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HOME living informed today

Issue 26 R29.00 incl VAT 9 772223 540014








ENVIRONMENTAL Rejects heat from sunlight in summer and retains indoor heat in winter

DECORATIVE Provides privacy and can replace curtains or blinds

PROTECTIVE Provides shatterproof protection against accidental damage or attack


AUTO ARMOR C eramic W holesaler THE TRUSTED NAME IN WINDOW FILM For All Your Imported Tiles, Mosaics & Sanitary Ware Requirements


ince 1978, the Auto Armor brand has BEFORE been widely recognised and respected Tel: (012) 329 0488 Fax: (012) 329 0543 within South Africa’s automotive industry E-mail : for the highest quality vehicle protection products and services. Our range of antismash and grab safety films have protected Now with Roof and Tiles Too~ lives many vehicle windows passenger and have been the leading choice for vehicle owners over the last decade. Let us show you why Auto Armor architectural window film (also referred to as home window tinting) is also becoming the leading choice of home BEFORE owners throughout the country.

AFTER 303 Voortrekker & Flower Road, Gezina

Or visit us at:

Firstly, let’s explain briefly what window film/tint is and how it works. Window film/tint is a laminate of strong polyester with various coatings on one side and a mounting adhesive on the other side. The film is applied to the interior surface of the glass window and it can be clear, coloured, or patterned to blend with various design schemes. Various thicknesses are available for solar, safety, or security applications. Solar radiation from the sun is divided into 3 components: visible light we can see and infrared and ultraviolet rays that we can only feel. As solar radiation strikes a piece of glass, window film blocks ultraviolet rays through glass and regulates the levels of heat and visible light passing through the glass. The amount of heat and light rejected is all dependant on the type of window film selected. So, how does all this benefit my home? Summed up in two words – Comfort and Efficiency. Windows open your home to natural lighting, warmth and views of the outside world. While natural sunlight offers plenty of positives for your home, there is also a downside to letting the light shine in: increased energy costs, excessive heat, glare, premature fading of interior furnishings, privacy and security. By eliminating or reducing these negative effects, window film transforms the comfort and efficiency of your home. A large percentage of a home’s utility bills are wasted by loss of heat and heat gain through untreated windows. With a thin, TRADING HOURS: virtually invisible addition to your home’s Mon - Friwindows, Auto Armor : 8:00 - 17:00 existing window film Saturday : 8:30 - 15:00 can help you save utility costs by blocking Sunday/Public Holidays : 8:30 - 13:30 heat gain from sunlight through your home windows. Window films can’t discriminate between winter sun and summer sun. By cutting heat

gain during the summer, they might also take away some solar heat you might enjoy in the winter. However, just as the film reflect the sun’s infrared waves back outside, they also reflect inward the infrared heat rays given off by heaters, fireplaces, objects and people inside. They help retain indoor heat by providing additional layers of insulation on window interiors which all helps keep interior spaces warmer in winter. Open your blinds, shades, or draperies and let the sunlight in. In addition to blocking heat, Auto Armor window film also reduces glare, making it easier for you to watch television or work on a computer in the comfort of your home. Because Auto Armor window film is made with ultra-clear, distortion-free materials, you won’t even know it’s there. Most fabrics, furnishings and artwork can fade simply by allowing daylight to pass through an untreated window. Home window tinting with Auto Armor window films will block up to 99.9% of all UVA and UVB rays, helping to protect your family and preserve the colour of your furnishings, fabrics and carpets. Glass can be a real hazard in the home when broken from accidents, storms, or break-ins. Safeguard your family and your property with Auto Armor safety films. This transparent but powerful barrier helps hold glass in place should an impact occur, and helps you defend against the unexpected. While damaged or deteriorating windows simply have to be replaced, home window film provides an affordable alternative to


replacement when your goal is to improve energy efficiency. In fact, the cost for quick, professional installation can be as little as one-tenth the cost of replacement windows! I n s t a l l i n g w i n d ow f i l m m ay l o o k relatively easy but there are many factors that could lead to an unprofessional installation. It is very easy for the film to become contaminated with dirt, dust or hair, thus ruining the film and creating dissatisfaction. Auto Armor’s professional installers have many years of experience in proper preparation and application techniques to prevent contamination or other problems with the film, and ensure a quality installation. Auto Armor window films are internationally tried and proven to be of highest technical standard and quality and are warranted against fading, peeling, bubbling or de-lamination from windows. Our fitment exper tise and ser vice are recognised nationally across the automotive and architectural industries and we can fit window film to any window designs on commercial or domestic buildings. So, become part of the leading home owner’s choice and bask worry-free in the benefits of your home windows with Auto Armor window films. CONTACT US TODAY! 021 951 6571

Kitchen and Bathroom Decor Ceramic & Porcelain Tile Mosaic Roof Tiles NEW! We got you covered, from Roof to Floor, and anything that in between.G R E E N HOME


erma P Edge Give your garden the perfect edge... 1000 mm

• • • •

Std Length: 1000mm Std Colour: Dark Brown Std Widths: 75 / 100 / 125mm

• • •

The Perfect edging for garden beds. Easy to bend so it follows the contours of your beds or pathways. Great for soil retention and gravel separation. Easy to install with quick interlock system. Designed to be mown over. Weather resistant, rust resistant & maintenance free. Can be moved and re-used.

Finish: 1.6mm thick Galvanised Steel & powder coat painted

Website – | Email: Tel - 031-7910162 | Fax - 0866779574 | Cell - 0829085111 62 I Facebook - | Twitter - @PermaEdge



Dear Reader, Building and renovating requires a clear vision of the home we want, a vision interpreted, embellished upon and influenced by the architect that designs the home with us. Visualising a Green Home means adding detail to this vision, detail that makes the vision so much more fun to develop as you consider so much more. How on hot summer days we visualise chilling in shady spaces, with a cool breeze blowing through, living inside-out as our veranda's merge with our gardens and pool areas to extend the living room spaces and kitchen. We imagine preparing beautiful salads with fresh lettuce and herbs from the garden, maybe entertaining friends or just the going through that pleasant daily ritual. The primary considerations of a Green Home after all are human comfort and human health. What could be more natural and appealing? Imagine your house functioned like House Jones, with its focus on biodiversity on page 12, or House Rhino with its focus on innovative passive designs for thermal comfort on page 06. Tired of pouring cash and precious water down the drain, literally? Read our pool maintenance tips for this summer on page 30. If you have to air-condition due to failings in the design of your house? Learn more about energy efficient approaches to air conditioning at page 25. Green Homes are not just about performance but about materials too. We review the environmental considerations of wood laminate, ceramic tiles and concrete flooring to help you choose the right floor materials for your home on page 35. I hope you enjoy this edition of Green Home Magazine and wish you the best summer season ever!

Gordon 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 woman-owned 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. Cover image: House Jones Image by: Barry Golman

Green Home magazine is audited by the ABC


Gordon Brown Annie Pieters Jacques Gerber, Zaida Yon Esther Kabaso Natasha Keyster Shannon Manuel Shanice Daniels Gordon Brown, Lloyd Macfarlane, Andrew Fehrsen Chevonne Ismail 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, FA Print

NE I L N O SHOP Effective Eco friendly insect & Odour Control

Why Ecomist? Why an ECOMIST

Ecomist is the most effective insect and odour control system used extensively in all commercial, industrial & domestic establishments.


• Annuity Income • Global experience Ecomist Insect Killer has used natural pyrethrin to effectively control insects for decades. Natural pyrethrin is bio-degradable, • Eco friendly insect & odour controldecomposing rapidly in the environment, making it an excellent and safe choice for • Wide market acceptance controlling pests. Pyrethrin comes from the Chrysanthemum flower which has a unique combination of insecticidal properties and is one of the safest insecticides known. Pyrethrin, is effective against a wide range of insect pests including flies, ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, fleas, etc.

How do I benefit as an ECOMIST franchisee? • Product reliability

Ecomist uses a unique dispensing • Low fixed costs system which is battery • Rapid technical & marketing operated and emits the pyrethrin aerosol atuptake set time intervals experience and dosages. It is interchangeable between insect and odour aerosols. • Regular innovative product introduction Ecomist has over a 100 different fragrances to choose from.

securing you customer base





November/December 2016



06 12









PASSIVE DESIGNS FOR YOUR HOME Achieving thermal comfort


AIR CONDITIONING Energy efficient air cooling systems


POOL MAINTENANCE Getting ready for summer time


FROM THE GROUND UP Getting to know sustainable flooring





House Rhino is owned by Brian van Niekerk, Managing Director of the Rhino Group of Companies who have been responsible for the systems design and integration into some of the building design. The Rhino Group of companies are Rhino Energy Solutions, Rhino Water, Rhino Greenbuilding, Rhino Living, Rhino AgriVantage, Ecola plastics and Rhino Plastics. For any further information, please contact either: Brian van Niekerk - Managing Director 082 652 5564 041 451 3197 or Andrew Barton Managing Director Financial Director 079 891 7668 041 451 3197




House Rhino






nique, like the animal its named after, and inspired by innovation, after being initially conceptualised in 2011, the launch of the completed House Rhino was the culmination of vision, passion, dedication & great innovation, to deliver what is believed to be a first on the African continent – a pioneering green house, off- grid from energy, water and effluent perspectives, utilising the very latest in technologies, materials and capabilities.

Rooftop vegetable garden

Battery storage bay

The House Rhino successfully integrates as many sustainable and green technology options as possible. It also serves as an industry example, dramatically changing the scene for homeowners and developers who are serious about sustainability. The entirely off-grid 450m² home is built on a 1100m² stand and has been met with great acclaim from international experts and the local Kouga municipality who were extremely supportive in the planning stages. While the design had to comply with the overarching architectural guidelines of the Crossway’s development CMAI Architects managed the building design. Its success demonstrates that green technology can be applied to almost any home without restraining or sacrificing architectural design. House Rhino has incorporated the Aruba building system into the construction. This product produces high insulation properties, R-values, acoustic dampening and offers a vastly accelerated speed of construction. This building product was specifically selected because of its inherent insulation properties. The use of this passive material is far more energy efficient than the use of a cavity wall built with standard stock bricks. By insulating passive components of the building such as the walls, less energy is consumed to actively heat and cool the habitable space. Aruba blocks, as opposed to traditional brick offer not only vastly accelerated construction time, but also a threefold improvement in insulation value due to its’ own insulation properties and thus reduces the need for on-going heating and cooling, this is aided by Enviro-Tuff roofing

Utility Room - Mains Distribution Box on left - Building Management System Control on right



HOUSE RHINO insulation as well as double glazed doors and windows throughout the building. The house has a bedroom and living space linked via the kitchen, which leads out onto a courtyard. The link between the two wings has a green roof with recycled plastic planting boxes for growing vegetables assisting with the insulation of this roof area passively and creating food security, water conservation and energy generation were central to the design. The roof garden, located above the kitchen will ultimately provide sufficient fresh vegetables to sustain up to four families. Access to the garden is by way of a ladder located on the eastern side of the lounge area. Situated on the roof garden is a specially designed thermal tower. This structure assists the stacking effect of warm air rising to the highest point, which in turn assists the building to cool down passively. On windless days unwanted warm air is removed via an automated extractor fan, and electrically actuated windows. In line with recently promulgated regulations, House Rhino makes full use of every opportunity to harvest rain water. This vital natural resource is stored in tanks with a total capacity of 30 000 litres. After being treated with ozone and filtered through an ultra filter, the water is pumped back into the house for drinking and bathing.

Rooftop vegetable garden


Filtration System for Drinking Water Supply

Hot water is heated by way of two flat solar panels backed up by a heat pump and circulated via a ring man to all bathrooms. A heat pump will take care of all hot water requirements on all overcast days. House Rhino, however, takes this concept further. Throughout the home water-based under floor heating and cooling is provided by means of over one and a half kilometers of specialized piping. The facility extends to all rooms and living area with the sole exception of the garage. On demand either hot or cold water can be passed through the pipes and so create an entirely comfortable living environment for each season. The water is heated via solar water heating panels, the fireplace and heat pump. Assisting with the water cleansing process, water is filtered through a series of three water aqua gardens, which contain natural rocks, recycled bricks and additional media. Bacteria attaches itself to the surface of these materials as the water passes from one aqua garden to the next via natural gravity feed. The filtered water progresses through the system to the pool providing a natural system for this feature. The aqua-gardens all form a part of the swimming pool filtration providing a natural eco system and chemical free swimming pool that circulates 24 hours a day. The driveway at house rhino comprised of pervious concrete system known as Hydromedia. The material offers an excellent flow rate that allows rain water from the rian G R E E N HOME




Free & unlimited water supply - when it rains

• •

Store rainwater accessed from roof Rainwater filtered prior to entering the tank








Uninterrupted water supply - fit for consumption Tank filled with municipal water Pump from tank back into main water supply






















Size pump required will vary based on the specific requirement

Rainwater Harvesting

Municipal Back up

Roof p/m2

Tank Size

50 - 100 200 - 400

750L - 2 200L 2500L - 10 000L

People Litres

3 2 1 4 5 150 300 450 600 750

Size = L p/day X total days back up required



Bracket 1

Bracket 2























HOUSE RHINO and driveway to drain through the surface. The water passes through the hydromedia, over the LDP underlay to the collection site and is then directed through a series of cleansing filters and on to the tanks located at the utility room. A secondary filtration system has also been implemented, where all black water, along with organic kitchen and garden waste, is fed through an Agama biogas digester. The natural gas produced from this process is used for cooking and delivers enough gas for four hours’ of cooking time per day. The grey water meets up with the black water after the bio-digester where it then all gets treated through a trickle filter and a further reed bed system and thereafter in the utility room goes through a number of filtering stages before being re-used for toilet flush back to the home, irrigation for the garden and top up for the aqua-gardens. All taps and showerheads are water and energy efficient, thus lowering water consumption and energy. All towel rails are heated via the under floor s heating ystem. With the exception of toilet bowls and pool tiles, House Rhino is devoid of all ceramic products. All baths and basins are constructed with concrete and then hand polished to a high gloss finish. Adding to the context of low maintenance, all floor surfaces of House rhino are constructed of self compacting concrete and polished. After the underfloor heating a cooling piping was laid and tested, the SCC core followed. Once set, the diamond bit floor polishing began and this resulted in a sparkling surface that will last a lifetime. Recycled materials have been used extensively all throughout the construction of house Rhino. Over 205 square meters of decking surrounds the residence. The decking composed of reground plastic and timber is maintenance free and requires no more than the occasional brush or hose down. Natural rock salvaged from the building site has been incorporated into the creation of the front entrance wall, aqua garden and lower boundary walls. In the bedrooms, counter tops and draws are constructed with shutterboard and skinned with stucco to create a pleasing rustic finish. In the lounge, the entertainment unit, also a shutterboard construction has been given the same treatment. The air purification system pumps clean, fresh air through to the sleeping areas of house rhino. This fan, located in the utility room, ensures that clean air circulates through the areas continuously. In the bar room, the countertop and work surface areas are of hardwearing polished concrete, eliminating time-consuming maintenance concerns. The wine cooler is provided with cooling via cold water circulating through the cast concrete. A six and half thousand little salt water aquarium is located outside the western wall of the bar. Illumination of the tank is by way of a polycar skylight.

House Rhino is powered by roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels with a bank of zeromaintenance batteries charged by inverters with all surplus energy feeding back into the grid. The building is energy positive and generates more energy than it consumes and is able to run off the batteries for up to 2 days. Further panels power the pool pump during daylight hours and active and passive energy saving is achieved through LED lighting and energy-saving taps and shower heads. In the winter months the house is kept warm with under floor heating through solar heated and stored water, along with water heating from the fireplace and a dual purpose heat pump that heats the water for the under floor heating. At the same time it cools water that is stored and used to cool the wine fridge in the bar room coupled with running the air conditioner. In summer, cooling of the house is achieved through a thermal tower that extracts warm air via the highest point passively, as well as through cross ventilation via doors and strategically placed windows. This is aided by the aqua-gardens providing cool humid air inflow as well as a high pressure fogging system providing atomized water droplets down to 10 microns around all the veranda areas creating evaporative cooling Recycled materials have been used extensively throughout the house to ensure the house retains its sustainable feel. The materials have been included within the decking, natural rock features, cupboards and counters made from shutterboard, concrete baths, basins, polished concrete flooring and counter-tops. House Rhino is an autonomous, functional and modern family home that not only applies sustainability at a whole new level but also successfully shows that building an entire environmentally friendly home, as opposed to with some sustainability solutions, is both possible and affordable.

Utility Room with Heat Exchanger Tank installed

Ozone and filtration system

Water Pumps and Heat-Exchanger Storage Tank





nvironment Response Architecture (ERA Architects) were approached by a client with a very exciting and challenging request. The client wanted a Johannesburg home that has a unique and intriguing look, but most importantly could also function if the Johannesburg municipality should fail completely; a luxury home that offered comfortable living no matter what the weather. Each element of house Jones has been designed to not only have an exciting appearance but to serve a purpose. This



building has environmental issues at its heart. The consideration of sun protection, solar radiation, energy and water consumption, landscaping and sustainable systems have all been considered and carefully integrated into an architectural aesthetic. The result is a home that is comfortable, efficient, sustainable and most of all unique. Although designed around the principles of climate responsive design, comfort, and water conservation, this building has used these design methodologies to create an aesthetic that is still guided by the traditional architectural ideas of composition, symmetry,

hierarchy and progression. Nevertheless it challenges conventional ideas of domestic architecture and offers a new ‘‘green aesthetic’’. The primary concept of the design is the mediation between interior and exterior spaces. To this end, a second envelope of planted steel structures creates individual ‘‘green bubbles’’ of tempered microclimates for each living space to open onto. These provide cooler intermediary spaces in summer and sunny protected areas that collect warmth in winter. The results are mediating spaces that naturally pre–condition the air that enters and circulates into the home. The same-planted



Image by Barry Golman

steel framework concept is used for solar shading and results in a living cladding that almost envelops the entire northern façade. The building is able to change in appearance and environmental response as the seasons transform the surrounding landscape. The resultant aesthetic caused by this design strategy is unusual and ever changing. The stepped footprint of the building allows the penetration of the morning winter sun into the living spaces, while blocking out the harsh afternoon sun. This stepping of the buildings also allows for the form to be fragmented into a more visually interesting series of smaller volumes. The

smaller volumes produce a structural efficiency with small spans across simple load bearing walls. The individual volumes allow varying roof heights above each space and create a visually interesting profile through simple, efficient forms. A triple volume entrance hall defines the spirit of space and abundance of the house. The staircase rises in the volume to a double height glazed window facing north through planted solar shading. On the south side another double height window affords soft natural light to flood the house. The house has a comprehensive energy strategy; with a sealed and efficient thermal

envelope, and carefully arranged passive solar gain. A sophisticated solar energy system provides all heating requirements. An extensive photovoltaic array is installed. Summer cooling is by effective solar shading and supplemented with direct evaporative cooling. These have been integrated into the architectural aesthetic through the stone chimneys that mirror the planted ‘‘green chimneys’’ that temper the external microclimate bubbles. The house collects all available rain water and recycles its waste water in a garden wetlands system. Only three potable taps are fed with filtered municipal water, all other water is produced G R E E N HOME



Image by Barry Golman

by the intensive water conservation and recycling strategies. The garden wetlands and storage dam create another microclimate that encourages biodiversity and a restorative approach to urban dwelling. Reducing construction waste and site contamination The sustainability aim started from the very beginning of the building process as during the construction of the building several

strategies were used to reduce pollution, waste and strain on the environment. The existing house was carefully soft-stripped, and all reusable materials were reclaimed and donated to charity. This included all electrical and sanitary fittings, windows, doors, cupboards, roof coverings and timbers. Paving blocks were also reclaimed from the existing house and incorporated into the new paving design. All remaining masonry was crushed on site and used in three ways:

Image by Barry Golman



•  Over-excavated foundation trenches were back filled and compacted prior to casting foundations for geotechnical reasons. •  Surface bed back filling and leveling; and •  Paving subsoil back filling and leveling This all meant no waste was carted off the site from the existing building. Environmental management clauses in the contract resulted in reduced GHG emissions and pollution of the site and surrounding area during construction; •  Soil had to be protected with a sealed lining in mixing areas from contamination during construction while using cement and other contaminating products. •  Minimal storm water runoff was allowed to leave the site. •  Waste generated during construction had to be minimised and sorted on site for recycling. •  Substances such as paints, solvents, sealants, adhesives etc… had to be low toxicity and low VOC, and a special sealed area was created for washing tools and equipment. •  Water used on site for washing, irrigation etc… had to be minimised through conservation and recycling. All top soil under the new house footprint was removed and carefully preserved during house construction. All existing trees and vegetation were identified and carefully protected during construction. All the stored top soil and existing vegetation was then re-used in the new landscaping design. The site was subdivided

Image by Barry Golman

HOUSE JONES which assists urban densification. Building materials were chosen based on longevity, low maintenance, low embodied energy, high recyclability and minimal transport distances to site. All paints, solvents, adhesives etc. were selected based on low toxicity and low VOC. Reducing water consumption Rainwater harvesting is achieved in two stages: 1. Roof level rainwater is collected for nonpotable use in the house 2. Paving runoff and subsoil drainage is collected directly in the storage dam and used for irrigation. Collected rainwater is stored in 40,000 litres of surface storage tanks on site. The collected rainwater is filtered and used for non-potable purposes in the house. Council water is filtered separately and delivered to 3 “potable” taps in the house. A borehole was sunk and the water tested. The borehole is intended to be used as

sparingly as possible, and only tops up the on site storage to the minimal amout, while waiting for the rain to fill up the storage systems. All wastewater generated in the house is treated on site in a 3 phase anaerobic tank and an aerobic digester system. Clarified water is then fed through a wetland to further polish the water before being stored in a dam and used for irrigation. Nutrients from the wastewater are used as fertigation in the irrigation system. All the recycled water & collected ground level rainwater is collected in a 60,000 litre storage dam to be used during the dry season. The dam is designed to have its level vary from dry to wet season as the water is stored and used as required. Energy Conservation House Jones is designed to maximize natural daylighting and reduce the need for artificial lighting. All light fittings are low energy LED and all ovens and stoves use gas instead of

Image by Leon Krige

Image by Ken Stucke

Image by Barry Golman

electricity to reduce power consumption. All domestic water heating uses solar thermal energy with a heat pump as backup. During winter the house is heated by an underfloor heating system that uses solar thermal energy. A Photovoltaic system meets the house’s needs during the daytime; any excess energy is fed into the national grid. Intelligent Inverters control the power drawn from and fed into the national grid. The inverters shut off power in any event of the National feed being interrupted as a safety measure. No electrical batteries were used because of their environmental hazards in production and destruction and their limited lifespan. The house effectively uses the National grid as a battery. An automatic start-up generator is installed to supply the house in the event of a National power outage. A UPS provides clean, uninterrupted power to carry the various intelligence systems built into the house (that control space heating & cooling, irrigation and lighting systems) over the period between a power outage and the backup generator coming online; about 20 seconds. The house was wired with three different circuit types: • Non-essential services that do not operate in the event of a power outage. G R E E N HOME


Water in South Africa A

s with many developing countries, water demand is likely to increase with improved wealth of the nation, and one estimate by the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation puts the water deficit at 1.7% by 2025. South Africa is a semi-arid country, characterized by its average annual rainfall of less than 500 mm, which is half the amount received by the rest of the world. With an ever-increasing population and limited surface water availability, South Africa is also classified as water scarce because available water per capita stands at approximately 1 000 m3/person/year. South Africa’s large dams already capture more than 70% of the mean total run-off and only have a total capacity of 32 400 million m3. The debate as to how many more dams can be built has already started - South Africa currently has 569 large dams.

South Africa’s increased water demand is driven mainly by economic activity and standard of living. This means that it is in the power of every South African to solve our country’s water crisis by reducing our daily water consumption and becoming more efficient with the way we use water. Water Wise campaigns for a more water-efficient South Africa, where every individual respects, conserves and treats water as the incredibly precious and finite resource that it is. The fundamental Water Wise principles are: respect water and respect life, don’t waste water, don’t pollute water, pay for your water services, take action, and conserve water and conserve the environment. Without sufficient water, our country faces economic, social and environmental hardships. Make a difference. Be Water Wise. and click on the Water Wise logo FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON WATER WISE, PLEASE CONTACT US ON: 0860 10 10 60

HOUSE JONES The Green bubbles create “warmer bubbles” during winter by protecting the spaces from cold night sky radiation. Solar thermal heated water up to 90°C is circulated through a 1000 litre storage tank that acts as a heat battery. The lower temperature water from the bottom of the tank heats underfloor heating system. A solar powered system delivers hot water all year round. The higher temperature water from the top of the heat storage tank heats domestic water supply. The hot water supply runs in a well insulated ring main, circulated by a pump on a timer to keep the hot water available at any point in the house in a matter of seconds. This saves energy and water.

Images by Ken Stucke

• Essential services fed by the generator in the event of a power outage. • Critical services fed by the UPS that operate without interruption in the event of a power outage Biodiversity The landscaping was designed as a natural ecosystem. The water strategy on the site calls for wetlands and cascading rock waterfalls to oxygenate the water while it is being recycled and treated. A circulation pump powers the oxygenated strategy. Indigenous plants and fish were introduced to kick start the ecology. Frogs and birds began discovering the natural system and colonizing it immediately. The planting has been designed to create many areas where various animals, birds and insects can make a home. The variety of environments in terms of plant species and climatic factors make for many different characteristics of ecosystems and microclimates where much biodiversity can flourish. The planted screens around the house create their own individual microclimates/ these vary in quality and characteristics slightly, depending on what planted species are used. This also leads to more diversity of ecology and environment, further encouraging A variety of different species to come and make the house their home. Use of renewable Energy: Space Heating System Passive systems and low energy active components are used to achieve thermal comfort in winter.

Ken Stucke and his firm ERA Architects, which stands for Environment Response Architecture, proposes green architecture that encompasses the three pillars of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental sustainability. House Jones in Johannesburg, South Africa is a perfect example of this environmentally aware approach to design, where sun protection, solar radiation, energy and water consumption, landscaping and sustainable home automation are carefully integrated to create a unique, attractive and sustainable home.

Cooling System The house is cooled by both passive and active ventilation strategies: Generally the home can operate on simple cross ventilation, but on extremely hot days, evaporative coolers on top of the chimneys deliver cool air through the stone towers to the interior spaces as required. Sun angles were used to position planted facades that shade the internal spaces during summer. The “green bubbles” on the northern façade of the house shades the internal space and temper the outside air, creating cool, comfortable spaces during the summer for the house to open onto. Adjacent to the stone chimneys are “green” planted chimneys that use atomized sprayers to cool the surrounding sir, enhancing the cooling effect of the green bubbles, while irrigating the plants.

Image by Barry Golman

Carefully calculated sun angles allow direct winter insulation to heat the spaces. The deciduous plans allow more insulation into the house during winter. The structure of the bilding is a high thermal resistance envelope which has been carefully detailed to allow minimal ex-filtration.

During the night the stone ventilation chimneys invert their operation and extract warm air from the building. Replacement cool night air is drawn through the windows on the south side of the building and cools the thermal mass of the structure preparing it to absorb the heat generated the next day. G R E E N HOME





assive design is design that takes advantage of the climate to maintain a comfortable temperature range in the home. Passive design reduces or eliminates the need for auxiliary heating or cooling, which accounts for about 40% (or much more in some climates) of energy use in the average home. The importance of passive design cannot be overstated. Paying attention to the principles of good passive design suitable for your climate effectively ‘locks in’ thermal comfort, low heating and cooling bills, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions for the life span of your home. Passive design utilises natural sources of heating and cooling, such as the sun and cooling breezes. It is

achieved by appropriately orientating your building on its site and carefully designing the building envelope (roof, walls, windows and floors of a home). Well-designed building envelopes minimise unwanted heat gain and loss. Furthermore, passive, naturally ventilated buildings have potential to provide more pleasant and healthier environments for the occupants compared to their mechanically ventilated counterparts. The most economical time to achieve good passive design in a home is when initially designing and building it. However, substantial renovations to an existing home can also offer a cost effective opportunity to upgrade thermal comfort — even small upgrades can deliver significant improvements. If you’re buying a new home or apartment, assess its prospects for thermal comfort

and/or ability to be cost effectively upgraded to reflect good passive design principles in its climate. For best results, ‘passive’ homes need ‘active’ users — people with a basic understanding of how the home works with the daily and seasonal climate, such as when to open or close windows, and how to operate adjustable shading. A number of different and interrelated strategies contribute to good passive design. Design for climate Good passive design ensures that the occupants remain thermally comfortable with minimal auxiliary heating or cooling in the climate where they are built. Identifying your climate zone and gaining an understanding of the principles of G R E E N HOME


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thermal comfort helps you make informed design choices for your home. Solar access is fundamental to passive design. It involves letting sun in during cooler months to provide warmth, while keeping summer sun out to prevent overheating. This is achieved through orientation and location on the site, room layout, window placement/sizing, and shading. Solar access works with other passive design features such as insulation, thermal mass and ventilation to maintain reasonably stable temperatures. Although in this article we look at a number of aspects seperately in order to explain the key principles, in reality of course they must be considered together. The specific features appropriate for any particular building will depend on local conditions such as siting and climate, as well as other factors such as client requirements. Passive solar heating and cooling Being passive isn’t always a bad thing, especially when it’s passive solar heating and cooling. The idea behind passive solar is to design buildings that take advantage of natural heat from the sun in winter; and shade and wind and in the summer. Passive solar, on it’s most basic level, works like this: Rays from the sun enter a building through

windows, heat the air and are absorbed by floors, walls, furniture, etc. Some materials, such as stone, brick and plaster, more effectively absorb the heat. As the air cools at night, the absorbed heat releases into the building and maintains a comfortable temperature. To make maximum advantage of the sun’s energy for heating: •  maximise the area available for north-facing windows – for example by using a fairly shallow floor plan with an east-west orientation •  use large (usually floor to ceiling) north-facing windows to maximise solar access •  have the solar energy from the north-facing windows land on thermal mass (such as a dark-coloured hard flooring) to absorb and store solar energy before releasing it as temperatures drop •  use minimal south-facing glazing (to reduce heat loss) •  design east- and west-facing glazing carefully to reduce heat loss in winter as well as reducing glare in summer •  use isulating glass units to minimise heat loss through windows •  use high levels of insulation to retain heat. •  minimise unwanted air infiltration and draughts by including airlocks at entry points and ensuring that doors and windows are well sealed.

Just like passive heating, cooling your building using passive strategies is important for reducing energy usage in your building. Specifically, utilizing passive cooling strategies like natural ventilation, air-cooling, and shades can reduce your demand for mechanical cooling while maintaining thermal comfort Where overheating may be a problem, passive cooling and ventilation features will be required. The key elements of passive cooling are: •  minimising solar gain when it is not wanted (through window design and shading) •  taking advantage of natural ventilating flow to provide cooling •  using insulation to prevent heat gain •  using thermal mass to absorb day-time heat, keeping the building cool (at night, ventilation can be used to remove any unwanted heat). To prevent unwanted solar gain: •  place windows to minimise unwanted midday and afternoon solar gain – in particular, reduce the size of west-facing windows to avoid late-afternoon overheating and glare •  use eaves or external shading such as sun screens or deciduous trees to control prevent solar gain during warmer periods (such as summer afternoons) To provide natural ventilation: •  use building orientation– turn the building to maximise the efficiency of natural ventilation openings •  provide openings on opposite sides of the building to facilitate through-flow of breezes •  use an open floor plan to facilitate throughflow of breezes (but check for the impact this may have on winter heating requirements). Shading Shading of your house and outdoor spaces reduces summer temperatures, improves comfort and saves energy. Direct sun can generate the same heat as a single bar radiator over each square metre of a surface. Effective shading — which can include eaves, window awnings,



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THERMAL COMFORT mass must be used appropriately. Poor use can exacerbate the worst extremes of the climate, radiating heat on a hot summer night or absorbing all the heat you produce on a winter night. Good use of thermal mass moderates indoor temperatures by averaging day−night temperature extremes. To be effective, thermal mass must be integrated with good passive design techniques appropriate for the climate. Although this is most easily done during construction or renovation, in many circumstances thermal mass can also be retrofitted.

shutters, pergolas and plantings — can block up to 90% of this heat. Shading of glass to reduce unwanted heat gain is critical, as unprotected glass is often the greatest source of heat gain in a house. However, poorly designed fixed shading can block winter sun. By calculating sun angles for your location, and considering climate and house orientation, you can use shading to maximise thermal comfort.

A well-insulated and well-designed home provides year-round comfort, cutting cooling and heating bills by up to half and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Climatic conditions determine the appropriate level of insulation as well as the most appropriate type to choose — bulk, reflective or composite. The most economical time to install insulation is during construction.

Glazing Glazed windows and doors bring in light and fresh air and offer views that connect interior living spaces with the outdoors. However, they can be a major source of unwanted heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. Up to 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost and up to 87% of its heat gained through glazing. These thermal performance problems can be largely overcome by selecting the right glazing systems for your orientation and climate, and considering the size and location of window openings in your design.

Thermal mass Thermal mass is the ability of a material to absorb and store heat energy. A lot of heat energy is needed to change the temperature of high-density materials such as concrete, bricks and tiles: these materials have high heat storage capacity and are therefore said to have high thermal mass. Lightweight materials such as timber have low thermal mass. Use of materials with high thermal mass throughout your home can save significantly on heating and cooling bills, but thermal

Skylights Skylights cut down on the earth’s emissions and the need for electric lighting naturally. Using daylight not only reduces energy costs and consumption, but also reduces the demand for unsustainable power that is currently challenging the health of the world’s environment. •  Solar energy is an unlimited resource. •  Solar energy does not produce harmful emissions or require transportation or pipelines like electric energy does. •  Solar water heating systems installed in the U.S. help reduce our household energy consumption, and the nation’s reliance on toxic fossil fuels. Skylights help balance the light in the room, reducing glare and transforming living areas in more open, safer spaces. With skylights, you will save money through lower energy bills. High quality, energy efficient skylights are an important part of building today’s green homes. Skylights, roof windows and Sun Tunnels reduce lighting costs and energy consumptions. Venting skylights minimize the need for air conditions and fans during warmer months. An electric venting skylight will open to produce a “passive air conditioner.”Through the chimney or exhaust effect they create, the warm air is drawn up through the venting skylight, providing a cooling effect and fresh air throughout the house.

Sealing your home Air leakage accounts for 15–25% of winter heat loss in buildings and can contribute to significant loss of ‘coolth’ in climates where air conditioners are used. Sealing your home against air leaks is one of the simplest upgrades you can undertake to increase your comfort while reducing energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions. The more extreme your climate, the more beneficial sealing is, with the exception of naturally ventilated homes in the tropics. Insulation Insulation acts as a barrier to heat flow and is essential for keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer. It can also help with weatherproofing and soundproofing.



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It’s hard to survive the summer months in South Africa without internal air conditioning. By Oluthando Keteyi


ummer heat can reach unbearable proportions, especially when your building is without air circulation. Air conditioners have become almost essential, producing the desired cooling effect on those hot, summer days. Could air conditioners be doing more harm than good in terms of our environment and even in terms of our bodies, however? Buildings are required to meet certain standards, which are in accordance with the Building standards, in terms of air conditioning and ventilation. Green buildings should be designed and built in such a way that there is no requirement for air conditioners; instead, natural ventilation should occur. Building standards require buildings to have a circulation of quality air, not recycled ventilation. The health of the occupants is paramount, and a lack of ventilation can lead to illness. Air

conditioners are designed to remove heat to the outside by doing this its brings cool air into the room. There are three types of air conditioning; •  Window Air Conditioning •  Split Air Conditioning •  Central Air Conditioning Window Air Conditioning or room air conditioners tend to be more energy-efficient, as the air does not circulate through an entire building, but instead, focuses on one area in a building. It is usually a single box, which comprises various components such as a compressor, coil and condenser. This type of AC system is easy to install and are more commonly used in smaller buildings and these are, on occasion, are placed with the face of the AC facing the inside and the exterior on the outside of the building.

Split Air Conditioning, as the name states, comes with two components: an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. This type of cooling system can be used to cool more than one room at a time. The indoor unit is placed inside the room, while the outside unit can either be planted on the ground or be attached to the wall of the building. The advantage of split air conditioning is that it does not require a lot of manpower in terms of installation, as it uses electrical wires instead of ductwork. Components found in the outside unit are a cooling coil, air filter and a long blower. The indoor unit has condenser coil, compressor and expansion oil. The split air conditioner’s performance is also dependent on the type of brand one opts for—certain brands have a higher performance than others. Split air conditioners are being designed to take up less space and look more appealing. An added benefit is that they are not noisy. G R E E N HOME


The South African Federation of Hospital Engineering

SAFHE, is a national multi-disciplinary association for the

promotion and development of healthcare building design and engineering in Southern Africa. Established in 1977,

SAFHE welcomes health planners, managers, nurses, doctors, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and project managers from both public and private sectors into a community of practice.


is a national multi-disciplinary voluntary association. SAFHE is registered with the Engineering Council South Africa (ECSA)

SAFHE is conngured into regional branches, with a membership

totalling over 500 and programmes geared to local interests. Talks, seminars, discussions and workshops take place regularly on a variety of subjects.

SAFHE promotes and develops better healthcare building design

and engineering

SAFHE is an “A� member of the International Federation of Hospital Engineering and has participated extensively in Council meetings, including serving on its Executive Committee.

For more details visit:


Central Air Conditioning is most commonly used in large buildings. The system works in such a way that it first cools and purifies the air before it’s circulated throughout the building. Central air conditioning is a split system as one unit is placed on the inside of the building and one on the outside. This is a heavier system as it is operated with a heating system and ductwork. It’s designed for larger buildings as it runs on large amounts of electrical power and does not make a lot of noise. In larger buildings, we often find that air builds up and does not provide comfort for the occupants—a system such as central AC is very beneficial as it provides thermal comfort as well as purified air. It may not be energy-efficient due to the differenct temperatures experienced within a building, and to regulate this requires the system to use a lot of energy. Each system has its own benefits and it is crucial that one takes into account the specific needs of one’s home or business. It is important that one looks at the various advantages and disadvantages in terms of energy-efficiency, cost and human comfort.

energy efficiency so it is important that once a month you replace your filter to keep your air clean. It is also wise to keep the compressor and condenser clear of any obstruction to get a better flow of air. Air conditioners depends on a lot of energy to operate and at times it's not the best for the environment and can be costly. Solutions are being developed to provide air conditioning systems using technology that is more energy efficient. With advancements of smartphones one is able to control they air conditioning system using your own cellphone. A major development in air conditioning systems according to AchrNews, is the NEST Learning Thermostat, a system that educates itself to your preferred temperatures; it turns

itself off when you leave the room and sets the temperature according to day or night. Homeowners can opt to get a mini-split system for their homes. This system uses little or no ductwork. Ductless cooling provides better energy efficiency, and helps one to reduce their carbon footprint. This system is able to reduce dust, bacteria, and pollen through its filtration stage. The saying 'bigger is better' is not necessarily true when it comes to air conditioners. It is important to purchase the correct size for your building. A large air conditioning system in a large home will be an unnecessary cost. It will not operate in the correct manner that it is meant to, as it will not perform at its best and will leave you feeling rather cold and clammy instead of providing comfort and a cooling temperature. There are many factors that influence ones' choice of size of their system Here are a few according to Energy Rating •  Whether you are looking to heat/cool a single room, a larger space or your entire home •  Size of room/home (including ceiling height); •  External wall materials; •  Insulation levels; and •  How many windows you have, their glazing, shading and orientation. An air-cooling systems definitely come in handy during the summer season, however it is important to purchase a model that will be energy efficient and light on the pocket. We have looked at the basic air conditioners on the market and their pros and cons, and we can agree that one needs to look at their own personal needs before purchasing. As technology advances so are air- cooling systems; so be sure to be on the lookout for new trends available on the market.

Advantages of air conditioning •  Prevents dehydration •  Improves the quality of air •  Helps to reduce asthma and allergies Disadvantages •  Skin dryness •  Aggravation of respiratory problems •  Respiratory tract infections and allergies Source: It is important to maintain your system in a good manner. Most people experience problems with their systems when one does not maintain it well. A dirty air filter can significantly reduce AC






ith the increased awareness around sustainable habits coupled with the ongoing water crisis in South Africa, domestic pool owners continue to be urged to take steps to reduce water consumption in the home. Considering that pools are one of the biggest consumers of domestic water, it makes sense to start by covering the pool as a means to keep water in the pool rather than having to top up throughout summer, according to PowerPlastics Pool Covers. Last year, South Africa received its lowest rainfall since 1904. Water levels are still dropping by as much as one percent every week. Statistics show the dam levels in the Western Cape are still too low, even at the end of the wet winter, and the Vaal River system is struggling too, all impacted by the El Niño phenomenon. “Earlier this year, there were signs of a bumper summer rainfall season in 2016 based on a La Niña event occurring but that has been downgraded and is not expected to bring as much rain as first thought, if it forms at all. Municipal restrictions are now in place in many provinces, and urban supply in parts of Gauteng will soon be reduced by as much as 15 percent, with the same limitations in Nelson Mandela Bay, parts of the Free State and Mpumalanga. In short, we need to give nature a hand and start using a lot less water in our pools!” says Carolyn Idas of PowerPlastics Pool Covers. The implications of maintaining swimming pools during a drought still tend to be largely overlooked. Pools and gardens alone can account for up to 60% of water consumed in the home. Worse still, this is mostly treated water, a process that consumers pay for in their municipal rates, going into pools. By covering a pool, water evaporation is almost entirely prevented. During a long hot summer, the amount of water lost from an average pool is astounding. “One of our Cape Town customers recently shared her water bill with us. During the summer, her pool was used daily therefore she opted to leave her pool uncovered, but was topping up every few days in order to keep her pump running. When the weather started to cool down in April/May, she recovered her pool with her EnergyGuard thermal cover and the figures speak for themselves. Her home’s water consumption went from 27.00 kilolitres in March/April to 17.00 kilolitres in April/May. She went from Tariff 4 prices down to Tariff 3 prices and saved 37 percent on her water bill.

No other habits changed in her home so the savings can be directly attributed to the use of her pool cover. (see illustration) “This may seem like a small saving but consider this scenario replayed over 12 months and apply it to every pool in South Africa, and you’re talking a massive amount of water saved annually. Furthermore, once our customer recovered her pool and shut it down for the winter, she also stopped filtering and chemical treatments. Her pool required very little effort to get it ready for the new season. Suffice to say, this summer she will be re-covering her pool after swimming every day!” says Idas. Because a pool cover with a dark underside, such as the EnergyGuard, prevents algae and keeps debris out the pool, chlorine input can be scaled back too. Not only is this a financial saving, it means that the pool water can also be used in the home when you cap your allowance or slide into the more expensive tariffs. Think of a covered pool as a large reservoir with a backup supply of water for the bathroom and kitchen, not just a place for fun and exercise. “It sounds too good to be true – a pool that receives minimal chemicals and doesn’t go green, yet yields water clean enough for the home, but it is possible!” says Idas. The other side of the water crisis that we don’t always consider in our daily lives is the economic impact. So many sectors are affected by water shortages and it’s no secret that food prices go up when water is short. Agricultural production is also affected and poor supply leads to a reliance on imported alternatives. “Every way you look at it, water is life. Without it, the fundamentals of society are directly impacted and the results of a community living with limited water are far reaching,” concludes Idas. A re c e n t c o m m u n i t y awareness video by PowerPlastics Pool Covers called

“I am your pool water” can be viewed on Youtube. It’s guaranteed to make you think about pool water differently! (https://www. PowerPlastics Pool Covers supplies a comprehensive range of water- and powersaving pool covers as well as child safety covers across South Africa. Also available are entry level covers such as LeafNets and Solid PVC covers with hooks and eyelets. The upper level of the range includes chic automatic and solar-powered slatted covers for the designer home. Learn more at Watch out for the new PowerPlastics Pool Covers online shopping portal, rolling out in late 2016.




THE SCARY TRUTH ABOUT SWIMMING POOLS The heat of summer is upon us but, before you dive into swimming pool ownership, take a moment to reflect on what lies beneath… By Danica Tobin


ummer days are fast approaching and the luxury of a swimming pool is the perfect remedy for the hot weather. However, HWP’s (Homeowners Without Pools) aren’t always aware of certain headaches that pool ownership brings with it. Some people only see the relaxation benefit, as well as the value that a swimming pool will add to your property… but are you aware of the headaches that the pool salesman ‘forgot’ to mention? Be honest - at least everyone has a friend or family member that has people flocking to his or her home on a scorching summers day to enjoy their pool. Besides the affordability issue, people don’t feel the need to be unnecessarily hassled with the burden of having to maintain a pool. With the climatical and economical changes we are experiencing within South Africa, having a pool can be seen as a high-maintenance luxury. This is due to the grip of drought we are facing, not to mention the high cost and unpredictability of our electricity source. Energy Pools account for up to 11% of your monthly electricity bill according to Eskom. Energy is



constantly required, for pumping water through the filter to keep your pool water clean and safe to swim in. Pool heating, cleaning appliances, pool lights, and chlorine or salt water sanitation treatment systems also require additional energy. In attempting to manage the manner in which energy is utilised there are various aspects pool owners should introduce. During winter, try to reduce the number of hours your pool pump runs by reducing the number of times you run the filtration system. Research has shown that, in order to keep your pool clean, pool pumps only need to run for between four to six hours per day. During summer, the general rule is that pools should be cycled twice in a 24-hour cycle. In order to reduce filtering time, it is highly advisable that pool owners should consider investing in a pool cover for the colder months, when the swimming pool is not used as often. This will stop leaves, dirt and debris from entering the swimming pool. Regularly maintain your pool by cleaning its filter at regular intermissions throughout the year will be crucial in improving the water flow. In order to eradicate the garbage that the filter misses, brush the floor and walls of the pool. Areas with the smallest circulation should be washed at least once a week. In improving

the energy usage of your pool pump, make consistent pool maintenance a priority. Be a team player and do your bit to decrease the demand pressure on the national power grid. Set your pool pump outside the hours of 5pm9pm, when electricity usage in residential areas is at its peak. Water South Africa is a water-scarce country, as we struggle to supply an efficient amount of water across Africa. 'The impact of residential swimming pools on household water demand and found that, on average, the presence of a swimming pool increased water demand by 8.85 kℓ/ month or 37.36%.', according to Water SA. Bearing our water shortages in mind filling a swimming pool continuously really isn’t a good idea, but one has to due to evaporation constantly taking place leaving pool water levels very low. According the National Spa & Pool institute of South Africa, “in a single day up to 300 litres of pool water can evaporate under the harsh sun, which adds up to 30 buckets, and over a year if a swimming pool is not topped up regularly, the entire pool volume can disappear.” Water is also constantly lost due to the backwashing of pools that needs to happen

POOLS Such as goggles- to protect one’s eyes, earplugsto prevent water from entering into one’s ear and swimming caps- to ensure that no damage is done to one’s hair. In order to avoid the impact that swimming pools will have one one’s health, it may be a good option to consider switching from your normal chlorinated pool, to a salt-water pool. Why? Well simply because it is much safer and eco-friendly and mainly because salt-water pools generate chlorine as well, but it’s effects on the human body, is much milder than the usual manufactured chemicals that are found in chlorinated swimming pools.

on a regular basis. Backwashing needs to be done in order to flush out contaminants, achived by reversing the flow of the water. Backwashing only depends on the amount of times that your swimming pool is in use. Waste and Resources When it comes to waste and resources, there are two types of swimming pools that come to mind; standard chlorine pools, (these use manufactured chemicals) and salt-water pools, (which generates its own chlorine). The problem faced with standard chlorine pools is that chlorine is in itself an aggravation; therefore the quantity of chlorine added to the pool water should be used with caution. The rule of thumb offered by researchers is that; 'if you can smell the chlorine in the pool environment, there is too much of it.' The benefits of standard chlorine pools are that it breakdowns bacteria and kills microorganism that are toxic to the human body. It also tends to terminate antioxidants much faster than salt-water pools, which naturally produces its own chlorine. Many choose this method, as it is well known and cost-effective. On the surface salt-water swimming pools may seem like a good idea, but the truth is that they have just as many glitches as chlorine swimming pools, according to the Elara Industrial Corporation. The problem with salt-water pools is that, although they generates their own chlorine, once the salt-water is backwashed and released into your backyard, it will automatically kill

plants, grass and anything in nature it touches; as sodium chloride does not break down in nature, as it is very stable. The plus side to salt-water swimming pools is that it is healthier for ones skin and eyes and also tends not to become an irritant. Continuous chlorination takes places while the pool pump is running and; this leaves the pool water much softer and healthier compared to chlorine swimming pools. Its not only convenient, but also takes away the time consuming task of having to manually add chlorine to the swimming pool.

Environmental Health The problems the environment faces when it comes to swimming pools, is the fact that the water exposed to nature (plants and trees) from backwashing. The swimming pool is filled with chlorine and is harmful to the growth of plants and soil. To safeguard the environment from hazardous components, one can make use a pool test kit to check the chlorine levels, before backwashing the pool water into the garden. One can even try and implement a purification system, as stated earlier, to ensure that the water goes straight into the purification system and gets purified before touching the plants. With all this said, one cannot help but wonder if there really is a solution to the effect that swimming pools have on both the environment and the human body. It is clear that although swimming pools seem to be a great idea, it takes a lot of hard work and maintenance. So, lets keep this in mind when the summer heat wave arrives and drives us to swimming pool, to keep calm and cool down.

Human Health That this seems to be everyone’s major concern when it comes to swimming pools, and if its not, well it definitely should be. Just try and picture a public swimming pool or even your own, filled with so many bodies and picture all the germs and bacteria it comes with. Pretty gross, right? Well, unfortunately that is the sad reality and scare that comes with swimming pools. It is therefore imperative for people to be conscious of spitting into pools, and choosing not to go to the bathroom and making use of the pool instead. It is not only disgusting, but it may also affect the health of those around them. Chlorine is also a contributor to health issues, as its chemicals affect the air, which is inhaled and does damage to one’s skin, eyes and even hair. According to Chemistry About, “the human body contains 0.15% of chlorine by weight”. Making use of various pool accessories can ensure that chlorine does not affect one’s health. G R E E N HOME



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raviata Flooring is a specialised stockist and wholesaler of quality laminate and luxury vinyl flooring products for domestic and commercial applications. With over 13 years experience in the flooring industry, founded and owned by John Kirkwood, Traviata Flooring is passionate about customer service and satisfaction and due to their no-nonsense approach, have grown into one of South Africa’s largest importers and wholesalers of flooring products and systems. “Our primar y success comes from us being able to partner with the best manufacturers in the world,” says Hugh Krog, Head of Commercial Flooring. “The company is small and hands-on, and we’ve got a lot of good people, but a large part of our success is due to our ability to develop these strong partnerships and establish a good business reputation because of this.” These close links and bulk purchasing power mean that Traviata Flooring offers great value for money to all customers. The company takes care to ensure that all products are as environmentally friendly as possible. Traviata floors are scratch resistant and contain a protective surface that is stain resistant too. “Currently, we have four ranges of laminate products and four ranges of vinyl floor. Additionally, we stock a full range of accessories such as underlays, profiles and skirtings.” Available throughout South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, Traviata Flooring products are sold and installed by the company’s trained and experienced dealer network. “As impor ters, we have the luxur y of sourcing products from ver y large international companies who have dedicated design teams. All our products are sourced internationally. Currently, our laminate products are all out of a factory in Germany, and our vinyl products come from a company in the United States that has two other manufacturing plants in China,” explains Krog. “We take care in our selection process of products and we don’t compromise on quality. We pride ourselves

Hugh Krog – Head of Commercial Flooring on being market leaders within our industry. We were the first people in the country to have interlocking vinyl and we’re now the first people to introduce the new ISOCORE technology.” Recently launched to some 200 invited guests at Emperors Palace, the all new ISOCORE range completes Traviata’s vinyl flooring offering. ISOCORE represents the culmination of consultations with the global contract community—a distillation of what architects, designers, contractors and end users demand from flooring today. Combining the patented ISOCORE technology with the tried and tested 0,55mm Ceramic Bead wear layer, larger format plank and integral sound reducing backer, this range brings a whole new dimension to commercial flooring. “It’s a world first in terms of what it is. It’s no longer a solid vinyl, it actually has an extruded core, which you could describe

as being like a honeycomb, so it’s much stronger, much lighter and there are no plasticizers in it,” explains Krog. “And if you know anything about the vinyl market, everybody who has had a failure with a product, it has mostly been the result of expansion and contraction problems, so this product avoids that totally. It ’s the cutting edge of vinyl technology worldwide. It’s just been launched in the United States and we’re next in the world market.” A l l Tr a v i a t a v i n y l p r o d u c t s a r e manufactured from 100% virgin vinyl, are FloorScore® certified for indoor air quality and meet the VOC emissions requirements for use in the home, classroom, office and commercial environments. Traviata Flooring offers you quality that you can rely on—all laminate flooring products are endorsed by the South African Wood & Laminate Association. G R E E N HOME






ecause flooring has a key influence on the feel and mood of a room, it’s important to make the right choice. One has to consider how much traffic it’ll get and factor in maintenance and durability, as well as appearance, comfort and cost. With so many different kinds of flooring on the market and an influx of ‘green’ products, the decision can be quite a difficult one to make. This overview takes you through the pros and cons of hard flooring options, ceramic tiles, concrete flooring and wood laminate. Ceramic Tiles Ceramic tile is one of the most widely used materials in construction. Ceramic tile has been the preferred choice around the world for centuries due to the abundant natural materials used to make it. Ceramic tiles are generally used in interior, exterior, commercial, institutional and residential applications for floor coverings. Ceramic materials may constitute about 50% of all materials in a building and made of mineralbased natural materials including clay, sand, feldspar and other natural substances. These raw materials after suitable preparation are either pressed or extruded into the desired shape. Glaze is applied, as well as decorative treatment and fired at high temperatures in a kiln. Ceramic tiles are durable and last a life time when compared to other flooring covering materials. The ceramic tile is expected to last at least as long as the building itself if properly installed and maintained. Ceramic tiles are very hygienic and extremely easy to maintain. Simple water-based cleaning materials are all that is required for maintenance. Ceramic tile does not release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air since the tile is fired at high temperature. Therefore the tiles offer significant advantages for indoor air quality. Ceramic tile



Pressure Treated Timber er Timber with a moisture content below 20% cannot rot. This may not always be possible when used outside in exposed conditions as it requires proper application and maintenance of a suitable penetrating and water repellent wood sealer. The options are to use either naturally durable but expensive exotic hardwoods, or less costly locally grown non-durable Pine or Eucalyptus (gum) timber or poles, that have been pressure treated with a suitable wood preservative to the desired exposure or hazard class.

The H class system is a guide to help you buy the correctly treated timber for your project. Be sure to look for the required H class on the timber as well as one of the two quality marks given below.

Sustainable Timber Resource Timber is the most sustainable building product available to man. It’s naturally renewable. Over 90% of plantations grown in South Africa are FSC® certified.

Hazard classes: H2— dry interior above ground H3— exterior above ground H4— in ground contact H5— in contact with fresh water and wet soil H6— in contact with marine waters

For more information on preservative treated timber, or where to find a SAWPA member, contact us on 011 974 1061 or or visit our website at

A member of

FLOORS the price of a ceramic tile floor job by as much as 25% - 50%. Environmental impacts The most significant environment aspects associated with the production of ceramic tiles are gas emissions, water consumption and disposal of waste water, energy consumption and solid waste. • Gas emissions The production of ceramic tile results in the release of gas emissions to the environment. These gas emissions include particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, fluorine compounds, lead compounds. The gaseous emissions released during the production of ceramic tiles from the firing and drying processes are mainly derived from the ceramic raw materials and fuel used. Fuel combustion at the kilns and some dryers results in emissions of CO2, CO, SOx, NOx. These gaseous emissions cause global warming, eutrophication and other environmental impacts. Fluorine emissions produced during the firing are a result of the fluorine compounds that are present in clay. The processing of clay leads to dust formation. The fine particulates if not adequate control pose health problem to human as it can cause silicosis.

has been proven to survive fire and floods, can be installed over existing tile and salvaged or disposed of easily. Modern manufacturing techniques allow ceramic producers to make materials, which can be printed in numerous ways. Solid tiles can be mixed and matched in patterns or accented with designs or motifs. They can also be printed to credibly reproduce the look of a number of hardwoods and natural stones, and the tiles themselves can be cut and shaped into triangles, rectangles, and planks. On the negative side, the hardness of ceramic tile, while it makes it easy to clean and maintain, can also make it difficult and uncomfortable to stand on. Unlike resilient floors, hard tile ceramics cannot be softened using padded underlays. This means that these materials may not be suited to environments where people will be forced to stand for long periods of time. Ceramic tiles need to be installed using a variety of mortars, grouts, and tools. While this is something that can theoretically be done by an amateur it is a difficult, time-consuming process. In addition, making a mistake can compromise the floor causing problems down the line. For these reasons, many people choose to hire a contractor to handle the installation of ceramic floors. Unfortunately, the installation is labor intensive, so contractors will charge you a significant amount of the work. This can raise

water evaporates during the drying and firing process, while the rest constitutes the waste water. As a result, the contaminated water cannot be discharged in to the environment without severe treatment. • Energy consumption and solid waste The production of ceramic tile is a highly energy intensive process. The primary energy consumption in the production of ceramic tile is for kiln firing, followed by the drying process. Most wastes generated by ceramic tile production arise from the damaged tiles. Other wastes in the production of tiles are exhaust oils, paper, wooden pallets, plastic, metal scrap etc. Concrete Tiles Concrete tiles have a long history that dates back in the 1850s. Concrete tile are individually handmade colourful tiles by skilled artisans.

• Water consumption and disposal of waste water In the manufacture of ceramic tiles water is mainly used in the preparation of mixes and glazes and to wash production lines. Part of the





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FLOORS Concrete tiles are available in patterns and numerous colours and can be customized to suit individual design needs. The combination of beauty, durability, versatility and low maintenance has led to the re-emerge in the use of concrete tiles. Concrete tiles are suitable for commercial and residential applications on both walls and floors. They can be used either indoors or outdoors. As concrete tiles are handmade, it is important to expect slight imperfections, appearance of fine cracks, and irregular edges, which give them character and depth. Concrete tile is made from a mixture of cement, sand, natural pigment and marble powder. Unlike ceramic tile, concrete tile does not use clay, glazes or kilns but have their own ingredients and processes. The concrete tile is made up of 3 individual layers that come together to form a very solid, dense hard tile. • White Portland cement, white powdered marble, natural pigments - Provide wear resistance, colour and brightness • Fine sand, Ordinary Portland cement (OPC) - Provide compression reinforcement for heavy traffic • Solid concrete - Made to be strong and porous for impact strength before and after installation Benefits of concrete flooring include: Energy Efficiency: Concrete floors possess high thermal mass and this can be used to improve the internal environment within the dwelling and reduce the energy demand for thermal comfort. Speed of construction: Concrete floors can be constructed quickly. The adoption of concrete floor speeds the completion of the ground floor. Precast flooring systems have the added advantage of reducing the amount of labour required on site. Damp resistance: Concrete floor is nonabsorbent and hence offers sufficient resistance to dampness. This is used for water retaining floors as well as stores. Cost of maintenance: Concrete floor is easy to clean and the maintenance cost of concrete floor is very less. Fire resistance: The concrete being noncombustible material, this flooring offers a fire-resistant floor, required for fire hazardous buildings. Disadvantages to consider Defects on concrete floors are not easy to rectify and cannot be satisfactorily repaired by patchwork. Concrete does not possess very satisfying insulation properties against sound and heat. The strength and durability of this material can also be a liability. The surface of a concrete floor is very hard. If you trip and fall on one then you are probably going to hurt yourself. Items dropped on these surfaces are also more likely to shatter or crack. That is why these floors are not recommended for areas

mainly frequented by children or elderly people. If not properly sealed on both top and bottom surfaces, concrete will be very susceptible to penetration by moisture. If liquid does manage to make its way into the pores of a concrete floor, it can sit there and lead to the growth of mold or mildew in your home. In some environments you will also have to worry about the moisture freezing, which will cause it to expand and crack the floor slab through its center. Environmental impacts of concrete tile The environmental sustainability of concrete tiles is of importance. Life cycle assessment is an effective tool to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with concrete tiles. By identifying the environmental hotspots in the life cycle of concrete tiles, actions can be taken to improve the environmental problems. The entire life cycle of a concrete tiles includes raw material extraction and processing, manufacturing of the tiles, transport, installation, use of the tiles and maintenance, end of life (reuse, recycling and landfill). Concrete tiles are handmade with ingredients made from natural pigments and materials. In addition, when producing concrete tiles no firing process is required and no glaze is applied on the tile. So, no energy consumed or gaseous emissions released for kiln firing. However, concrete tile is a cementbased product and the production of cement is a very energy intensive process. Additionally, the production of cement is one of the major contributors to global warming. As a result, the production of cement is the environmental hotspot in the production of concrete tiles.

crushed and recycled as aggregate for sidewalks and roads. Actions for environmental improvement The production of cement was identified as the environmental hotspot in the production of concrete tiles. For that reason, action has to be taken to reduce the environmental impact of cement production. Cement additives such as fly-ash, blast furnace slag and silica fume should be used to partially replace OPC in order to reduce the environmental impact of cement production. The partial replacement of OPC with cement additives results in less energy use, less greenhouse gas emissions and reduced raw materials consumption and thereby also reducing the production costs of concrete tiles. Furthermore, the use of recycled materials such as crushed glass, recycled aggregates in the

End-of-life Concrete tile are made from natural ingredients and can be recycled. Concrete tile can be G R E E N HOME


FLOORS production of concrete tiles should reduce raw materials consumption. Laminate Flooring Laminate flooring is one of the most resilient and durable floor surfaces available. A relatively recent invention, it has gained in popularity due to its ease of installation, low maintenance requirements, and long life. This material can also be printed to simulate a wide variety of natural flooring materials include hardwood planks, and slate and ceramic tiles. Laminate floors combine a realistic impression of real hardwood, stone and tile with an extremely durable finish. These floors have become a popular alternative to real hardwood and vinyl floors. What Is Laminate Flooring? Laminate is a type of synthetic flooring that is made by fusing several layers of different material together using heat, pressure, and adhesive, in a process known as lamination. While laminates are often manufactured to replicate the look of a variety of hardwood surfaces, they actually contain no wood materials. Rather, they are constructed from resins and fiberboard particles. Laminate is resistant to wear and will not fade when subjected to direct sunlight or any source of artificial light. Most manufacturers back their products with 15-, 20-, 25- or 30-year warranties depending on the brand and model. Laminate flooring is also resistant to stains and all but the most extreme of impacts. This material is resistant to water (as long as spills are wiped up quickly) and, for the most part, this type of flooring is extremely easy to install, maintain, clean and repair. Also called a “floating floor,” laminate can be installed directly over your existing plywood subfloor or any other hard-surface floor, such as



hardwood, concrete or linoleum. There is very little waste when using this flooring—unlike hardwood, laminate planks have no defects or imperfections. Laminate flooring is available in a wide array of designs, so finding one suitable for your room’s decor is usually not difficult. While at one time laminate flooring was limited to hardwood-like images, modern laminate flooring is available in hardwood, stone tile or ceramic tile designs. In addition, laminate offers the homeowner the chance to enjoy a beautiful floor in the fashion of hardwood or tile at a fraction of the cost and labor. Additional Benefits Natural hardwood flooring comes in planks that are 8 or 10 feet in length, and sometimes even longer. By contrast, laminate planks that simulate hardwood are sold in convenient strips, and are also available in tile form in varying sizes. The installation of a laminate click-together floor is one of the easiest DIY flooring projects for homeowners to undertake. New innovations in the manufacture of this material have made it so you do not even need to use adhesive. You just roll down a sheet of underlayment material and then snap the planks or tiles of the floor into one another. An entire room can usually be finished in just a day or two. With the exception of carpet, laminate flooring can be installed over almost any existing floor in the home. As long as a moisture barrier is in place and water prevention measures are taken it can also be installed at any grade. This removes the hassle and expense of having to remove old flooring installations before installing new laminate materials. Laminate flooring is naturally resistant to the growth of mold and bacteria. It can also be treated with special allergen resistant and anti-bacterial coatings to make them even safer.

While laminate floors offer a host of benefits, the product isn’t without a few pitfalls. For the most part, the cons are tied to personal preferences. For example, a laminate floor is hard under foot, even with its foam underlayment. It also does not insulate a room in the way carpet or cork flooring does. Unlike hardwood flooring, laminate floors cannot be refinished as hardwood could. They have a single wear layer, and when that is damaged the individual piece needs to be replaced. Over time the wear layer on the entire floor will degrade and scratches will appear in the surface of laminate materials. When this occurs the entire floor will need to be replaced. Laminate flooring, while it may look like hardwood flooring to the naked eye across a room, is not real hardwood—which can be an issue for some people. While laminate can simulate the look of hardwood, stone, or brick perfectly, the illusion fades as soon as you feel the material with your bare hands. While embossing can provide a textural surface for laminates, the material itself has a man-made feel that makes it obvious that this is not a natural floor surface. Because of the inexpensive nature of laminate and the ease with which it is installed, it does not add much to a home’s resale value, unlike a hardwood floor. Environmental Concerns: Some environmental experts have expressed concerns over laminate materials that are made with compounds derived from formaldehyde. They claim that floors made with these materials can release volatile organic chemicals over time, which can have harmful effects on the air quality of the surrounding room. Formaldehyde exposure can produce skin allergic reactions along with reactivity in the airways.

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