and low-flow bathroom and kitchen fittings. Reduced window-to-wall ratios and roof insulation will also ensure optimal energy efficiency. The EDGE certification process involves two steps:

preliminary design certification of the design, followed by as-built certification. Cruickshanks says: “What sets the EDGE rating tool apart is that it is comparatively simple and inexpensive to use, making it invaluable to developers looking for smart and effective ways to differentiate their product in a tough economic climate, whilst also tackling important environmental issues. Globally, IFC’s aim is to transform 20% of new residential and commercial building in rapidly-industrializing countries within the next seven years, led by local green building councils and global certification providers. The GBCSA has also committed to major targets presented at COP21 in November last year. The organization aims to certify 10,000 homes by 2020. Wilkinson concludes: “When the GBCSA and IFC announced the introduction of EDGE in the country, SA became the first nation to introduce the EDGE certification program for homes on behalf of IFC. It was a ground-breaking move. Now we want to take the roll-out of EDGE to the next level. EDGE-certified homes will attract prospective buyers who understand the long-term value of their investment in a green home, with its lower utility bills and higher re-sale price, while giving home owners the peace of mind that they are running their homes more efficiently with less of an impact on the environment.”

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Clearing the confusion about solar water heater systems


nvesting in a solar water heater is the best investment you will ever make. Deciding on the type of system you’ll need, which brand or what capacity can be very confusing and overwhelming. We often make these important decisions based simply on advice from friends or neighbours, and in some cases, make a decision based on whatever the salesman of a particular brand tells us. A solar water heating system consists essentially of a collector system (flat plate or evacuated tubes) and a water storage tank. The hot water tank in a solar water heater is the most critical part of the system and generally consists of an inner tank and an outer wrap. The inner tank contains the heated water and is insulated to keep the water hot. The outer envelope protects the insulation material and provides a foundation for mechanical fitment to your roof. Here are some of the key factors to consider before you purchase a solar water heater. The quality of the inner tank Stainless Steel is commonly used in the manufacture of cutlery, pots and pans, water tanks and many other industrial applications due to the longevity of the product. With solar water heating systems, various grades of stainless steel are often used to manufacture the inner tanks. The best quality inner tanks are manufactured from Type 444 stainless steel, due to the corrosion resistance properties of this grade of stainless steel at elevated temperatures. Why the grade of stainless steel matters Stainless steels are high-alloy steels that have excellent corrosion resistant properties in comparison with other steels. One property common to all stainless steels is that they contain chromium and this provides corrosion resistance.



Many years ago, producers of electric hot water tanks all over the world, started replacing the traditional enameled-steel water tanks with stainless steel tanks. The corrosion-resistance of stainless steel meant that the tanks have a far greater lifespan. Flat-plate or evacuated tube Collectors The choice between a flat-plate and evacuated tube solar water heater system is usually a personal choice. The main difference comes down to the efficiency. With evacuated tubes, the vacuum provides almost perfect insulation. A flat plate panel has insulation at the back and sides, with glass on top and is subject to heat loss. Generally during the summer months, there’s very little difference in performance between the two. In winter, when we have cold days and lower light levels, the evacuated tubes will perform better. Evacuated Tube Collectors Evacuated tubes capture sunlight better as they have a greater surface area exposed to sun at any time. If one tube becomes damaged, only that tube needs to be replaced. Depending on the type of tube used, there is no need to shut down the entire system and no leakage occurs. The vacuum tubes are very resistant to damage resulting from adverse weather conditions.

Conclusion When you invest in a solar water heater, make sure you select a system that is manufactured from high quality materials. Avoid the cheap units and rather go with a locally manufactured system that provides you with local backup and support. Units with longer warranties usually have a slightly higher price tag, but so often - as with everything else - the least expensive option you purchase is the most expensive option in the long run. It must be remembered that the purpose of a solar geyser is to collect energy from the sun in the most efficient way so as to prohibit electrical backup and the resultant costs.

In the next edition, we will be looking at the different size systems available on the market and how to calculate your family’s hot water needs. We will also explore how much money you can save from day one and provide you with additional energy saving tips.

Flat Plate Collectors Flat plate solar collectors can be used in most climates, but are significantly more suited to warmer, sunnier, southern climates, where freezing and solar angles are less likely to impact on the solar water heating system. When a portion of a collector fails, the entire solar water heater system collector must be shut down and replaced.




the deal


Working with the environment and the challenges presented by the elements has always been key to architecture, but national regulations such as SANS 204 and 10400xa have now also made smart design mandatory.


f you speak to most architects you will probably find they all have two things in common. Firstly, they most likely gravitated towards their field of study because they wanted their life work to be something special that would allow them to make a difference. They also quite likely will have a grumble about paperwork and building regulations, with SANS 204 and SANS 10400xa most likely to make an appearance in the conversation. Ironically, architects are also generally pragmatic in terms of being aware of the needs of hugging bunnies, and if anything they have perhaps had their wings clipped by clients who see more value in fine finishings rather than long-term energy saving or carbon footprint reducing installations and accessories. Following international trends, and inspired by the success of the Australian authorities’ own green building regulations, South Africa’s own building regulations ensure architects and construction professionals create buildings that require the least amount of heating or cooling to provide a comfortable living and working environment. At a macro level, the impact could effectively



reduce our energy requirements to the extent that planned power stations could possibly even be scrapped. “Insulation is often considered a luxury and overlooked when building a home, yet its primary purpose is to save energy and improve your home’s comfort. To properly insulate your ceiling and geyser system in a typical home costs less than 1% of the total per square metre building costs, but it is one of the few building materials that will save you money for the lifespan of your home.” (Feel the Real Difference, Isover/Saint-Gobain) The regulation SANS204 was not intended to create green buildings, but rather energy efficient buildings, focusing more on the building’s orientation and insulating the building envelope. SANS 10400xa was added to reference SANS 204’s numerous guidelines. “Although there was initially some resistance to change by the property, professional and construction industry when

DOUBLE UP “Single leaf walls are required to use a unit (block) with a nominal thickness of at least 140mm (in addition to other requirements), while double-skin masonry walls (220-230mm collar jointed walls) that have plaster applied to the inside are generally good to go. Cavity walls are good to work with as the air cavity inside the wall offers a superior R-value,” says Thompson. SANS 10400 was introduced, the professional community has generally integrated SANS 10400 XA requirements into their design and specification process and has been instrumental in assisting the clients, contractors and suppliers they work with in getting to grips with the new standards,” says Grahame Cruickshanks, EDGE Technical Manager at the Green Building Council of South Africa.

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ENERGY “Nothing about the way we do anything has changed, other than having yet another professional and more paperwork,” says Matthew Quinton, director of Aquacor Property Developers. “As developers we will always try and do the best building a site can afford and we always want to push the boundaries. We were doing green tech before it was mandated because it makes for good marketing and because we love our planet.” While many architects might share a similar sentiment to Quinton, there will always be those professionals who might lack such integrity in their work. However, the main stumbling block in the path towards sustainability are the clients themselves. Given the choice of achieving airtight insulation or being able to spend more on sexy features that are visible to the naked eye (or the lens of a décor magazine photographer), most clients would tick the visibility box, which is why the regulation was so important to draft and rubber stamp. According to the South African Bureau of Standards, the objective of SANS 204 is to “reduce operational use of new buildings without reducing comfort and amenity”. For architects, this is just another area where they need to sell their client on the benefits of good, sustainable architect as well as construction common sense. “Spending more in the right ways yields superior performance and, quite simply, feels better,” says Stuart Thompson, a consulting architect and co-founder of StudioST&AR and Elemental Studio. “I convinced a client to spend extra money on insulating the floor of an attic space we created for them in their roof. Not only is that living space comfortable to spend time it, it has also created a quieter space because it is a more solid structure. The old South African attics creaked with every footstep, but if you insulate properly it deadens the sound and creates a more solid structure.” Thomson also highlights the importance of “divorcing the inside structure from the outside skin”. While it is required by law to build with

thermal window frames in the UK, in South Africa our standard aluminium frames perform poorly in terms of cold bridging. “The higher your insulation the better your energy consumption is going to be internally, and this naturally puts less stress on heating the house,” adds Thomson. “South Africa is only just getting to the double glazing stage, while in countries such as the UK and other cold areas of Europe triple-glazing is being used increasingly and houses are becoming super-sealed.” The problem with a mechanically sealed house, stresses Thomson, is that you need to ensure that it is also a mechanically ventilated house. “You invest all that money in heating up the air, but then you still need to eject that air through a heat exchange system so that as the warm air leaves the house it draws in fresh, cool air.”

Chosing your model The regulations take into account areas of common sense such as ensuring that buildings are optimally oriented with appropriate shading of the northern wall, that the roof is insulated, use of geysers are cut down, and draught and heat loss is eliminated. It’s pretty standard stuff but it needed regulation because otherwise (left to their own devices) architects, clients or developers would have the option to go cheap on the

HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR R-VALUE Lisa Reynolds, Saint-Gobain’s Sustainable Development Director and an integral member of the SANS working group, says that a key ingredient of ensuring effective insulation is managing the thermal values of a structure, either thermal conductivity (the ability of a material to conduct heat), the K-value, or thermal resistance (the ability of a material to resist the transfer of heat), known as the R-value. “To calculate the R-value you need to know the thermal conductivity (K-value) of the product and the product thickness,” says Reynolds. “You’ll find your R-value simply by dividing the thickness in meters by the k-value.”



CLIMATE According to Saint-Gobain, “an important consideration when building is to determine the relevant climate zone. Each of the climactic zones has a different R-value requirement for certain walls and ceilings. The appropriate thickness and R-value of insulation for your climactic zone, correctly installed, will protect your home against the cold, heat and save electricity, providing a comfortable, healthy, safe and quiet space for you and your family.”

build with an eye on upfront profits that would most like cost the future property owners a lot over the life of the building, in addition to putting unnecessary strain on the national grid. It’s like the speed limit: everyone knows you shouldn’t drive too fast, but unless there’s a limit in place no-one will know where to draw the line. While many drivers get away with speeding and other road offences, a building isn’t able to zoot away when it sees the inspector coming down the road. In order to comply with SANS 10400XA, architects are required to satisfy certain conditions by complying with one of three routes: the Prescriptive Route, Performance Route or the Reference Building Route. “Different projects benefit from different approaches,” says Cruickshanks. “ The prescriptive or deemed to satisfy route dictates the building specification but reduces the cost of consultant fees. Rational design to reference buildings and performance modelling offer the opportunity to identify bespoke energy efficiency solutions for a building which can have positive implications on the cost to construct and operate the building, but this does require an increase in the consultant spend for the project. Real benefits in the form of energy savings can be achieved where the optimal approach to SANS 10400



31 MAY-5 JUNE 2016

17-19 June 2014 CSIR International Convention Centre



Advancing the Green Economy through the sharing of knowledge and experience across disciplines, sectors and markets - actively seeking to develop and accelerate sustainable oriented project pipelines. The convergence of government officials, private sector investors, business operators, professionals, researchers and NGO’s under one roof to re-engage on key challenges and solutions will once again prove to have a catalytic effect on the green economy. Through its innovative and interconnected event construction, delegates at Sustainability Week are exposed to the need to balance interests in a bid to achieve the most appropriate approach to each decision. The day-to-day market realities are put to one side for three days as decision makers re-evaluate their business context and the cause and effect of their actions. In 2016, delegate access to all sessions will again be open, enabling individuals to structure a bespoke programme that suits their personal preferences. This unique approach enhances the delegate experience as people from different sectors and different places interact with each other, seeing similar challenges from different perspectives, and discovering new opportunities. Highlights for 2016 include: The 2nd annual African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum, led by the City of Tshwane, which welcomes high-level delegations from cities around the African continent to deliberate on shared experiences and perspectives, and agree on matters of leadership in relation to sustainable cities. The 10th annual Green Building Conference will focus on African approaches and leapfrog thinking to bring fresh thinking to what is fast becoming a mature market.

See you at Sustainability Week 2016! CONTACT US

087 023 0853

ENERGY XA compliance is selected. This translates into reduced operating costs, reduced peak load demand and reduced greenhouse gas emissions thus mitigating climate change.” According to Thomson, when using the reference model an architect aims to hit the minimum specification, but when you rationally model a house using building modelling software “you basically project the energy consumption of the house over a number of years, and if you comply with that then you pass the SANS 10400 XA with the rational model. “I myself don’t do go the reference route as it is full of so many calculations. I prefer the rational route, so I take it into a model and use a firm of consultants who test my model for its thermal performance and if they see that the model complies with the regulations then we get our approval. It costs a bit more but I believe it is safer in the long run. I also feel that the reference model is crude and requires double-glazing and other features that add unnecessary extra expense. Double-glazing is an overkill unless the building is in a really cold area.” “We have very happy clients when we go the modelling route, especially when they see that their glass box house can be done in single glazing, which makes it much cheaper,” says Alison Channing of PJ Carew Consulting. “We have found that the cost of doing an energy model more than makes up for the extra expense of having to go high spec on the glass. The cost of the modelling makes up



for the savings on materials, which also adds to reducing the building’s carbon footprint.” “All new build commercial projects have undertaken modelling and, to my knowledge, all have benefitted from doing so,” says Tyrel Momberg, Technical Manager at the GBCSA

FIVE EXPERT INSULATION INSIGHTS Hot water Compliance with SANS 10400-XA requires that 50% of the building’s hot water requirements should be heated by means other than an electrical geyser. Take your pick of solar water heaters and heat pumps, as well as heat recovery systems or processes and renewable combustible fuel. Given Eskom’s struggles to meet supply (and subsequent massive tariff hikes), this is a no-brainer that pays for itself in good time to make a client happy to invest that little bit upfront.

Wall cavities rule “The regulation requires a thermal aggregation of 3.7 in the roof, but the R-value of cavity walls is quite low (around 1.5). When you build a dry wall and you use Nutec and a timber frame then you have to achieve a much higher rating in the wall. Dry wall timber frames have higher R-values in the wall and the roof, which means they are outperforming brick walls,” says Thompson.

Thermal glazing “I prefer to use thermal glazing as it is around half the cost of double glazing but still offers really good insulation results,” says Thompson.

Floors All floors with any kind of heater in it (in slab, under carpet etc) must be insulated underneath the floor with an insulation material with an R-value of at least 1. To calculate the net floor area, the internal floor area, inclusive of open stairways and lift shafts, as well as the area of the voids formed by “double volumes” must be calculated and from that the area occupied by fixed vertical elements (internal walls) must be subtracted. Areas occupied by build-in cupboards should be taken as part of the net floor area as they are situated within the building envelope.

FAÇADE The orientation of the façade with the major area of glass of the building therefore should ideally be between 345 and 15 (approximately true north) and the façades facing east, west and south should be provided with minimum fenestration for compliance with ventilation and lighting. The longer axis of the building should be east-west. An orientation outside -15° to 15° will result in an increased energy usage for heating and cooling in the buildings.


An innovation in quality, sustainable building materials

EROSION PROTECTION We all understand that rapid urbanisation creates a number of problems for the economy and our environment. How often do SANITATION you see massive piles of soil and rubble being scoured from the earth to make way for new houses and developments? What do ENERGY you think happens to all this material? Well, the simple reality is that it needs to move to make space for the houses. So we ROADS load it onto trucks - that clog up our highways - travelling many kilometres WATERto be dumped in an expensive hole called a landfill site. We also travel hundreds of kilometres away just to mine sandSECURIT and aggregates from our rivers – destroying biodiversity Y and our precious water resources – only to lug it all the way back to be made into building materials. RAILWAY It goes without saying, we have to change the way we do things. OCEAN The question is can we use innovation to turn this waste into opportunities MINING and solutions? USE-IT – the Durban-based multi-award winning Non-Profit Organisation has discovered an answer that makes use of innovation in the waste sector to MISCELLANEOUS unlock the Green Economy. Chris Whyte, Managing Director of USE-IT, puts it into perspective: “Over the last 6 years we have helped create over 2300 jobs by unlocking the value in less than 1% of the city’s waste. We’ve hardly even scratched the surface of the opportunities available. With funding from eThekwini Municipality we have saved the city more than 4.5 times their investment just in landfill diversion and leveraged more than 11 times that amount in additional funding for project development and job creation.”

safeguarding excellence in precast concrete

USE-IT’s flagship innovative project development is the Rambrick TM – a compressed earth block made from waste soil and builders’ rubble destined for the landfill. As an organisation USE-IT believes their innovative Rambrick™ is part of the solution to some of the country’s most dire problems.

So what’s the problem? • LANDFILL – In South Africa we spend R25 billion yearly landfilling 108 million tons of waste. More than 30% of this is inert soil and rubble. • HOUSING – The housing backlog is around 2.3 million units. Housing delivery has dropped by 25% in the past 5 years. We build less than 2% of the backlog required yearly and yet the backlog increases by more than 4% per year. • UNEMPLOYMENT – Currently standing at a rate of 25% in South Africa and can almost be doubled if we include discouraged job-seekers and those living on State benefits. • CLIMATE CHANGE – More than 1/3 of carbon emissions causing global warming emanate from the built environment, yet we still use energy-intensive “conventional” materials. Here’s the solution The Rambrick™ “smarter bricks” system diverts specific landfill and, through skills development and job-creation, converts it into various housing products- with 1/3 less carbon footprint than conventional materials! So we save on LANDFILL by coverting it to quality HOUSING, creating EMPLOYMENT and combating CLIMATE CHANGE. It’s a four-in-one solution… The RamBrick™ “smarter bricks” is the only 5-star fully certified EcoStandard building system (Agrément, NHBRC, SABS and CIDB compliant) in Africa. The Rambrick™ is also 15 to 45% cheaper, 3 to 5 times stronger, 3 times more thermally efficient, bulletproof, waterproof, soundproof and eco-friendly saving 1/2 a ton of Carbon per square metre built. If you’re ready to move into innovative, sustainable building, find out more at


Rambrick is rated a 5-star EcoStandard© product

Address: Office 0400, Standard Plaza Building, REG#: CEB072015

440 Hilda Street, Hatfield, Pretoria, T : 031 7650083 2349 Tel: (011) 805 6742 • Email:

Green Home Magazine Issue 24  
Green Home Magazine Issue 24