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DIGIMAG

YOUR LEADER IN ECO-BUSINESS & LIFESTYLE

ISSUE 1 •  2018

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Long Valley is an eco-community nestled in a secret valley, up in the mountains, 7kms from Robertson in the Western Cape. The trustees (the farm is owned by our registered Breevlei Toe Trust) are united around an eco-ethos, living with a gentle footprint on the land and creating a healing ambience for the future. Some of us were friends already when we set out and other connections were built on the farm. Professionals from a background of teaching, engineering, publishing, natural health, coaching, ministering and yoga are learning the radical path of doing right by the earth and each other and growing food sustainably.

ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY The 93ha of open nature gives a spaciousness that allows visitors and residents to reflect, grow and heal during their time at Long Valley. Our voices have equal weight and we hear each other. Decisions translate easily into action when they come about authentically. We are offering a share of Long Valley Farm for R1.2 million.

For anyone interested in buying a share please contact Zann: zann@iafrica.com For more info on the farm visit www.longvalleyfarm.co.za call 023 626 6836 / Zann Hoad: 083 418 0980 or email Pritam: pritam.khalsa@gmail.com 3 SG


10 l 20 enta nm sm iro nali v En our ard J Aw er nn Wi

Inside

ican Afr ited uth Lim e So ies Th er Brew

News

Features

10 General 37 Water 62 Energy 70 Battery power 86 Building 96 Food

12 Is drought our new normal? 20 Stop leaks now 30 Cloud-seeding 38 SA nuclear debate 42 Renewble enrgy back on 46 Fossil fuels lose support 50 Coal power gets green light again

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Publisher

Project Manager

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Kyle Villet

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Editor Chris Erasmus

www.simplygreen.co.za • editor@simplygreen.co.za Cape Town Office • P O Box 30946, Tokai, 7966 Tel 27 (0) 21 701 1186

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editor@simplygreen.co.za

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Kevin Petersen Kevin.Petersen@anapublishing.com

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Issue 1 • 2018 Volume 11 No.1 •

Cover Image: www.pixabay.com

Lifesyle

Reviews

64 Hybrid vehicles 78 Any kind of floor 92 Eco-straws 104 Water-wise gardening

100 Food 110 General

Publishing House ANA Publishing 176 Main Road, Claremont Tel 021 683 0005 Grant Fredericks CEO ANA & ANA Publishing

Copyright Simply Green is a registered trademark and is copyright protected worldwide. Material published in Simply Green, including all artwork, may not be reproduced without the permission of the editor.

Disclaimer Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers or staff.

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5 SG

SOUTH AFRICA'S ENVIRONMENTAL CAMPAIGN www.indaloyethu.co.za


EDITORIAL Amid the high political drama of the moment, it is tempting to allow a rush of blood to the brain and to believe that, should one political leader of a certain party replace another leader of that same party, everything will suddenly change for the better. Overall, and on the whole, it may indeed be reasonable to hope that such a change might lead to better governance, given the players involved. But there are caveats. Firstly, positive prospects remain in the realm of hope, only, until manifested. It will be in its forthcoming actions that any new leadership, of party or state, will show what it is made of. Secondly, the decay in Africa's oldest liberation movement has become so entrenched that no one person's removal for another will, on its own, change 'everything' – at least, not in the short term. What lies before us all is a period of reconstruction of state institutions, including major state-owned enterprises such as Eskom, SAA, the SABC and PRASA, as well as state structures such as the National Prosecuting Authority and SARS. During this time, those who are part of the 'the problem' and who have become deeply embedded, along with their allies and co-conspirators, in some cases, will not be winkled out all at once or without difficulty. Meanwhile, they will be doing their best to cover their tracks and keep their heads down. Many in civil society may feel they cannot do much except watch until next year sometime when we are called back to the polls to do our democratic duty by

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casting our ballots. But actually it is civil society which has helped drive the positive changes we have so far seen – and it will be up to civil society, as individuals and as cohesive groupings, to place as much pressure as possible on decision-makers, public and private, to 'do the right thing'. In a 'fact-free environment', which the public space around the world is rapidly becoming with the woeful exemplar of an American President who doesn't know enough to be worried about climate change and cannot restrain his baser instincts when firing off hate-filled ignorant rhetoric, deciding what is the 'right thing to do' is much more complex than it may seem from one's personal perspective. The increasingly intricate and dynamic world of public interchange, rocket-fuelled by instant social media and rife with 'fake news', is making decision-making far trickier than once it was when public and private imperatives, at least among 'those who count', seemed relatively obvious. Now, at every turn, agendas must be closely analysed. A good example would be the ill-fated nuclear 'deal' wherein SA was to purchase at huge cost a fleet of nuke power plants, mainly and possibly exclusively from the Russians. Newly-elected African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa's comments in Davos, Switzerland, during the World Economic Forum, would seem to indicate that this country cannot afford a new nuclear build, so therefore there will be none. All who agree with that assessment should applaud it.


But that doesn't mean that the notion of a nuke future for SA cannot and will not be resurrected at some time in the future. It is for this reason that we have carried in this edition what to us appears to be one of the most carefully reasoned and clear assessments of exactly why a nuclear build for South Africa is to be avoided, now or, more than likely, ever. Rather than harking back to what is now an ageing technology, for all its high-tech glamour, it is clearly time to look forward to a cleaner, greener and much more cost-effective and sustainable future. With nuclear technology, power is still produced from a non-renewable, finite source, which is uranium – an element that is expensive, dirty and dangerous to mine, process and store, especially after use, let alone use in a what amounts to a (hopefully) controlled nuclear fission 'burn' inside a reactor. We can surely do much better by harvesting what we have in abundance and almost for free – which is ample and cheap sunlight energy, far beyond our present and future needs if properly garnered and distributed, plus plenty of wind as a supplement. Now is the time, if ever there was going to be one, for a full-blooded launch into the expanding universe of renewable power, which has already proven itself in the SA energy space. In this regard the revived REIPPP is to be welcomed. We need many smaller modular plants of different types widely distributed to ensure robust power production and relative safety from a possible, likely even, future collapse of the electrical distribution infrastructure under existing centralised power production and long-distance distribution models. We have taken a look at related issues in this edition, including the not unexpected opposition from civil society groupings to the announcement that another coal-fired power plant has been given the environmental green light – even as the much-inflated, by time and cost, builds of Kusile and Medupi struggle towards extremely belated completion. This is more old thinking using old technology to 'solve' a future problem. South Africans, especially those dedicated to a greener, cleaner and more sustainable future, should all be speaking their truth to power in this time of transition. Let the voices of reason and balance be heard so that sensible decisions that actually work for a maintainable and equitable future society are taken now. And while we are taking about what goes into taking sensible decisions, those same criteria need to be applied to the water crisis which is gripping the

Western Cape, with the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape not much better, and all other parts of the country still threatened by the sheer unpredictability of what water the next 'rainy' season brings or does not bring. Water has to take its rightful place as the literal foundation upon which our entire civilisation – our very being – rests. We simply must treat water with the respect and care due to a resource for which there is no substitute. So, on fracking in the Karoo, for instance, although there may still be some 'economic' argument for exploration while a barrel of crude costs US$65-70, it is unthinkable to run even a tiny risk of a pipe fracture contaminating what amounts to a single vast aquifer of a value astronomically greater than any shale gas-oil which may be extracted. On desalinisation, we should not be over-hasty and go all-out on whatever's to hand. There are a range of options and ways to embed safe and sustainable water supply for decades to come without vast or excessive cost. We should use the experience of others, like that of Israel or Dubai, to name but two instances, where solutions to our looming problems have already been worked out. We must also do everything possible in the very short term to avoid the dreaded 'day zero' and to offset relatively short-term over-demand in the Cape metropole and surrounds. This means we must all cut our personal and business water usage footprints. And that is why we at Simply Green have launched our 'Every Drop Counts' initiative. Beyond the immediate crisis, however, what we need are careful plans, based on what we know – and on what we can and cannot avoid with respect to climate change and its impact on key life resources like water and food. We need calm heads and stable conditions in which to execute sensible planning. This is not too much to ask – to demand, even – and we should all be making our voices heard on those things about which we know something useful and relevant. Or else we allow those who don't know, or don't want to know, to call the tune – and that most likely will be a dance macabre which we shall all certainly live to regret.

Chris & The Team If you are reading this on ISSUU, you might like to try our new platform for a quicker upload and smoother reading experience by clicking here.

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N ews

jane goodall doccie

COMEDY IN NATURE

The new National Geographic documentary about Jane Goodall is a 90-minute-long love letter to her. Jane was directed by the talented Brett Morgen and includes some incredible up-close-and-personal footage from the early 1960s that was thought to be lost until it was uncovered in 2014. The beautiful music by Philip Glass lends the film the soundtrack it deserves. The documentary's perspective is deeply respectful of this woman's life and work, so it makes sense that animals are at the heart of the story — as Goodall would want them to be.

The 2017 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards winners have been announced, and this year's crop doesn't disappoint in the humor department with hilarious expressions, amusing antics and even a little fun with perspective. This adorable, pint-sized mouse (above) is basking in the flow of flowers in this year's 'On the Land' winner, captured by photographer Andrea Zampatti. While you may laugh out loud (or at least crack a grin), keep in mind the contest has a serious goal: highlighting wildlife conservation efforts.

Full Story

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hum of the earth

france's 2040 dream

Beneath all the hubbub of life, the Earth is constantly humming. We made an attempt to record it in 1959, but it took another 40 years to confirm that the Earth is always emitting a background noise, even when there aren't any earthquakes, which is typically when the Earth 'starts to oscillate with its resonant frequencies like the clang of a bell'. This hum, or continuous free oscillations as the scientists refer to it, is the noise or vibration of the Earth expanding and contracting, free of any other noise, like those loud and pesky earthquakes.

France's parliament approved legislation on Dec 19 2017 that would ban all exploration and production of oil and natural gas within its borders and its territories by 2040. Drilling permits that are already in place will not be renewed by the country, and no new licenses to explore potential extraction and drilling sites will be granted. Last year, France published new renewable energy installation targets. The goal is to produce between 69 980 and 76 743 megawatts of renewable energy by 2023 from off- and on-shore wind, solar and hydroelectric sources.

Full Story

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eco-destinations 2018 Destinations like Costa Rica, Dominica and Botswana thrive on nature travel and ecotourism. Other countries have tried, with varying degrees of success, to capitalise on travelers’ desires to move beyond the usual tourist scene in a sustainable way. As a result, ecotourism has become more accessible over the past couple of decades. Unfortunately, that means that the kind of packaged experience that many people try to avoid has made its way into the ecotourism niche, too. Still, there are plenty of places without hordes of tourists, places that have a lot to offer.

HOMEOWNERS’ NEED ALTERNATIVES

Researchers at the University of Maryland have created a so-called 'super wood' that is stronger than many titanium alloys. The research team used a two-step process to drastically increase the density of the wood, thus reinforcing its strength to 10 times that of traditional wood. 'It is as strong as steel, but six times lighter,' said research team co-leader Teng Li. 'It takes 10 times more energy to fracture than natural wood. It can even be bent and molded at the beginning of the process.' The team has also created a kind of transparent wood, which could be used to replace glass and plastic.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) today presented its decision regarding Eskom’s proposed 26.9% increase in electricity tariffs for municipalities, announcing that the national utility has the green light to raise prices by 5.2% from 1 July 2018. Cala van der Westhuizen, Head of Marketing and Sales at Energy Partners Home Solutions, a division of Energy Partners and part of the PSG group of companies, comments that the financial burden on consumers in relation to utility tariffs is becoming unsustainable. 'Nersa received over 23  000 responses regarding Eskom’s application, which shows that consumers are becoming increasingly vocal about the fact that they can no longer afford exponentially increasing energy costs. In light of this it is becoming ever more important for homeowners to consider alternative sources of electricity to power their homes. Unlike coal-fired power, alternative energy solutions have become more affordable and accessible to consumers.' According to van der Westhuizen, the average home’s electricity spend can be reduced substantially through the use of innovative energy efficiency and alternative energy solutions. 'Homeowners can use their own discretion as to how much they want to save and invest in energy efficiency, but most will find that even small changes could make a noticeable difference. Simple measures like replacing the home’s regular light bulbs with energy efficient LED lighting can already cut the average household’s monthly electricity bill by as much as 30%. More advanced options like replacing the conventional geyser with a heat pump and hot water storage solution can reduce the home’s reliance on the national grid by up to 50%.' Van der Westhuizen says that a larger installation, which includes a solar photovoltaic system, heat pump, energy storage and energy management system can shrink the home’s total monthly energy costs by up to 80%.

Full Story

www.poweryourself.co.za

Full Story

SUPER WOOD

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W ater :

every drop counts

Is drought our

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r new normal? It is not merely the Western Cape and Cape Town that are in the midst of a devastating drought, though, for obvious reasons, Cape Town has been the focus of most of the local and international media coverage of this unfolding disaster. The Northern Cape and Eastern Cape have also been declared drought disaster areas, while part of the North West is having extremely low rainfall and may also soon be declared a drought zone. We take a look at the 'new normal' for South Africa and what it means.

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O 

nce, when water was plentiful and cheap, it was 'obvious' that a beautiful garden full of bright blossoming annuals

surrounding a green and plush lawn was the way to go for domestic urbanites. Now, not so much. Indeed, there is a new normal already in place and there is a growing realisation in terms of the degree to which once water-spoilt South Africans – at least in most parts of the country – must now mend their wasteful ways. Water is for life. It is meant for drinking, first and foremost, either by ourselves, animals or by the plants on which those animals and we, ourselves, live. Any other use is deeply secondary, and arguably, to be dispensed with in drought-stricken times. And these are very much drought-stricken times.

Enviromedia Back in 2004 green enthusiast Hugh Tyrrell organised something called the Enviromedia Conference where leading lights, civil and governmental, scientific and societal, came together to discuss how the environment was covered in the media and how to improve that coverage. It was, overall, a depressing affair because it was clear that media priorities would, at that time, likely 'never' put the environment anywhere near the top of issues to be closely covered. Soapies, scandals and sensationalist nonsense about celebrities were the main fodder of the day, or as veteran media man Joe Thloloe put it, 'people want skop, skiet and donner', adding only a bemused shrug as further comment. E-TV, for example, was going up from three or

four wrestling shows a week to several more – all based on consumer demand. No-one in TV-land wanted to hear about difficult-to-digest stories about future water and perhaps food scarcity, or about how climate change (already then in clear evidence) was going to spoil everyone's day, year, decade and century, and do so in the near future. Now we are living the days some thought would 'never come'. There is a new water reality already upon us – this precious and unique 'stuff of life' is scarce and getting scarcer, costly and getting costlier and vital for everything we need and do, including industry and commerce. Bottom line: we don't have

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The pattern of events seen in the Western Cape's more advanced and widespread drought may be expected to be repeated throughout other drought-stricken areas – and not merely in South Africa. In Southern California things are getting every bit as bad as the Western Cape after more than four years of severe drought – and they have had devastating wildfires to boot. enough to go around and the future is only likely to bring growing demand set against warmer average temperatures and increased need.

Don't panic Rule one in all serious situations – and South Arica, along with other parts of the planet are deeply into serious situations – is 'don't panic'. Freaking out and spending a whole lot of money on a water storage systems is not really going to change much, if and when the much-discussed 'day zero' comes around. The Western Cape, for example, may have had by then a little rain. But stored up for weeks in a storage tank after being captured off an urban gutter, that water needs filtering and decontamination from a variety of unhealthy bacteria and other water-borne pathogens and toxins before it can be drunk. It could be used for cleaning, washing and even watering food gardens, however. But between now and when the rains come, such


systems will not change the underlying shortage of

winter, sending a draft of icy air deep into the USA's

drinkable water.

'lower 48' states, where a localised and rather small

The pattern of events seen in the Western

system on the US East Coast interacted with that

Cape's more advanced and widespread drought

frigid air to cause one of the worst winter storms in

may be expected to be repeated throughout other

East Coast records.

drought-stricken areas – and not merely in South Africa.

It also caused America's lame-brained president to Tweet that, given the extent of the snowfall

In Southern California things are getting every

on New York, Washington and all the way down

bit as bad as the Western Cape after more than

to mid-Florida, what Americans needed was more

four years of severe drought – and they have had

global warming, not less. What's there to say to

devastating wildfires to boot.

about such stupidity and ignorance?

On the other hand, the extra energy being

The real lesson to be drawn is to expect nothing

retained in the global weather system means

other than an ongoing intensification of all sorts

other forms of crazy weather are also happening

of weird weather coming at us in all sorts of ways

in ever-more places, with greater frequency and

and at all sorts of times, especially when we don't

greater intensity – and in most cases, the standard

expect it.

weather systems that drive regional patterns are not behaving in standard ways. So, for instance, the weakening wind belt that

We have made these points before when engaging with what climate change actually means on the ground.

usually keeps extreme cold Arctic winds in the high

Now, we are facing some explicit circumstances

latitudes failed this past early Northern hemisphere

related to one aspect of the climate change wave

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sweeping around the world and, finally, entering into the consciousness of almost everyone – Trump and few of his climate change denialist fellow travellers not included.

What to do By all means put in the water catchment system we referred to earlier – and as soon as possible. But know also that until sufficient water falls from the sky, you will meantime be drawing water from the same drying dams and the same shared aquifers beneath our feet. That water must be kept for drinking only and cannot, as many are still doing, be used for watering the flower garden or lawn, or even cleaning the car. The days of the plush, suitable-for-a-spot-ofcrochet, sweeping lawnscapes are done. For good. The days of alternatives, like natural stone or artificial turf are upon us. We are in the time when priorities must be reset according to first principles. So, unless water is being used directly for drinking, it should come from another source – recycled or greywater being the obvious choices. We also have to learn to wisely use the water not employed to keep us alive. So recovered water from, say, the household washing should be used for flushing loos (a large bucket next to the loo and a means of pouring it into the basin will work, or you could turn off the water inflow to the loo's storage tank and fill that with already-used water). We have to learn to think outside of the box of our habituated attitudes towards water. We have to consider new technologies for home and office water use, especially drinking water. So water drawn from the humidity in the air will work, especially in Cape Town which, incidentally, now ranks as a rough equivalent with the Durban of 30-40 years ago in terms of average daily summer

is not potable. Instead, one can use a wet or damp face-cloth, some soap and an a litre or so of water to achieve general cleanliness in all the needy places, plus clean one's teeth, and wash one's hair. And rather than bemoaning the water luxuries you have 'lost', it is far better under these trying and inconvenient conditions, to instead feel good about all the water you are no longer wasting, as once you did.

temperature and only slightly lower for humidity.

Large picture

Body washing

There is also a great benefit in facing the unmalleable

Washing our bodies head to toe daily may be considered by many to be no luxury but a civilised necessity. And yet, in the conditions in which drinking water has become an ever-scarcer vital resource, washing yourself, even in a 1-2 minute shower daily, is a gross indulgence unless the water being used

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There is also a great benefit in facing the unmalleable fact that water scarcity is here to stay – the opportunity to re-evaluate the entire way we relate to the 'natural services' provided to us by the planet's variety of eco-system functions, on the land, in the air and in the seas, which once seemed endlessly abundant but which, we are discovering, are not.

fact that water scarcity is here to stay and that a mental adjustment to that fact brings with it an opportunity to re-evaluate the entire way we relate to the 'natural services' provided to us by the planet's variety of eco-system functions, on the land, in the air and in the seas, which once seemed endlessly abundant but which, we are discovering, are not.


A new respect for such resources as we may have access to seems an obvious requirement for

less rain and, when it does come, for the rain to be in inundation form – in other words, as floods.

appropriate adaptation at a personal level to what

Expect things, when the cold season arrives, to

is transpiring at a global level and directly affecting

be both colder than normal and/or warmer than

us at the local level.

normal, with perhaps both patterns happening in a

Seeing the 'big picture' really helps us understand

single season.

our role in getting us to where are, and in motivating

Expect the unexpected, because wherever you

us to help make the necessary changes to mitigate

may be in the world, when it comes to climate

things getting worse than they already are.

change that is precisely what is happening.

But, to be honest, you should also expect things

For now, the rule is that more or less anything

to get a lot tougher yet, no matter what steps you

that saves water is 'good' and more or less anything

may personally take.

that doesn't is 'bad'.

No more water plenty

starting with your personal water usage footprint

There is absolutely no reason to believe that, while

and working up through your business environment

winter rains may relieve some of the drought in

into wider social arenas and public spaces.

the Western Cape, perhaps too the Northern and

From there all the relevant steps begin to unfold,

Eastern Cape droughts, that water plenty will return

Hard, hot, dry days

to become the 'old new norm'.

These are the hard, hot, dry days. If weather patterns

Expect longer spells of hotter, drier weather,

continue on this trend, far sooner than once was

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expected, things may well go so far as to trigger a planetary climate regime reset – such events are recorded in the ice core and seabed samples of ages gone by (about 800 000 years' worth of records with respect to ice core samples and a couple hundred million years with seabed samples). But that wild change-over is still some way down the track and is the stuff of another story altogether – one we shall tell in due course. Meanwhile, we are in the dog days of climate change, panting our way through successive heat waves and wondering how it will all pan out. Let's go back to that 2004 conference mentioned previously for a minute to get some sense of how things may actual transpire in the broad sense. Among those present was both the then Minister of Environment and his DG, a fellow with whom the writer was a contemporary at UCT in an earlier age. There was a real sense of leadership and urgency around climate change mitigation from both political and bureaucratic decision-makers. One wonders where all that went to in the intervening years and why the Environment ministry has just signed off on yet another coal-fired power station (see page... for more on that). A climate scientist from the CSIR was among presenters at the conference. He put up a graph showing likely average global temperature increase as a function of projected CO2 release, tracking those changes which had already happened up to then (remember this is a full two years before Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth) and then projecting

Expect the unexpected, because wherever you may be in the world, when it comes to climate change that is precisely what is happening. For now, the rule is that more or less anything that saves water is 'good' and more or less anything that doesn't is 'bad'. From there all the relevant steps begin to unfold, starting with your personal water usage footprint and working up through your business environment into wider social arenas and public spaces.

into the future. Such graphs, with respect to future prospects,

The upper trajectory line, on the other hand,

are always somewhat speculative, albeit that they

showed the 2ºC increased global temperature being

are commonly based on hard science, so the CSIR

reached much sooner, around midway through

researcher's graph had an upper line which began

the century – and then, alarmingly, the graph line

slightly above a lower line but rapidly proceeded

continued trending towards 3, then 4 and then

upwards, indicating rapid warming.

5-6ºC, and all well before this century's end.

The lower line was the least amount of warming

For those who understand these things, a 5-6ºC

then considered within the range of reasonable

warming of the earth means a mass extinction

probability. It was absurdly low but there was,

event for many species, almost certainly ourselves

almost exactly in the middle between the upper and

included.

lower limits, what was considered the most likely track line for future average global warming. That showed an average 2ºC global temperature

While

slightly

bug-eyed

fellow

conference

measurements

attenders were absorbing the CSIR fellow's worrying

happening only around the end of the current

inputs – some of them realising perhaps for the first

century, or even a little after.

time just how serious things were getting, albeit

increase

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As scary as that was, it was also not the full truth.

over

pre-industrial


that the worst climate change effects were seen,

warming and all that it brings was very close to what

as per the graph, to only be beginning to hit in the

we have seen since, with a small exception – it's all

2030s and beyond – there was a quiet chat had

happening even faster than he thought just 14 years

with the CSIR scientist away from other chattering

ago. We are already at something like the late-2020s,

conference delegates. He

admitted,

though

only

after

repeated

in terms of his now ageing projections.

questioning and goading, that, up until then, pretty

That tells us all we need to know: Science tracks

much all science-based climate change predictions

known data, in the main, and climate data takes a

done by anyone credible had erred on the conservative

while to collate, so we are only ever looking over

side in that they showed global warming-driven

our shoulders with any degree of certainty on this

change happening slower and to a lesser degree

subject.

than reality had subsequently provided.

In terms of what lies ahead, assume nothing

Pushed a bit further, he admitted privately

but that it may come down to you, your ingenuity

that he feared that the upper trajectory was much

and determination to deal with inconvenient

more likely to be the most accurate but there

circumstances.

were powerful forces, including academia's inherent

For now, though, it falls to all of us to focus

conservatism, which disinclined him to be more

on water, water, water, with the unending mantra:

forthright with his real views.

'Every Drop Counts'.

And here's the news about that: turns out that this scientist's upper track trajectory for global

Wait until there aren't any drops left, and you shall see, as will we all.

SG

19 S G


W ater

tech

every drop counts

Stop leaks Now that everyone is focusing on water, how to properly use it and how to maximise what little we have, stopping leaks has jumped right to the top of the list. After all, water that simply leaks away is about as wasted a resource as one could imagine – and unthinkable for such a critical and scarce life commodity in current circumstances. Municipal leaks account for up to 30% of all domestic water 'usage' in the many less-than-efficiently-run local government water reticulation systems around the country. So leaks must be stopped – and quickly so. Best of all is to detect leaks immediately – little to no water lost and little to no water damage. We take a look at a piece of technology designed to do just that – detect water leaks immediately and switch the flow off.

S G 20


s now

I 

t was more of less inevitable, once the conditions required it, that technology long used, for example, in the oil industry, would be applied to

water reticulation. This technology is about detecting changes such as drop-offs in pressure that provide the reticulation system in question, whether that be for an oil in a pipeline or water in your home's plumbing, with the trigger information needed to switch the system off and close down the flow. Thereafter, at a more leisurely and less stressed pace, once may deal with the actual cause of the problem, restore the system to full operational functionality and not lose much of whatever was flowing through that system. In the case of water, in our current water-stressed conditions, this essential resource is perhaps arguably even more 'valuable' than its equivalent quantum of oil, though it's not yet priced that way. Perhaps one day it will be. In any case, water is definitely scarce and getting scarcer, and costly and getting costlier. It is therefore both the ethical and sensible thing to do to reduce possible loss through leaks to nil or nearly so, and reduce one's potential cost profile in the process. And the best way of doing that is to install a detection system.

Detection At Simply Green we keep our ears, metaphorically speaking of course, 'close to the ground', on the alert for useful, applicable technologies and applications of old technology which may help our readers become for pro-actively involved in reducing their footprints on the earth, whether those be measured in carbon or litres of water (or oil, for that matter). So we were delighted to encounter, as part of our Every Drop Counts campaign, a local distributor of a leak detection system which is relatively easy to install and will do the job required. Bearing in mind, aside from any property damage to, say, water-logged walls, ceilings or floors, an undetected leak could cost you, in water-restricted zones, literally thousands of rands before you find out what the trouble is and why your water bill has shot through the stratosphere. Finding the leak and fixing it will cost quite enough without a whole bunch of secondary costs, not least for the wasted water involved. Being ahead of this curve makes perfect sense to us in the current context.

21 S G


Water is definitely scarce and getting scarcer, and costly and getting costlier. It is therefore both the ethical and sensible thing to do to reduce possible loss through leaks to nil or nearly so, and reduce one's potential cost profile in the process. And the best way of doing that is to install a detection system. That is why we were especially pleased to come across AquaTrip (see accompanying box for details). In short, AquaTrip is a water leak safety trip switch. It will protect your water supply by automatically detecting leaks, running toilets, dripping taps and burst or cracked pipes or hoses, as they occur. If a leak is detected, AquaTrip will warn you and shut off the water to prevent excess water bills, water waste and property damage. It can tell the difference between normal water use and a leak. AquaTrip is fully programmable to suit most properties with no interference to the user, and no impact on normal water use. The folks behind this product range are not newbies – they have been around nine years – but their water detection and leak reduction systems could hardly be more timely, and welcome, options for those seriously concerned about water and its related issues. There are several AquaTrip options, each with their own features and each set at different price points to cater for a variety of possible users.

Options Included in AquaTrip’s offerings are systems for newly-constructed buildings, through systems for retro-fits to existing buildings as well as domestic use and stand-alone options. For homeowners perhaps the most important or relevant would be their AM310 offering, a DIY installation water use monitor designed to show the user how much water he or she is using in almost real-time and its actual cost. This information is

greater Cape Town at present, but a good idea overall

expressed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

for everyone, and one which saves both money and

This

S G 22

system

seems

purpose-designed

for

water.

homeowners who are keen to reduce their water

The system’s monitor has an ‘Excess Consumption

footprint to the minimum – a necessity in places like

Alarm’, which will sound if the consumption exceeds


a pre-set allocation of water each

The monitor also has a 'Slow Leak Alarm' which

day. The user can set the amount

will sound if water is seen to be constantly flowing

to suit their planned consumption

over a 24-hour period, indicating a steady leak, even

– or to match local regulations

if it’s tiny.

on usage. If the alarm sounds,

Best of all, beyond tracking your water usage in

you will know you have used more

effective real-time and knowing how much you are

than normal and can check for leaks

spending on that, plus the alarms just mentioned,

or a tap left running or some other

is that this system is simple and quick to install,

plumbing failure, which would have

with easy-to-follow instructions provided. The whole

probably gone unnoticed until the water

system is powered by five AA alkaline batteries, so

bill arrived.

it’s also grid-independent.

That, or you know which of the

Simply Green doesn't hand out 'green stars' or

household’s members has zoned out under

such awards, but if it did, these products would

the shower and you can put them right so

likely be right up there for relevance and for a

as not to do so again.

practical approach to a long-standing problem.

This South African based-company, established in 2009,

a number of projects where they partnered with both

provides products and services that enable customers

governmental and non-governmental institutions to roll

to reduce their water consumption and water demand

out their technology at schools and the company has

footprint. AWS holds the African licenses to import,

been instrumental in reducing customers' consumption

distribute, market and sell the international-award

by an average of 50%.

SG

winning range of Aquatrip products. Their core business currently centres on installing data logging equipment and AquaTrip units at commercial sites and at schools. They have most recently completed

For more please visit www.aquatrip.com or contact jacques@aquatrip.com / chris@aquatrip.com

Get in touch with Aquatrip for a quote on info@aquatrip.co.za and use the reference Aquatrip-SG and receive a 10% discount

23 S G


S G 24


25 S G


Rainpillow are giving away a 1000L Rainpillow (valued at R1 799) to ONE lucky Simply Green reader. All you have to do is give our Facebook page a like here and send your name and address to susan.ball@anapublishing.com to stand a chance to win.

S G 26

1 ď Ť


WATER IS PRECIOUS

STORE IT

Basic Azure is a leading water efficiency company based in Brackenfell, Cape Town – servicing the whole of the Western Cape. Our team of experts specialises in the integration of all components of the *urban water cycle – rainwater, stormwater, groundwater and greywater – as a resource into urban design. Basic Azure is rooted in a common sense, cost effective approach to the escalating issue of water conservation and management applications for homes and industry to meet your budget and your space. We are equally vested in circumventing the devastating consequence of a world without water, we do this by empowering homes and businesses with the knowledge, products and solutions necessary to conserve our most precious resource. Water. OFF GRID WATER FILTRATION Secure your water with a complete off grid water filtration. We will transform your well point water, borehole water and rainwater into potable drinking water.

WATER SECURITY PRODUCTS Order from our extensive range of premium quality, SABS approved water storage tanks, pumps and filters available in our secure online store.

WATER FILTRATION AND BACKUP The Basic Azure team of experts installs/drills custom designed wellpoint, borehole and rainwater backup filtration systems for your home or business.

DRILLING AND TESTING Basic Azure offers basic and comprehensive watertesting as well as wellpoint drilling. Book a free site assessment with a water expert to secure your water today.

www. bas i ca zu r e.co.z a 27 S G


A d v e r t o r ia l

Be as green as you can during the drought

Bottled water, as a product, was always intended as a healthy alternative to other packaged beverages such as carbonated cold drinks, iced teas, fruit juices and so on. However, with the drought situations in South Africa, water bottles find themselves being forcibly positioned against tap and drinking water. The South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA), a standards-setting body, and its members are committed to ensuring quality throughout this period while working to reduce their environmental impact.

S outh African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA) members in the Western Cape – located in Franschhoek, Paarl and Ceres – are not exacerbating the drought. The reasons for this are three-fold: •

All members in the Western Cape bottle from groundwater sources audited for long-term sustainability.

No water from any of these groundwater sources would naturally enter the municipal system via rivers and dams. Bottled water originates from sources licenced to private entities by the Department of Water & Sanitation specifically for the use of the water for commercial purposes (bottling water). The volumes extracted are monitored against the licensed limit. SANBWA estimates that the total annual sales

(during normal times) of bottled water in the Western Cape amounts to about 150 million litres,

The various aquifers they pump from have

or less than 30% of Cape Town's municipal target.

enormous reservoir capacity. Unlike surface

Other sources that could be exacerbating the drought

water (dams and rivers, for example) which is mainly dependant on reliable rainfall and very susceptible to drought patterns, these aquifers are not.

S G 28

There are offerings that are not bottled from sustainable sources, or are being bottled from the


municipal supply. These could include shop-floor systems, small retail outlets, counter-top filtration units used by restaurants and caterers as well as hotels, and bottling companies or individuals not adhering to South Africa's legislation governing the bottled water industry.

Check the legitimacy of the supplier If you are uncertain of the legitimacy of the water, check. For bottled water, look for an indication of the source and the water category on the label. Water labelled as 'natural water' or 'water defined by origin' and bottled by a reputable supplier will come from a natural, sustainable source while water labelled 'prepared water' could be from the municipal water supply. If there is no indication of source, the bottler is not complying with packaging and labelling legislation. You could also ask to see the Certificate of Acceptability issued by the local municipality. For water delivered by tankers to urban and rural areas, as well as outlets refilling consumers' own containers, ask to see the licence granted by the Department of Water & Sanitation.

Don't be misled about the water footprint In South Africa, the water usage figure for bottled water plants is typically 1.6:1 for one-way packaging. This means that, for every litre of water bottled, 600ml is used for the cleaning and sanitation of plant and equipment, flushing toilets etc. There are, however, plants that achieve ratios of as low as 1.2:1. Compared to other packaged beverages and food industries, this is very low.

Reuse, recycle PET bottles are not single-use bottles, so wash

an end use market for recycled PET and is already recycling over 50% of PET bottles.

Look for the SANBWA logo

well and reuse. And recycle when you no longer

The SANBWA logo ensures that the water source

need the bottle. SANBWA's environmental protocols

is environmentally sustainable, that the water is

address measures to ensure source sustainability

free of chemical contaminants and microbiological

and protection, water usage minimisation, energy

impurities such as E.coli, and that it has been

efficiency, solid waste minimisation, and support

bottled under hygienic conditions. The logo also

post-consumer recycling initiatives. They also follow

confirms conformance to legislation and international

'design for recycling' principles to ensure that all their

standards and best practise.

packaging components are recyclable. PETCO created

www.sanbwa.org.za

29 S G


W ater :

every drop counts

Cloud Seeding Technology to Maximise Water Availability By making use of the latest advancements in rain-enhancing technology, Middelburg based firm, Water Analytical Services seeks to use cloud-seeding to increase precipitation. We take a look.

C 

believe that South Africa can benefit from using this

chemicals such as dry ice or silver iodide to

technology to enhance rainfall where it is needed

clouds in order to stimulate precipitation,

most.'

thereby creating rainfall. This is done through the

Cloud-seeding has numerous applications in the

creation of ice crystals from cloud droplets in a

agriculture, events and tourism industries as well

super-cooled state. The chemicals are dispersed

as for government as a means of securing water

using light aircraft fitted with flares that distribute

security in drought-stricken areas. South Africa

the chemicals over gathered clouds. The cloud

has experimented with cloud-seeding in the past

droplets react with the silver iodide or dry ice

but with the current drought crisis affecting the

and form ice crystals that are too heavy to stay

Cape region, now may be the time to revisit this

suspended in the air and they then melt and fall,

technology. 'Whether it is used for encouraging

creating rain.

rainfall in areas affected by the drought, or helping the

farmers in other parts of the country ensure rainfall

microphysical processes within the cloud,' explains

for their crops, cloud-seeding has clear benefits,'

Franco van der Merwe, Managing Director of Water

says van der Merwe.

'At

S G 30

loud-seeding is the process of applying

its

essence,

this

process

alters

Analytical Services (WAS). 'This process has been

The use of cloud-seeding is growing worldwide

used all over the world for decades now and we

with recent journal reports indicating that the


Cloud-seeding is the process of applying chemicals such as dry ice or silver iodide to clouds in order to stimulate precipitation, thereby creating rainfall. This is done through the creation of ice crystals from cloud droplets in a super cooled state. global cloud-seeding technology market is set to

for the games. In 2017, cloud-seeding was used in

grow substantially by 2024. In fact, in 2016 56

Dubai, achieving 30% more rainfall for the area. The

countries around the world had cloud-seeding

practice has been used on an on-going basis since

operations. 'We are witnessing a decline in the

then with positive results and the team responsible

rainfall rate across the globe due to global warming

was recognised for their ground-breaking work in

and pollution is increasing the threat of drought

January 2018 when they received an award from

conditions globally,' says Van der Marwe. 'Looking

the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement

at case studies around the world, we have seen how

Science.

effective this technology is. It has the capability to

In spite of the potential of the technology,

provide much needed water security for farmers

there are several concerns that have been raised

who would see the benefit of proper rainfall needed

regarding the measured success and the safety of

for their operations and decreased risk. This may

cloud-seeding. Van der Merwe is keen to dispel this

even have a wider benefit to the insurance needed

apprehension, pointing out that over 50 years of

for crops.'

research has led to what cloud-seeding is today.

There are numerous cases backing up the

'Over the years there has also been concern that

effectiveness of cloud-seeding worldwide. In one

adding chemicals to clouds would pollute the earth,

case, a team of scientists from the National Center

but the national Weather Modification Association

for Atmospheric Research spent three years seeding

insists that the amounts are so low as to be

clouds in the drought-stricken northern Mexican

insignificant. The amount of silver used in seeding

state of Coahuila. They found that rainfall from

a cloud is less than 0.1 micrograms per litre, about

seeded clouds lasted longer than rain from unseeded

1/500th the concentration listed as acceptable by the

clouds, the rainfall covered a larger area, and that

United States Public Health Service,' Van der Merwe

the total precipitation was higher – sometimes even

explains.

doubled. In many cases, they reported that results began just 20 minutes after the seeding.

WAS has the ability to assist with cloud-seeding

in all parts of Southern Africa. They are equipped

According to Van der Merwe, cloud-seeding has

with a Piper Cheyenne twin turbine aircraft fitted

potential beyond creating rain. 'The usual intent is to

with a flare deployment system. According to

increase precipitation, but cloud-seeding technology

Van der Merwe, the process has been extensively

also has advantages for weather regulation and

tested to the highest safety standards. 'Investment

curbing pollution.'

in cloud-seeding technology has clear benefits

Practical examples of this are evident in hail and

for the private and public sectors in South Africa.

fog suppression – achieved with cloud-seeding – that

Technology has the potential to improve our lives

is widely practiced in airports. Major events have also

in every sphere – why not explore its ability to bring

benefited from this technology. At the 2008 Beijing

rain to those who need it most?'

SG

Olympics in China, officials used cloud-seeding to ensure that it rained before and not on the night of the opening ceremony – and throughout the event from there to secure favourable weather conditions

For more information, visit www.wateras.co.za. WAS's technology partner for cloud-seeding is Weather Modification Incorporated.

31 S G


DEDICATED TO BRINGING YOU WATER Whether it is purifying groundwater or desalinating seawater, Novasurge provides the filtration, so you can connect your home or office to a source of water, during times of need. In the event that borehole water or seawater is unavailable, Novasurge also supplies atmospheric water generators. These systems condense vapour from the air, to give you purified, mineralized drinking water.

www.novasurge.co.za

SIMPLY GREEN ASKED Nicholas, general manager of Novasurge A FEW QUESTIONS In simple laymen terms, how does your device work?

What would it do to the surrounding atmosphere if one was to install your device?

For the more technically minded person, can you explain what your device does, the saving it would bring to your business/ home and how much water could be expected from your device?

How long would it take to install your device?

The appliance draws in air (which is naturally abundant with water vapour) through HEPA air-filtration and as the air passes over the cold surfaces within the device, the vapour rapidly condenses into droplets which drip into a drip tray. From this point, the water is pumped through several stages of filtration and finally to a holding tank, containing UV light. UV light kills bacteria. When the tank fills up, the device stops condensing further condensation and switches to a 'standby mode'. Purified, mineralized water is now available at the touch of a button.

The performance output depends on the humidity and temperature. Performance is often improved at night when humidity increases. You will not need to wait in line for water, when Day Zero comes, as the water can be produced in the comfort of your home or office. The appliance produces the indicated output in a humidity of 80% and 30'c. Output is lowered with a lowered humidity or temperature.

What was the thinking/Thought process of the creation of your products and bringing it to the market?

After evaluating numerous water saving ideas and devices, we wanted to help people by producing water for them, instead of forcing them to reduce their usage, which they already have to do. It tackled the water crisis from a different angle. Instead of flushing less, showering less and using less, could we bring more water into the home? The answer is yes. S G 32

We refer to an article where this question came up. We also wanted to know that it would not 'damage the environment'. So this useful article answers the question: https://whyfiles. org/2010/how-much-water-is-in-the-atmosphere/index.html. At any moment, the atmosphere contains an astounding 37.5 million billion gallons of water, in the invisible vapor phase. Every 9 days, this entire amount is condensed and 'recycled' naturally by our planet. Whether a little is condensed through the appliance or not, it all condenses and recycles over a few days, anyway. Unless it is one of the bigger units of 1000L and up there is no installation required. It simply plugs into the wall and you switch it on. The bigger units will require 3-phase power.

Does the device remove germs / bacteria?

The device removes larger bacteria particles through the 5-stage filtration but the UV light is the element which kills any living bacteria.

Is there enough water in the air to continue producing water constantly?

As previously stated there is more than enough moisture in the air, at any moment. The atmosphere contains +37.5 million billion gallons of water, in the invisible vapour phase. The performance output depends on the humidity and temperature. On days when the humidity drops the performance will be affected but often at night when the humidity spikes the production will increase again. Whether a little is condensed through the appliance or not, it all condenses and recycles over a few days, anyway.


DIGIMAG

simply YOUR LEADER IN ECO-BUSINESS & LIFESTYLE

join us in our drive to make

every drop count visit www . simplygreen . co . za

ÖKO H2O NASA Enhanced Water Filtration Bottles. ÖKO combines water filtration Nano-technology originally designed for use in NASA ISS (International Space Station) with an elegant bottle design made of 100% FDA compliant materials. The combination yields a unique filtration bottle which is lightweight, versatile and can deliver the highest quality water from innumerable water sources in over 140 countries. ÖKO Water bottles with replaceable filters

ÖKO means “eco” in Swiss German, where our original bottles and filtration were designed & developed

We use only BPA-Free, Phthalate-free non toxic plastics in our products

Our Advanced Level-2 filter with NASA nano-technology as used in the ISS (International Space Station)

Reduce your carbon footprint by as much as 98% by using ÖKOPURE on a regular basis

can be used at home or around the world. No need to purchase expensive bottled water anymore. ÖKO products, with three filtration level filters, give you confidence in knowing that serious contaminants are being removed from your water

Although running and tap water or even bottled water is

wherever you are. Whether at the office,

generally considered cleaner and safer to drink, all water,

gym, camping or traveling, hiking or biking

whether piped or from open sources can be potentially

or in case of an emergency, ÖKO filtered

contaminated with harmful substances. ÖKO level-2 filter

water bottles will allow you to drink fresh,

lab tests reflect removal of 99.994% of e-coli, 99.9999% of

clean water from most

cryptosporidium and giardia lamblia, the most commonly

water sources

worldwide.

found bacteria and micro organisms in open water

ÖKO Filtration Products ÖKO Original

sources worldwide. The advanced filter material activates when in contact with

Filtration Bottle with level-2 filter for everyday use. water, creating an electro-adsorptive charge field that, ÖKO Odyssey™

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ÖKO distribute water filtration products in

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filtration circumstances.

. 33 S G


a d v e r t o r ia l

Waterless hygiene In a no- or low-rainfall situation, when drought hits hard or when water is simply in short supply, suddenly two hundred years of hard-won lessons in maintaining personal and collective hygiene goes, more or less, out the window. Rather than using water as basis for keeping

engaging with it is certain to lead to very significant health issues.

So, just because water is now to be kept for

nothing but drinking doesn't mean we can afford to skimp on hygiene – in fact, it requires more rather than less attention. In this regard, we would usually have to revert to things like wet-wipes and pre-packaged cleaning options. There are some generally applicable solutions,

hands, utensils, equipment and spaces

but there are also outfits out in the marketplace

clean, other ways have to be found. We

products, in water-stressed times, come into

explore some options.

S G 34

H 

ygiene is everyone's problem – and not

whose sole focus is on hygiene and whose their own. Initial is one of these, being a leading specialist


cleaning using a high-pressure hose can use

in providing hygiene services for workplaces and washroom areas in shops, offices, factories, hotels

50-75l of water in just five minutes. Initial's

and leisure facilities.

Ablution Hygiene Treatment requires minimal

Their services include sanitary dressing disposal,

water due to the use of bio-enzyme preparations,

air fresheners, hand sanitisers and ablution hygiene

and antibacterial fogging uses virtually no water

treatments. Both their Signature and Reflection

to disinfect large bathroom spaces. Antibacterial

range of washroom products are exclusive to Initial,

Fogging will be offered to all this company's

Signature having won the prestigious Red Dot award

customers free of charge during the Cape water

for product design excellence in 2014.

crisis.

Initial also offers workplace hygiene solutions such

Eco Cap – Installing Eco Cap in urinals means

as floor mat rentals, IT hygiene services, biological

they only need to be flushed twice a day: morning

dosing for grease traps and CaterClean, an industrial

and afternoon. This could save up to 3000% (on

kitchen deep-cleaning service, all designed to

a building with 20 male users) on urinal water

minimise the risk of cross-infection in the workplace.

usage. Eco Cap contains odour and bacteria neutralising bio-enzymes.

Avoiding Day Zero

Toilet Paper Disposal Bin – Prolong intervals

Obviously, any company wants to be seen to be doing

between flushing by disposing of urine-soaked

the right thing. Initial feel the same way and say

toilet paper in a compact disposer bin. Initial will

they are offering their products to a wider range of

dispose of paper hygienically and in line with government waste regulations.

customers, along with 'avoiding Day Zero advice' in order to reduce water usage and help stave off the

Eco Clear Spray – Eco Clear Spray is a bio-enzyme

dreaded day when the water pipes are empty in the

cleaner which is safe for all surfaces, neutralises

greater Cape Town area.

odour and kills bacteria, without needing additional water for wiping.

So what, exactly, do they have to offer? •

No Flush Spray – Prolong intervals between

Hand Sanitisers – Hand washing with the tap

flushing by spray No Flush into the toilet bowl

open uses 6l of water in one minute. That's a litre

after

every 10 seconds. Hard to believe perhaps but

bio-enzymes break down uric acid and the water

true. How about, then, a waterless hand sanitiser

goes blue.

urination

to

neutralise

odours

while

spray instead of soap to ensure that you continue

Initial says it as concerned as any citizen about

to prevent cross-contamination without the use

the effects of running out of water in a major

of water. Initial offer some options, including

metropolitan area – or anywhere, for that matter.

their Signature unit or Betasan sanitiser stand,

The company says it has committed itself to helping

or individual 500ml foam hand sanitiser bottles.

individuals and businesses see out the current water

Hygiene with Antibacterial Fogging – Deep

crisis without compromising on essential hygiene. S G

For more info contact Initial on 0800 77 77 88 or www.initial.co.za

35 S G


W ater :

every drop counts

helping with the provision of water to Cape Town Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (CCPB), in partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation and participating suppliers are in the process of finalising the details to provide millions of litres of relief water to the Western Cape Province and City of Cape Town. This forms part of its commitment to helping the City mitigate the impact of Day Zero. This initiative is dependent on CCPB being able to utilise alternate water sources in order to supplement the use of municipal water.

T 

he 'prepared water' will be provided in a 2l

the environment. CCPB is working with the relevant

recyclable PET bottle, said Priscilla Urquhart,

authorities to facilitate the speedy issuing of the

Public Affairs and Communications Manager

necessary licences to ensure that municipal water

at CCPB.

1.5 million litre bulk water tank at the plant in order

and would also be produced to supply to emergency

to ensure a buffer in supply once the boreholes are

sites as determined by the Provincial Task Team on

approved and operational. It has also acquired three

Water and the Disaster Risk Management team. CCPB

33 000l food-grade water tankers to transport water

will be working closely with the relevant authorities

from sources outside water-stressed areas.

to ensure full approvals of all aspects of this water relief undertaking.

Following an announcement by the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust this week, CCPB, as one of the main

On the existing bottled water products it sells,

partners of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, will be using

CCPB has already implemented a discount structure

these tankers to assist in delivering the 2-million

with its retail customers on the BonAqua 1.5l (still)

litres of water required by the City to ensure the

water in order to provide this product to consumers

event is water-neutral. The water is being sourced

at affordable prices.

from areas outside of the Western Cape that are

All non-flavoured Bonaqua and Valpre bottled water sold in the Western Cape is produced and brought in from outside the Western Cape.

S G 36

supplies are protected. The company has installed a

The bottles will be clearly marked 'not for resale'

unaffected by any water shortages, and will be delivered into the City’s local water grid. 'In addition CCPB, has committed R1-m to fund an

'We are deeply concerned by the water crisis

entrepreneurship initiative in conjunction with the

facing the city and have implemented many changes

City of Cape Town and Western Cape Government

and efficiencies across our operations to ensure it is

to fund new ideas that will stimulate the "water-wise

being water-efficient,' said Urquhart.

economy' in the Western Cape," said Urquhart.

CCPB has invested in a number of initiatives in

CCPB is working with the Coca-Cola Foundation

order to reduce the reliance on municipal water

and other key partners to identify further initiatives

which include the potential use of professionally

in order to militate against the impact of the water

installed boreholes which are currently being

crisis and to secure sustainable solutions into the

tested in terms of sustainability and impact on

future.

SG


W ater N ews

water from air

Shoprite’s Disaster Relief Fund to be used for water relief As parts of the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape remain in the grips of the worst drought in a century, the Shoprite Group has heeded the call of South Africans to help Cape Town and other communities that will soon be left without water through its till-point donation facility. Customers will be able to help with the water crisis in a meaningful way by donating money to the Group’s Disaster Relief Fund starting today (Tuesday, 6 February 2018). They will be able to add increments of R5 to their purchases at till points at any Shoprite or Checkers store countrywide. Donations to the fund will be used to aid Cape Town, currently facing the threat of Day Zero (currently on 4 June 2018) when the taps are expected to run dry, as well as other drought-stricken areas The decision follows requests from customers in other parts of the country who offered to donate bottles of water. A more effective way to help is to donate money, as water is heavy and difficult to pack and transport. The money raised will be utilised to source water optimally and transport it in the most efficient way to provide help to those suffering in the crisis. The Disaster Relief Fund was established in March 2016 in response to the debilitating drought in the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. It has since been used to assist communities affected by fire, flooding or other disasters. The Shoprite Group has for months been reaching out to the communities worst hit by the devastating drought. One of its initiatives was The Smart Water Meter Challenge in Cape Town, which has enabled schools, and ultimately the City of Cape Town, to save over 18 million litres of water to date. It continues and will escalate substantially efforts to save water over the months to come as more meters are introduced at additional schools.

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory were attempting to make magnetic nanowires when by accident they created something far more interesting and promising. When inspecting their failed experiment with a vapour analysis instrument and high-powered microscope they were astonished to see the carbon-rich nanorods oozing water whenever the humidity in the specimen holder was 50-80%. Full Story

THE ICE HOTEL The ICEHOTEL has been running since 1990 and has been imitated around the world. It's a big deal on the international tourist scene, and now has around 150 warm and cold beds respectively. In addition, the complex includes ice church, ice bar, ice sculpting studio and pillar hall. The hotel also includes two heated restaurants, lounge, four meeting rooms and two wilderness camps. Full Story

CAPE TOWN FIRM SCORES A Cape Town desalination company has won a R5b contract for a desalination plant in Saudi Arabia. The contract to design‚ build and operate the plant was awarded to GrahamTek by The Saline Water Conversion Corporation‚ which operates several water treatment plants across Saudi Arabia. . Full Story

37 S G


Energy

SA'S NUCLEAR DEBATE CONTINUES

d e l t set

S G 38


South Africa was facing a critical decision that could have seen it investing about R1 trillion – or US$60b to $70b – in a fleet of new nuclear power stations. Proponents argued that it would greatly increase electrical base-load capacity and generate industrial growth. But opponents believe the high cost would cripple the country economically. Hartmut Winkler, Professor of Physics at the University of Johannesburg, reports on how the state capture controversy influenced South Africa’s nuclear build. While this article was written just prior to newly-elected President Cyril Ramaphosa effectively ruling out nuclear power, the arguments made are as clear and succinct as we have encountered to date on this subject. And who says a nuke build programme will not raise its dubvious head again some years down the line? Consequently, we have left Prof Winkler's article lodged in its now 'historical' context of the pre-Ramaphosa administration.

W 

hat should be an economic decision has now been clouded by controversy, with

political

pressure

to

push

through the nuclear build and the increasingly apparent rewards it would bring to politically linked individuals. The nuclear expansion programme needs to be considered exceptionally carefully given that the required financial commitment is roughly equal to the total South African annual tax revenue. Loan repayments could place a devastating long-term burden on the public and on the economy as a whole.

South Africa’s energy needs South Africa is in the process of massively expanding and modernising its electricity generation capacity. The

government-driven Integrated

Resource

Plan aims to increase total capacity from 42 000MW (peak demand of 3  000  MW) to 85  000  MW (peak demand of 68 000 MW) in 2030. A key component of this plan is the construction of facilities to produce 9 600MW of nuclear power. However, this aspect of the plan has been challenged. The biggest concern is that nuclear power is too expensive for the country. The debate gained momentum when the 2013 update to the 2010-2030 electricity plan found that electricity demand is growing slower than originally anticipated. Peak demand in 2030 is now expected to range between 52 000 MW and 61 000 MW. There is consequently widespread belief that new nuclear power stations can be delayed considerably.

South Africa’s energy generation options South Africa has had remarkable success with speedy, cost-effective installation of renewable energy  power plants. In addition to this, technologies for harvesting South Africa’s plentiful wind and solar energy resources are rapidly becoming cheaper, raising the question of whether the country should not invest more in these options rather than in going nuclear. The argument that nuclear energy provides a stable base load, independent of weather conditions, is mitigated by improvements in energy storage technologies. But also by the fact that South

39 S G


Africa, with its large coal power production, has a proportionally higher base load than many highly developed industrialised countries. The pro-nuclear option is therefore not unavoidable, as nuclear proponents suggest, but rather a matter for thorough economic consideration.

Zuma & the Russians The nuclear debate gained a political dimension when President Jacob Zuma and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, started to develop an unusually close relationship. It culminated in an announcement that the Russian nuclear developer, Rosatom, had been awarded the potentially highly lucrative contract to build the new reactors. The agreement was later denied. Rosatom

was

considered

the preferred

contender, with other bidders only there to lend the process legitimacy, according to some observers. The lack of transparency surrounding the process, coupled with a history of corruption in South African mega-projects like the arms deal, has made the whole scheme seem suspicious to the broader public.

A thickening plot

a corrupt system where state officials owe their

A crucial thread in this saga involves the Shiva uranium mine, about 30km north-west of Pretoria, the

country’s

executive

capital.

It

originally

belonged to a company called Uranium One, a subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom. It was sold in 2010 to Oakbay Resources, a company controlled by members of the politically connected Gupta family and the president’s son, in a deal that greatly surprised economists (http://www.rdm. co.za/business/2016/04/22/two-sworn-enemiesin-the-mining-industry-agree-oakbay-is-a-dud). The mine was deemed unprofitable and thus

than the public interest. This was highlighted by the shock dismissal of Finance Minister Nhanhla Nene, a reported nuclear build sceptic, but also by subsequent allegations of ministerial positions being offered to people by members of the Gupta family.

Political, legal & civil opposition The nuclear build’s association with the Zuma faction in the ruling African National Congress

unattractive to other mining companies. But it was

(ANC) will be a political hot potato for decades

still considered worth a whole lot more than the

to come. The whole scandal also offers potential

R270 million paid by Oakbay. The mine would,

opportunity to opposition parties. With increasing

however, become highly profitable if it became the

evidence of individuals benefiting, opposition

uranium supplier to the new nuclear power stations.

parties have found another spot to exploit, as they

Oakbay and its associates therefore have a very

did with Nkandla. A post-Zuma government would

strong incentive for this nuclear build to happen.

find it most convenient to simply dissociate itself

It is here that the nuclear build drama feeds

S G 40

allegiance to politically connected oligarchs rather

from the whole scheme.

into the recent major controversy surrounding

The South African courts have been used

alleged state capture (http://mg.co.za/article/2016-

very effectively by pressure groups in the past.

03-24-the-gupta-owned-state-enterprises), meaning

Already a number of environmental groups have


South Africa has had remarkable success with speedy, cost-effective installation of renewable energy  power plants. In addition to this, technologies for harvesting South Africa’s plentiful wind and solar energy resources are rapidly becoming cheaper, raising the question of whether the country should not invest more in these options rather than in going nuclear. initiated legal applications, and these might end up

especially for Rosatom, which is implicated in the

being escalated to the Supreme and Constitutional

developing scandal. The recent political mood

Courts. This will delay any building initiative by

swing against state capture and a likely credit rating

years.

downgrade add to the risk.

The South African experience with the 2010

Rosatom has suggested a nuclear build financing

World Cup has shown that mega-projects can come

option that effectively amounts to it providing

to fruition when there is broad overall support for

a loan. It is, however, conceivable that a future

the initiative. At the same time, South Africans can

government may not honour debt repayments

be very disruptive and obstructive when this is

if there is a view that the construction deal was

not the case. For example, the public opposition

secured irregularly.

to e-tolling, an electronic toll collection on certain

The narrow public support base and downright hostility in some quarters to a nuclear build has

roads. parties,

already effectively stalled local nuclear construction

the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom

plans. The level of controversy, high costs and

Fighters, have already expressed their strong criticism

potential for further disruption mean that the

of the planned nuclear build. Their supporters and

planned implementation could only proceed under

civil society in general have demonstrated their

severe social strain.

The

two

leading

opposition

capacity for mobilisation around specific issues. So

Such a scenario could very well cost the ruling

the potential for an anti-nuclear protest movement

ANC the 2019 national elections. And the party is

cannot be discounted.

becoming increasingly aware of this. As such, it is

A negative nuclear outlook Building these plants is a risky business proposition,

posited that the nuclear build will not happen any time as soon as planned.

SG

Republished from The Conversation under Creative Commons licence

41 S G


Energy

Renewable Energy Back on If anyone was in doubt that the election to the ruling African National Congress party's top job of Cyril Ramaphosa was going to produce 'good things', one only need to read the recent announcement that additional renewable energy projects were back on the table for independent power producers. We take a look.

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43 S G


T 

he statement on the approval of power utility Eskom's application to purchase additional renewable energy from independent power

producers was not long, nor rich in detail. And it was not even all about the REIPPP either. But it was important. Indeed, it was a complete turn-around from the bleak, dark days of Eskom under former CEO Brian

Molefe when, despite literally saving the country billions and helping prevent further rolling blackouts, independent power producers were suddenly shut out cold. Already-signed or about-to-be-signed deals for perfectly sensible additional power production to be produced from, among others, concentrated solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) plants, were simply unilaterally cancelled. Then, as part of President Jacob Zuma's state capture pièce de résistance, multiple nuclear plants were being preferred instead by those in political power. This was for the obvious reason that it's easier to hide an illicit hand-out or side-deal in a trillion rand government-controlled project than in small, efficient and quick-build private entity-led projects. But with Ramaphosa moving into power, the days of state capture run amok in SA's energy sector seem to be rapidly disappearing in our collective rear-view mirror. As we at Simply Green have been urging all along, independent power producers and others directly affected by the official dithering and nuclear option obsessing needed only to keep on keeping on for a bit, and sanity was bound to return. Ramaphosa's declaration, in no uncertain though still diplomatic terms, to all at the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, was that nuclear would not be an option if it was unaffordable to South Africa and, at present and likely going forward well into the future, it was clearly unaffordable. Thereby he put an emphatic end to the 'discussion' around the desirability of further nuclear power production capacity – there is no such desirability, except for those in positions to make illicit fortunes out of the ill-fated notion that costly and rapidly outdating technology was a 'good' idea. So back to the obvious – economically-strapped but sun-rich South Africa, which along the coast also

S G 44

has significant untapped wind power generating capacity, should do the obvious and partner up with private sector interests with decent track records to build South Africa's future, cost-efficient and endlessly renewable energy infrastructure. And that's just what has been announced. Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown had approved Eskom's application to purchase additional renewable energy from independent power producers, her department said. There seems little doubt that that was as a result of a new 'non-nuclear' board at Eskom and quite probably a 'direct order' from her party political boss – but even if it was not, it is still the right decision in the current South African context. 'The conclusion of the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to enable the implementation of the outstanding

projects under bid windows 3.5, 4 and 4.5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP) is critical to implementation of the national energy policy as articulated in the Integrated Resource Plan of 2010,' said Brown in her statement. The minister issued the statement without any apparent sense of irony, given prior pronouncements on the alleged absolutely 'necessity' for the nuclear option. In January, Eskom submitted an application to Brown, under Section 54 of the Public Finances Management Act, to purchase the additional energy. 'South Africans have reason to feel very proud of the progress the country has made adding renewable energy to the energy mix. There are risks to Eskom's financial and operational stability in the medium term, among others, that must be mitigated. We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint,' said Brown.


'I have requested Eskom to work expediently to implement the decision and avoid further delays. I have also written to the ministers of energy and of finance requesting that we discuss how to address Eskom's genuine concerns through expediting a revision of the Government Support Framework Agreement.' She said finalising amendments to the National Energy Regulation Act would enable Eskom and National Energy Regulator (NERSA) to efficiently and effectively resolve deadlocks relating to tariffs and regulatory frameworks by including a pre-determined appeal mechanism. The latter comment is a response at the level of the national power producer and its regulatory authority to yet another single-digit electricity tariff increase against the backdrop of requests/demands from previous Eskom boards for effective increases at or close to 20%. Whatever is done to restore Eskom's trashed finances, post Molefe et al, nothing could help the struggling power utility back onto its feet quicker or more efficiently than a series of rapidly-constructed (all things being relative) smaller, modular-type power production facilities under the watchful eyes of independent partners keen to make their end of

Whatever is done to restore Eskom's trashed finances, post Molefe et al, nothing could help the struggling power utility back onto its feet quicker or more efficiently than a serious of rapidly-constructed (all things being relative) smaller, modular-type power production facilities under the watchful eyes of independent partners keen to make their end of the system work cost-efficiently.

the system work cost-efficiently. With the REIPPP back on track, Eskom still faces other major challenges. For one, the issue of distribution still hangs in the air, unresolved and slowly becoming more serious over time. But perhaps a growing system of modularised,

Eskom, somewhat irrationally it has to be said, insists on hanging onto its deteriorating and under-pressure distribution network, even though it has insufficient funds to properly maintain it. Some movement on that front is inevitably necessary but, growing experience of working with

smaller and varied power production facilities

private sector partners involved in REIPPP projects

across the country and around the coasts will help

may help wean Eskom off its long-standing need to

take pressure off the ageing national electricity

be not merely the biggest player on the block but

distribution grid.

the only one.

SG

45 S G


Energy

fossil fuels LOSE SUPPORT

S G 46


The World Bank, which provides developing countries about US$60b a year in financial assistance, is officially phasing out its support for the oil and gas industries. Jason Kirk, Associate Professor of Political Science and Policy Studies, Elon University, reports.

T 

his move brings its actions more in sync with its overarching commitment to slowing the pace of climate change and keeping the Paris

agreement on track. Based on my research regarding international relations, I see this move – which World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced in December – as significant for two reasons. The bank has signaled that the international community is taking the fight against global warming more seriously than ever. And it shows that the bank intends to keep playing a leading role in that battle at a time when its most powerful shareholder, the US, is

turning its back on global environmental leadership.

Climate leadership Kim has been taking the World Bank in a direction that climate change activists and other critics have long advocated by positioning the institution as a global environmental leader since he became its president in 2012. In 2013, the bank decided to stop financing the construction of coal-fired power plants, except in cases where no viable alternatives existed. Three years later, the World Bank pledged that it would make 28% of all of its transactions by 2020 advance climate action. The bank's climate efforts are wide-ranging. It lends money to build solar and wind farms, requires its borrowers to take steps to shrink their carbon footprints, and has a goal of 'greening the whole financial system.'

US relations Kim's announcement, which rules out new lending but does not affect loans made in the past or in the next year or two, may portend some political drama. But President Donald Trump has not yet commented on it. That could change, given that Trump has declared that the US would withdraw from the Paris agreement. Exiting the world's most far-reaching global climate compact, signed by nearly every country on the planet, until now has appeared to be a largely symbolic gesture. Trump has even said that he might 'conceivably' change course. However, his administration has sought to cut some of the funding for the World Bank and similar institutions. Although the US wields veto power over changes to the World Bank's structure and has historically

47 S G


selected its top leader, Kim's tenure is apparently safe. He began a second five-year term in July 2017, and Trump has supported him so far.

The fine print When the bank swore off coal in 2013, Kim argued that 'poor people should not pay the price with their lives of mistakes that people have been making in the developed world for a very long time.' Since then, the bank's primary lending division has only considered one loan for a coal project, a Kosovo power plant. But the World Bank Group's two private sector arms, the International Finance Corp. and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, have continued to support new fossil fuel ventures, including coal, in Africanand Asian countries – and elsewhere. For example, the IFC, has indirectly funded 41 new coal-fired power plants in countries like Bangladesh and the Philippines by financing banks that lent money to build them – despite the bank's refusal to directly make loans like those. The IFC also directly invested $200m in Citla Energy, a Mexican oil company, in 2016. Likewise, when Kim made this announcement, he did not completely rule out all future support

The World Bank has signaled that the international community is taking the fight against global warming more seriously than ever. And it shows that the bank intends to keep playing a leading role in that battle at a time when its most powerful shareholder, the US, is turning its back on global environmental leadership.

for gas investment. Instead, he held open the possibility of continued support for natural gas 'in the poorest countries where there is a clear benefit

cause of climate change – makes little institutional

in terms of energy access for the poor and the

sense.

project fits within the countries' Paris Agreement commitments.'

To be continued

the World Bank's help, even if that means they reap less revenue from these industries due to their

For an institution whose mission seeks a 'world free

weaker bargaining power. For this reason, the bank

of poverty', the impulse to continue lending for fossil

will weigh carefully whether to pull out of fossil

fuel projects could be strong. Recent experience

fuels entirely in the very poorest countries.

with coal suggests that while the bank's direct

The World Bank includes 188 member countries

lending indeed may end in all but isolated cases, its

besides the US. Even if the institution's bucking of

indirect support for private sector investment may

fossil fuels proves somewhat less than absolute, any

continue.

progress in that direction shows how hard it would

The alternative to this support for poor countries is usually to partner with private investors, including corporations and big countries such as China, which is lending developing countries about $40b a year, according to economist David Dollar. Given the Bank's emphasis on climate action, supporting oil, gas and coalproduction – the main

S G 48

But we expect developing countries to continue to exploit their oil and gas deposits even without

be for the Trump administration to truly undermine the Paris climate deal.

SG

This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that the World Bank has not approved the Kosovo coal loan that it has considered making. Click here for all resources. Republished from The Conversation under Creative Commons licence.


Water doesn’t come from a tap. Water goes on a long and complicated journey to get to you.

Visit journeyofwater.co.Za to learn more about where your water comes from. Photo Š Hougaard Malan

49 S G


Energy

Coal-fired power get

again While South Africa contemplates a cleaner, greener energy future, some in power are still harking back to bygone times and old technologies, seeking another costly and slow coal-fired power station build, rather than fast-build, cheaper, vastly greener and more sustainable renewable projects. We take a look.

S G 50


ets the 'green' light

51 S G


D 

espite the increased groundswell towards addressing the urgent threat of climate change – both in South Africa and abroad –

the South African government is moving backwards by continuing to approve unnecessary, dirty and expensive coal power. On 30 January 2018, the Minister of Environmental Affairs issued a long-awaited decision1 in relation to the environmental authorisation for the Thabametsi coal-fired power station. The Minister has decided that – despite the undisputed evidence of the significant climate impacts of the power station2, and a landmark judgment of the High Court last year, setting aside the authorisation – the Thabametsi environmental authorisation will remain in place. This leaves civil society organisations with no choice but to return to court to challenge the Minister's decision. Thabametsi – as a preferred bidder under

emissions could be very high' and pointed out that

the Coal Baseload Independent Power Producers

'emissions risks are very high and water scarcity

Procurement Programme – still needs to obtain

risks are high and the very high GHG emission levels

further required licences and authorisations in

associated with the project implies

order to reach financial and commercial close

cost.' The Minister, in her decision, goes on to

under the programme, which appears to be on hold pending the finalisation of the Integrated Resource

conclude that:

Plan for Electricity (IRP).

'while the environmental and social costs

The Minister's decision follows the landmark

associated with the proposed power station

High Court judgment in March 2017, in favour of

are high, this does not necessarily represent

Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (ELA), in which the

a fatal flaw, provided that the benefits are

High Court confirmed that a climate change impact

justified and can be motivated' (these are the

3

4

conclusions of the EOH review);

assessment is a necessary part of an environmental impact assessment for a coal-fired power station.

'Having carefully balanced all relevant factors

The Minister was ordered to reconsider Thabametsi's

(including the threat of climate change), the

environmental authorisation, but with a climate

final IRP 2010 – 2030 does not prohibit the

change impact assessment, and to decide whether

establishment of new coal-fired power stations.

the power station can go ahead.

Rather it permits that 6.3GW of new generation capacity may be derived from coal'; and

In June 2017, Thabametsi made its final climate impact assessment

5

available for consideration

she is satisfied that 'the overall assessment of

and comment. This assessment revealed that the

the risks and impacts associated with the GHG

plant would havestaggering greenhouse gas (GHG)

emissions and climate change vulnerabilities

emissions6; that climate change will pose significant

is systematic, realistic, conservative and not

risks for the power station in terms of limited water

understated'.

availability and temperature increases; and that these impacts cannot be substantially mitigated.

S G 52

a high social

Makoma Lekalakala of ELA (which, together with the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) and

In fact, in her decision, the Minister points out

groundWork8 forms part of the Life After Coal/

that her advisors EOH Coastal and Environmental

Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle Campaign9) says:

Services (EOH) – who conducted a peer review7 of

'We are shocked that the Minister is allowing

Thabametsi's climate change impact assessment –

Thabametsi to go ahead when the climate change

indicated that: 'the significant risk relating to GHG

impact assessment clearly shows the devastating


South Africa's own climate change response policy confirms that South Africa is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and that the energy sector is the largest contributor to South Africa's GHG emissions and their climate change impacts.

power capacity is needed in South Africa (this includes Thabametsi and the other preferred bidder, the proposed Khanyisa coal-fired power station). South Africa's electricity needs can be met – at least cost – with renewable energy, which does not have the climate, health, and water impacts of coal plants such as Thabametsi.

groundWork's Bobby Peek

says: 'The IRP 2010 does not reflect South Africa's current electricity reality – the country currently has surplus electricity capacity and renewables are now much cheaper than coal-based electricity.' The previous Minister of Energy indicated in a media release of 1 September 201712 that all future IPP programmes were on hold, pending the new IRP. The Life After Coal Campaign maintains that

Minister Molewa should, at least, have awaited the revised IRP before making her decision.

impacts that the power station will have, and despite South Africa's international commitments to reduce GHG emissions. This is a clear indication that the Minister does not take South Africa's commitments to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C

CER attorney Nicole Loser says: 'On the face of it,

the Minister's decision is not reasonable or rational. In the circumstances, our client ELA has no option but to return to court to challenge the Minister's decision.'

SG

or even 2°C, seriously.' The EOH peer review confirms that the risks of harm are very high – actually pointing out that the

RESOURCES 1

climate change impact assessment should have classified the GHG emissions impact as 'very high',

Appeal-Decision-30-January-2018-2.pdf 2

rather than 'high'. Despite this, EOH claims that this

https://cer.org.za/news/media-release-thabametsi-climateimpact-assessment-reveals-staggering-greenhouse-gas-

does not necessarily present a fatal flaw, provided the benefits are justified and can be motivated. 'Yet

https://cer.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Thabametsi-

emissions 3

https://cer.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Judgment-

that it would be aligned with the IRP 2010. Reliance

4

http://earthlife.org.za/

on an extremely-outdated document that is under

5

https://cer.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Thabametsi-

the Minister's only reason for allowing this project is

Earthlife-Thabametsi-Final-06-03-2017.pdf

review can never be a sufficient justification to cause irreversible damages to our air, water, and

Final-Summary-Report-Jun17.pdf 6

climate,' says Elana Greyling of ELA and a resident of

impact-assessment-reveals-staggering-greenhouse-gas-

Lephalale, where the power station would be built. South Africa's own climate change response

https://cer.org.za/news/media-release-thabametsi-climateemissions

7

https://cer.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Final-Peer-

vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and

8

http://www.groundwork.org.za/

that the energy sector is the largest contributor

9

https://lifeaftercoal.org.za/

to South Africa's GHG emissions and their climate

10

policy confirms that South Africa is extremely

Review-Thabametsi-Power-Station-CCIA-14-Dec-2017.pdf

change impacts. This decision comes at a time when South

key-information 11

Africa is revising its IRP and with a growing body

Industrial Research11, showing that no new coal

https://cer.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ Meridian-Economics-Eksoms-financial-crisis-and-the-viability-

of research10 from institutions such as Meridian Economics and the Council for Scientific and

https://cer.org.za/programmes/pollution-climate-change/

of-coal-fired-power-in-South-Africa.pdf 12

http://www.energy.gov.za/files/media/pr/2017/IPP-Media%20 Statement-01September2017.pdf

53 S G


C O M P A N Y P R O F I LE

Bring power

S G 54


home

Among companies helping us live the green lifestyle is Energy Partners, who, with their Home Solutions packages, offer a range of user-friendly, cost-efficient applications for those with an earth-friendly orientation. We take a look.

E 

veryone, more or less, by now knows that there are substantial savings to be had if you are a homeowner wishing to cut down on utility bills

and reduce your impact on the planet. A lot of people know, for example, that a solar water heater, installed correctly and supplemented in a rational manner with grid-based power, can save as much as 40% on one's home electricity bill. But few realise that savings can far exceed that – by combining energy-efficiency and solar photo-voltaic (PV), you can save up to 70% on your electricity bill.

Energy Independence The idea that you can make yourself largely independent of the national power grid without going whole-hog off-the-grid is also not necessarily generally held. Replacing your old geyser and lights with the latest, most efficient technology contributes a great deal to savings. Not everyone can afford to simply go out and buy a geyser, but over the next five to 10 years many homeowners will find their old geyser under-performing or that their geyser has simply grown old and broken down. That's the time to make the right kind of investment in a device used daily (when there's no severe drought, as the Western Cape is currently experiencing) but which over time can repay you for its cost many times over. Installing panels on your roof to generate your own electricity, at lower cost than you buy it from the grid, is another fairly obvious way to go. Adding batteries to store excess solar energy for using at night is likely the next step in a programme of increasing energy independence.

55 S G


Systems can be financed over five years and can

or thin film panels are used. Aluminium or

be tailored to suit each home, so there's no reason

stainless steel mounting structure is used for all roof types.

not to go down this cost-saving road. Using these strategies, Energy Partners Home

a smart inverter, the 'ICON home energy hub'.

energy use by combining energy efficiency and solar

This hybrid inverter fulfils all the functions of

PV. Their systems are fully modular so you can start

a standard inverter, but also integrates to your

small and build up to complete independence over

batteries and to the company’s heat pump to

time.

maximize savings. Their 3kW Hybrid Inverter

Best in Class Products

of power source and a mobile app for remote

Energy Partners Home Solutions has a wide range

monitoring. Unlike most conventional inverters,

of products but they also have some 'best in class

the Icon Home Energy Hub is designed to look

products' on which they are particularly keen. Below

good in any room in the home. Wiring and

are several of these.

cables are concealed within the enclosures

Heat Pump & Storage Tank – Helping you

as far as possible so as not to detract from

to save 70% of water heating cost and store

the home's appearance. Energy Partners' PV

extra solar energy as hot water, this system is

systems come with a mobile app that you can

among the best ways to go. Heat pumps use

download on your phone. The app enables

energy from the air to heat water, in the reverse

you to track how much energy your system is

of a refrigeration cycle. They are extremely

producing in real time, as well as savings over

efficient – using only one-third of the energy of

the past weeks and months. The mobile app is

with a 7kW AC pass-through has a LED indicator

traditional geysers and are not dependent on sunshine for energy. Energy Partners utilises

available for iOS and Android systems devices. •

Batteries – Adding batteries to your system

high-quality, indirect heat pumps, which ensure

means that you will stay powered during

that hot water is always available.

power outages. Energy Partners use lithium

Solar Panels – Capturing the sun's energy

iron phosphate (LiFePO4) technology in their

and producing your own electricity is a literal

batteries. These batteries are much more

no-brainer. Energy Partners source only the

efficient and take up much less space compared

highest quality tier one solar PV modules

to traditional lead based batteries. They also

directly from the manufacturer. Each panel

have extremely long lifespans – over 10 years

is laboratory-tested to confirm its theoretical

of daily charging/discharging. Their LiFEPO4

output. Their panels have a 25-year linear output

batteries produce 3.6kWh or 6kWh, 4000 cycles

guarantee and a material and workmanship

to 100% depth of discharge.

warranty. Only tier 1 panels, polycrystalline

S G 56

Icon Inverter – Energy Partners have developed

Solutions are helping homeowners to optimise their


Energy Partners Home Solutions are helping homeowners to optimise their energy use by combining energy efficiency and solar PV. Making Savings Affordable

with a formal proposal for your solution, as well as options to finance it. You can then take

Many homeowners are discouraged by the upfront

time to consider it and make your choice when

cost of a good quality home energy system. However, the savings will greatly outweigh the costs over the lifespan of a system.

you're ready. •

to your local municipality for the necessary

Another option is for homeowners to finance

approvals. Most installations are done within

their systems and pay them off over time.

two days and then they are out of your way.

Energy partners offer their own in-house financing, or the system can be added to an existing home loan. In most cases the savings on electricity far outweigh the additional bond payments, including interest. For example, a homeowner could make additional payments of R369 000 on their bond over 20 years, but would expect to save R750 000 on electricity over time (assuming provision for a family home in the City of Cape Town, with an electricity bill of a R2 500 per month). Energy Partners are registered credit providers and can finance projects in-house, saving even more money which would be taken up by third party financing.

The Process Energy Partners Home Solutions pride themselves on taking care of every part of your project – design, supply, licence applications and installation. They will assign a solar consultant to you to manage every step of the process. They have made the process as simple as possible: •

Free consultation – Their experts do all the leg work. One of their solar consultants will visit your home and create a custom solution devised just for you and your family's needs.

Personalised Proposal – They will supply you

Installation – If required, they will also apply

A home energy adviser is ready to assist. Energy Partners' solar consultants are all knowledgeable experts that will help you find the right solution tailored for your home and budget. Your adviser will schedule and oversee the installation of your system and keep you informed throughout the process.

Custom Projects Although their ICON product is designed to meet the needs of most homes, there are projects for which it is not suitable. These include: •

3 Phase systems

100% off grid systems

Systems larger than 5kW These more complex projects fall into their

'custom project' category and they handle them with an engineering-led approach. They start by clearly defining the client's needs and then building up the right solution, using the best components available. Energy Partners' engineers work closely with architects, quantity surveyors and other professionals on these projects to make sure that their solutions are well integrated into the design. Energy Partners has been in business for more than eight years and employs over 180 people. Their reputation is built around delivering a great experience for every customer.

SG

57 S G


CASE STUDY

PANORAMA VET CLINIC Overview

As part of the project, they wanted to look at ways to increase their electricity supply with cheaper, reliable and environmentally friendly energy. Their priorities were:

Panorama Vet Clinic installed a solar PV and energy management system that has reduced their grid electricity usage by 17% and solved their overloading problem. In early 2017 Panorama Vet Clinic approached Energy Partners Home Solutions to assist them with reducing the cost of electricity at the clinic. After an in-depth analysis, it was decided to install a 17 kWp grid-tied solar PV system. In order to reduce the impact on cash flow, the system was leased for the first 6 months and purchased in stages. The system was installed within 5 days on site with minimal disruption to the daily activities of this 24-hour facility. An average saving of R3565 per month was realised within the first 3 months after the system was commissioned.

The Energy Partners Solution On 31 January 2017, the clinic contacted Energy Partners Home Solutions and Jeffrey Neethling, one of our energy experts paid a visit to the clinic. The site was carefully inspected & the consumption was logged for 2 weeks. This information was used to develop an optimal system for the client.

The overall result of this installation was a 17% reduction in their grid energy dependency and a substantial increase in their overall electricity capacity.

Panorama Vet Grid Consumption

Panorama Vet Grid Consumption

The Challenge

6

Panorama Veterinary Clinic & Specialist Centre has been servicing the local community of Cape Town for 16 years. The clinic is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with a 24-hour emergency service that offers after hours assistance to other veterinary clinics and their four legged clients. The team includes 18 veterinarian staff members as well as administrative and support staff.

5

Panorama Vet Clinic had a monthly electricity bill of R20 000,00. In addition their consumption often exceeded their breaker limit, tripping their power and causing an outage.

www.poweryourself.co.za

4 3 2 1 -

00:00

06:00

12:00

18:00

Figure 1: The Panorama Vet Clinic’s original daily energy consumption graph

Monthly bill - without solution

% Saving

% of PV utilised

~R

0%

0%

Annual saving

Monthly savings

Est. Monthly repayments

S G 58


The Solution The system was sized to maximise utilisation of the available roof space while staying within the day time consumption of the clinic. Modules

Current Consumption of Panorama Vet

17.2KWp (54 x 320 W) polycrystalline solar panels – mounted on the roof.

Inverter

25kW 3 phase SMA Inverter – selected for its quality, reliability and excellent monitoring capabilities.

The system was installed over the course of 5 days. All components were commissioned by Energy Partners. After a 2-week period set out for commissioning, trial and registration, the system was officially handed over.

Figure 2: The Panorama Vet with Solar PV Installation

Financing The total cost of the system was R306k and although the investment made absolute sense for the clinic it did present a challenge in terms of cashflow. Through Energy Partners’ innovative financing options the practice made use of a combination of a performance lease agreement and an instalment purchase. This allows Panorama Vet Clinic to maximise their savings with almost no upfront capital required.

The Result The energy solution installed has effectively reduced the municipal electricity bill with an average of R 3,565 per month. The electricity supply capacity of the clinic was also increased by as much as 25% during peak solar production effectively avoiding unnecessary power interruptions during critical periods. In addition to this good financial decision, investing in renewable energy will also reduce the business’s environmental impact by 25 tonnes of Co2 emissions per year. Cumulative Savings R 1,800,000 R 1,800,000

Cumulative Savings

6.8

R 1,600,000 R 1,600,000

Years Payback

New Usage

Old Usage

The above graph indicates the current electricity consumption profile of Panorama Vet. The green section represents power from the grid and the orange section represents solar power. Overall 25% of the clinic’s daytime usage is now supplied by solar PV. As an added bonus Panorama Vet Clinic can deduct the full value of the system from their taxable income in year 1 as part of an accelerated tax allowance granted to businesses that install systems smaller than 1MWp. This allowance makes a positive impact on the financial viability of investing in an energy system for any SME. Although the clinic opted to purchase a part of the system they have also made use of Energy Partners Home Solutions’ Performance Lease agreement which allowed them to benefit from an energy solution but without having to lay the capital out for the cost of the system.

“The Energy Partners

Home Solutions team made sure that the communication was clear and we were well informed throughout the entire process. - Erica Kotze, Panorama Vet

R 1,400,000 R 1,400,000 R 1,200,000 R 1,200,000

18%

R 1,000,000 R 1,000,000

Return on Investment

R 800,000R 800,000 R 600,000R 600,000

25 tons

R 400,000R 400,000 R 200,000R 200,000 R-

R-

1 Cost Cost 1

22

33

4 4

55

66

77

88

99

10 10

1-20 1-20

Reduced Carbon Emissions

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation energy assessment. More data is available on our website at www.poweryourself.co.za

NumberYears of yearsPayback, R.OI & Carbon Emissions Figure 3: Panorama Vet Cumulative Savings,

6.8

18%

25 tonnes

Years Payback

Return on Investment

Reduced Carbon Emissions

59 S G


TOP TIPS FOR AN ENERGY EFFICIENT & ULTRA-MODERN HOME By Cala van der Westhuizen Head of Marketing and Sales at Energy Partners Home Solutions

For a no-obligation meeting with a highly experienced energy consultant, contact Energy Partners Home Solutions on 0861 000 606. For more information, visit www.poweryourself.co.za

Official energy solutions provider to Val de Vie

Energy efficiency has become a global trend and designers are constantly presenting homeowners with visions of what high-tech, energy efficient homes should look like.

T

he good news is that state-of-the-art energy saving solutions are available in South Africa, and in spite of perceptions, creating ultra-modern living spaces is very affordable. Whether designing and building a new house, upgrading a regular home or renovating a “fixer upper”, homeowners today have an incredible opportunity to implement great energy saving solutions. New water heating solutions A geyser is responsible for over half of a home’s energy bill and the modern alternative is to install a heat pump, which uses about a third of the total energy. In conjunction with a highly insulated hot water storage system, this solution cuts the home’s electricity costs by an estimated 50%. A complete heating solution costs around R35,000 for the average home. Rethinking lighting Highly efficient LED lighting typically requires a tenth of the energy and have a longer lifespan than regular bulbs. Constructing a new home or making major renovations is also an opportunity to allow more natural light into the building. The home’s orientation, larger windows, glass doors and skylights all reduce the need for unnecessarily turning lights on throughout the day. Insulate everything While it is not one of Energy Partners’ core services, we advise clients that insulation is a cost efficient measure with the biggest impact on reducing energy consumption. Double-brick walls with insulation in between, and well insulated ceilings and floors are vital. Double glazing also reduces heat loss through large glass surfaces like windows and sliding doors. Door and window frames are often overlooked

S G 60

sources of heat loss, and wooden frames still offer the most benefits in terms of reducing heat transfer between the inside and outside of the home.

average home’s energy, costs upward of R80k. We often advise architects and developers on the easiest way to ensure that the roof is compliant even if a system will not be installed from the start. For a home to be able to accommodate the best possible solar array, the roof should be able to bear an additional load of at least 15kg per square meter. Choosing the correct service provider is important, however. There are many solar companies that do not have the experience, capabilities or intent to deliver a long term and sustainable partnership to clients.

Heating and cooling the home Energy Partners Home Solutions does not provide air-conditioning but our consultants advise clients on where to find efficient cooling and heating solutions. Modern fireplaces are great for cheaply heating living spaces. Conventional underfloor heating that uses closed circuit water-based systems and heat pumps, is also one of the most efficient ways to heat a well-insulated home. For cooling, a new inverter air-conditioner never uses more energy than required to maintain the desired temperature. Home energy models through software Software modelling is commonplace in the commercial sector, and recently it has become more accessible to homeowners. It takes all the energy ins- and outs into account, from heat radiating through windows and ceilings, to the energy required for air-conditioning and heating water. One case study in Hermanus saw Greenplan Consultants creating a virtual model of the home incorporating every possible variable, from the benefits of installing louvres, to the amount of heat removed by natural ventilation. In the end, the consultant was able to increase the cooling efficiency of the home’s natural ventilation by 10%, and reducing the amount of energy needed for heating by a further 10%. Solar panels and architectural considerations Solar photovoltaic (PV) system with a basic grid tied inverter that provides around 30% of an

Batteries and home automation Finally, adding a hybrid inverter and battery provides the most energy savings. The inverter enables you to integrate power from the solar PV panels, the grid and batteries. Energy Partners’ own ICON Home Energy Hub pairs a hybrid inverter with Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. These are available in 3.6 kWh and 6kWh capacity. A mobile app also enables homeowners to track energy usage and savings in real time. For homes and businesses with bigger energy requirements, we also provide custom solutions provided by engineers specialising in this field. As a leading supplier of energy saving technology for homes in South Africa, Energy Partners Home Solutions provides and installs state of the art lighting, water heating, photovoltaic systems and fully integrated energy hub solutions. As a registered financial services provider, we also offer financing options to qualifying homeowners.


STEP 1: EFFECIENCY LED DOWNLIGHTS The The latest latest lighting lighting technology technology that that uses uses aa fraction fraction of of the the energy, energy, looks looks great great and and lasts lasts 25 25 times times longer. longer.

LIGHTING: LIGHTING:

90%

WATER WATER HEATING HEATING & & STORAGE STORAGE AA heat heat pump pumpuses usesonly only¹/3 ¹/3of of the the energy energy of ofconventional conventional geysers geysers and and doesn’t doesn’tstop stop working working when whenthere thereisisno nosun. sun.

HOT HOTWATER: WATER:

50% 50%--70% 70%

STEP 2: SELF SELF GENERATION GENERATION

SOLAR SOLAR PANELS PANELS

High Highquality qualitypanels panelswith withaalinear linear power poweroutput outputwarranty warrantyof of25 25 years. years.Conform Conformto tothe thenatural natural contour contourof ofyour yourroof roofwith withno no unsightly unsightlytanks tanksor orpipes. pipes.

HYBRID HYBRID INVERTER INVERTER

3 STEPS TO

A GREENER HOME ENERGY SAVING APP

Monitor Monitor your your system’s system’s performance performance and and status status from from wherever wherever you you are, are, using using aa phone phone or or tablet. tablet.

Converts Convertssolar solarenergy energyfrom from the thesolar solarpanels panelsso sothat thatititcan can be beused usedwithin withinyour yourhousehold household or orstored storedin inaabattery. battery.

Save Saveup upto to70% 70%on onyour yourbill bill (combined (combinedwith withLEDs LEDs and andWater Waterheating heating&&Storage) Storage)

STEP 3: STORAGE STORAGE

ENERGY ENERGY STORAGE STORAGE Extra Extra electricity electricitygenerated generated during during the the day daycan canbe be stored, stored, either eitheras ashot hotwater wateror or in in our our lithium lithiumion ionbatteries. batteries.

Save Saveup upto to80% 80% on onyour yourbill bill (Combined (Combinedwith with Phases Phases11&&2) 2)

61 S G


E nergy N ews

The Real Cost of Nuclear Energy Cancer, coverups and contamination. Disinformation is a component of any propaganda. The highly paid technocrats and advocates of 'peaceful uses of the atom' increasingly use disinformation to repress and control public protest against nuclear pollution and environmental injustice. How about the hundreds of thousands of people that have died and suffered from the whole nuclear cycle? How about future generations who will similarly suffer from long-term contamination?

Full Story

HEATING YOUR HOME A new startup called Dandelion, born from the secretive and futuristic lab 'X' of Google's parent company Alphabet, says it will offer affordable geothermal heating and cooling systems to homeowners. Existing systems are typically expensive with big upfront installation fees, discouraging homeowners from adopting the technology. Home geothermal systems tap into the ground's energy. Because geothermal energy is generated and stored in the earth, these systems use plastic pipes in the ground and a pump inside the home.

Full Story

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MUSK's HYPERLOOP Elon Musk announced that the New York City to Washington DC hyperloop is happening. Taking to Twitter, Musk said that he has received verbal approval to build an underground hyperloop, with at least a dozen entrance/exits in each city. Once completed, riders will be able to travel from city center to city center in under 30 minutes. Although specifics on how and when it would all happen are still sketchy – and, of course, verbal approval is a far cry from having signatures on the dotted line – this is definitely a development worth keeping an eye on.

Full Story

Graphene-based computer A future graphene-based transistor using spintronics could lead to tinier computers that are a thousand times faster and use a hundredth of the power of silicon-based computers. The radical transistor concept, created by a team of researchers at Northwestern University, The University of Texas at Dallas, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of Central Florida, is explained this month in an open-access paper in the journal Nature Communications.

Full Story


HYDRO ENERGY POWERS VILLAGE

Arctic oil GETS green light

A self-taught inventor has powered a village in West Africa using a micro-hydroelectric dam using his savings of about R78 000. From conception to implementation, the project took Guinean math teacher Ibrahima Tounkara one year. Now, people in his village are paying him a small amount to have access to the hydroelectricity, a cheaper alternative to batteries. The dam now provides electricity to 94 homes.

For the environmental movement in Norway, it has been six long weeks of waiting since November court hearings in Oslo – where the future of Norway’s Arctic oil was on trial. The court’s verdict was handed down recently stating the state is not guilty of breaching the constitution by awarding new licenses for petroleum extraction, as the negative effects of this decision are small compared to the other efforts the Norwegian government undertakes to limit CO2 emissions and global warming.

Full Story

Full Story

WORLD'S LARGEST SOLAR PARK IS A GO

LONDON'S SOLAR RECYCLING POP UP

What is set to be the world's largest single-site solar park is getting a little larger, with the government of Dubai approving a 700 MW extension to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The new addition will give the facility a capacity of 5 000 MW by 2030, with a 260m solar tower to take centre stage. The extension will actually form the world's largest single-site concentrated solar power project generating solar power by using lenses and reflectors to concentrate sunlight and use it to heat fluids.

The mobile recycling factory of the future just landed in the 19th century courtyard of the historic Somerset House in Central London. Trashpresso is a giant solar-powered recycling plant that transforms discarded plastic bottles into architectural tiles. The machine is the brainchild of Pentatonic, a furniture and design company based in Berlin and London committed to using only post-consumer waste in their products – from chairs made from 'felted' plastic to glassware made from smartphone screens.

Full Story

Full Story

63 S G


M otoring

the sedan  is dead

long live the SUV S G 64


What was once a reliable workhorse and off-road conqueror has now grown (literally) into a multi-billion dollar auto sector that's rather hard to fault. Walter Hayward reports.

65 S G


A 

raised

ride-height,

commanding

driving

position and interior space combine into the perfect formula for a sales success. It's

not surprising, then, that SUVs have become more popular than the default sedan or hatchback – which have both seen a sharp drop in sales recently. One class that's struggling to find a foothold in South Africa, however, is the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) – mixing electricity with a conventional internal-combustion engine. This niche sector is often plagued by high asking-prices and a fear of change. Could combining the traits of these two types of vehicle result in a marriage made in heaven? The South African new car market doesn't sport a particularly wide selection of hybrid SUVs, with mostly premium brands offering hybrid models. These manufacturers have the necessary cash flow to design, engineer, and build impressive hybrids that make sense in real world driving. We've compiled a short list of SUVs – all from premium brands, featuring plug-in hybrid electric

Of course, these figures are claimed by the

powertrains. From BMW we have the X5 xDrive40e,

manufacturer and it might prove impossible to

Volvo offers the XC90 T8 Twin Engine, and Land

attain that level of efficiency. Nonetheless, it's still

Rover presents its first hybrid, the Range Rover

more impressive than conventional powertrains and

Sport P400e.

a lot less harmful than those sneaky diesels.

Manufacturers say people buy these vehicles

The X5 xDrive40e features an 8-speed Steptronic

because they're looking for exceptional fuel

transmission for seamless gear changing and almost

efficiency, space, and off-road ability, as well as

undetectable switching between hybrid modes. Its

some sportiness if they happen to find themselves

lithium-ion battery pack can be topped up from

on a twisty road.

any standard power socket, or at public charging

BMW X5 xDrive40e

plugged into the port located on the front left

Taking inspiration from the brand's trailblazing

fender. This allows the car to drive in pure electric

i8 hybrid sports car, the X5 xDrive40e is BMW's

mode for up to 25km – meaning short journeys can

first plug-in hybrid production SUV. Combining the

be easily completed with zero tailpipe emissions.

versatility and on-road presence of a large vehicle

Looks-wise, there's not much setting this model

with BMW's proven eDrive technology, the X5 presents

apart from other X5s, with only small badges on

a compelling argument for the green-conscious SUV

the front fenders and D-pillars hinting at its special

lover.

tech. Spec it with the M-Sport package and you can

The cleverly controlled interaction between the X5's TwinPower turbocharged engine and the

a have a menacing-looking SUV with a green heart.

rechargeable electric motor generating an output of

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine

230 kW, which ensures the SUV has that extra punch

Volvo surprised the market with their first hybrid

for some enthusiastic acceleration, yet won't leave

offering – the XC90 T8 – promising outright power,

you in tears at the petrol station. The hybrid returns

exceptional fuel economy, and low emissions, all

a combined fuel consumption of 3.4 litres/100km

in a 7-seat luxury SUV. The brand's Twin Engine

and only 78g/km of CO2, meaning it's exempt from

moniker simply refers to the two sources of power

emissions tax.

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stations, by using the included charging cable

found in the XC90 – its petrol engine and the


rechargeable electric motor.

Pure Electric mode.

The manufacturer believes the XC90 to be

Similar to the BMW, the XC90 T8's lithium-ion

segment leader, boasting 42km of zero emission,

battery pack can be charged from any domestic

pure electric range and 303kW of power at the

power socket by plugging its cable into the port

driver's disposal – all through an 8-speed automatic

situated on the front left fender.

transmission. It certainly is a powerful hybrid, and with R-Design sport package selected, it looks the part too. Yet, claimed fuel consumption is only 2.1 litres/100km and CO2 emissions as low as 49g/km. The Volvo features five different modes that offer drivers a range of performance and fuel efficient characteristics. Hybrid is the default mode and is suitable for everyday use, it alternates between the two power sources to deliver the best overall fuel consumption. Pure Electric mode is when the car's batteries are fully charged and can serve as its sole energy source, powering the electric motor over the rear axle. In Power mode, drivers get the combined performance of the combustion engine and the electric motor, offering the kind of acceleration that will make a few sports cars hot under the collar. AWD mode puts the XC90 in constant all-wheel

drive, which is especially helpful in tricky situations like navigating wet roads or going off-road. Lastly, Save mode allows the driver to 'freeze' the battery level, if fully charged, and save it for later use with

The South African new car market doesn't sport a particularly wide selection of hybrid SUVs, with mostly premium brands offering hybrid models. 67 S G


Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e The Range Rover Sport has long been the first choice for those in search of a luxury SUV with an extra dose of grandeur. This PHEV version is Jaguar Land Rover's first attempt at a hybrid powertrain and it hasn't spoiled the latter's image, but instead widened its appeal. Titled the P400e, this new model uses both JLR's Ingenium petrol engine and an electric motor

to deliver a total power output of 297kW from the permanent four-wheel drive system, powered through a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. The new powertrain mixes dynamics and fuel efficiency with the tried and tested RR-level of comfort and refinement. The P400e's lithium-ion battery allows the posh SUV to travel up to 51km in all-electric mode,

crowning it the electric range winner of this list. Like the previous two, the batteries can be charged by plugging its cable into a specific port hidden behind the grille. Boasting a claimed fuel economy figure of 2.8 litres/100km and only 64g/km CO2, the Sport PHEV is the most fuel-efficient model in Land Rover's history. It waits to be seen if the luxury SUV can live up to these figures, but they're still impressive nonetheless.

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The Range Rover Sport has long been the first choice for those in search of a luxury SUV with an extra dose of grandeur.


Engine 2.0 litre BMW X5 turbocharged xDrive40e petrol + 83kW electric motor

Power

Electric Range

Fuel Consumption

CO2

Price*

230kW

25km

3.4 litre/100km

78g/km

R1 348 956

Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine

2.0 litre supercharged + turbocharged petrol + 65kW electric motor

303kW

42km

2.1 litre/100km

49g/km

R1 151 500

Range Rover P400e PHEV

2.0 litre Ingenium petrol + 85kW electric motor

297kW

64km

2.8 litre/100km

64g/km

R1 589 400

Conclusion Hybrid cars, and hybrid SUVs primarily, are still considered a niche market within South Africa, mostly inhibited by limited choice, high price tags, and the allure of frugal, yet malign diesels. Still, with global warming, air pollution, and more stringent emission laws being passed,

car

manufacturers

are

now

more ardently searching for alternate, earth-friendly powertrains. It makes sense, then, that with the popularity of the SUV not dying down anytime soon and the increasing influx of new hybrid and battery technologies, vehicles like these will become more commonplace. The models on this list are just a hint of what's to come in the future – vehicles that are eco-conscious and partly electric, but still offer all the creature comforts that have made SUVs the most popular choice worldwide.

SG

*Prices correct at time of production

Published with permission of ANA Publishing

Combining the versatility and on-road presence of a large vehicle with BMW's proven eDrive technology, the X5 presents a compelling argument for the green-conscious SUV lover. The Volvo features five different modes that offer drivers a range of performance and fuel efficient characteristics. 69 S G


E nergy N ews PowerING Your Off Grid Home For 10 Years This new battery from Aquion Energy runs on saltwater and can power your home for nearly 10 years. The best thing is it’s safer for the environment. Not only are the new Aquion batteries safer for the environment, but because it’s full of saltwater they are also non-flammable, non-hazardous, and non-explosive, unlike traditional lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries. Last time we checked water was not flammable. I mean they do use it to put out fires and stuff. There are no heavy metals or toxic chemicals, and are the only batteries in the world to be 'cradle to cradle certified'. This is a great idea and one that the sustainable living world needs greatly. It’s about time something like this came along.

Click here for more.

graphene super batteries charge up in seconds With the aid of one of the strongest materials on Earth, a researcher at Australia’s Swinburne University has created a battery that charges up super fast and can be used over and over and over again, without losing efficiency. Researcher Han Lin developed the battery using a form of carbon called graphene, which is commonly heralded as one of the strongest materials on the planet. The new supercapacitor addresses many of the shortcomings of traditional lithium ion batteries, beating them in charging time, lifespan, and also environmental impact.It’s about time something like this came along.

Click here for more.

liquid battery charges with gravity By harnessing the force of gravity, researchers at MIT have designed a new liquid battery that functions similarly to an hourglass. The gravity-powered battery is groundbreaking in its simplicity, efficiency and low-cost, and the researchers believe that it could be used to create more powerful grid-connected storage systems. Although it’s only a proof-of-concept at the moment, the team is confident they can create a working prototype. Liquid flow batteries were first developed in the 1970s. Positive and negative electrons are stored in liquid form and are separated by a membrane. Historically, increasing the capacity of a liquid battery required larger tanks to hold more of the charged particle-filled slurry.

Click here for more.

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inventor of lithium-ion cells develops new battery 94-year-old John Goodenough is known for helping to develop the lithium-ion battery, but he’s not done revolutionizing energy storage yet. Goodenough led a team of engineers at The University of Texas at Austin to develop a new solid-state battery that can store three times more energy than lithium-ion cells. The new battery technology could lead to safer rechargeable batteries that last longer and charge faster than batteries on the market today. The team utilised glass electrodes instead of liquid electrodes in their battery to help make it safer.

Click here for more.

Kauai TO BE POWERED BY MASSIVE SOLAR BATTER THANKS TO TESLA Remember when Tesla was just a small-time electric car company making Roadsters? Now CEO Elon Musk is in the business of generating and storing solar electricity for entire islands as he continues on his mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. On Wednesday, the clean energy company unveiled its first big solar-plus-storage project since last year’s $2.6b acquisition of SolarCity – a 13 megawatt solar farm that will power the Hawaiian island of Kauai around the clock from 54,978 panels and 272 Powerpacks providing 52 megawatt-hours of energy storage.

Click here for more.

TESLA TO INSTALL BACKUP BATTERY FOR LA In the latest development to solidify Tesla’s position as more than just a luxury electric car maker, the California-based company has been chosen to produce a lithium ion battery solution to power the city of Los Angeles during peak energy times. Following the massive methane leak near L.A. last year that caused more environmental damage than the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, authorities demanded a peak time solution that would not carry such enormous health and environmental risks. Tesla will design and build exactly that solution at its new Gigafactory. Tesla will apply its experience building batteries for performance electric cars, home energy systems, and commercial installs to building a 20 MW/80 MWh Powerpack system.

Click here for more.

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E nergy N ews integratING battery storage, inverter and smart software A newcomer to the residential solar scene is developing a standalone solar and battery unit which can be used singly or connected in an array – helping to lower overall electricity costs considerably. SunCulture's SolPad solar device integrates solid state batteries directly into the solar panels themselves, offering its users the ability to not only generate their own clean electricity, but to also store if for use after dark or during peak demand times. The units include 'intelligent software' that communicates with both the user with their home's systems, allowing for granular control over which rooms or devices will receive the solar power. Click here for more.

rechargeable battery THAT COULD POTENTIALLY last UP TO 400 years Scientists working at the University of California, Irvine, believe they've accidentally stumbled upon a technique that could take that three-year average life-span of mobile devices and boost it to an astounding 300 or 400 years. Such a breakthrough would greatly increase the life-span of products, reduce waste and even help increase the mileage range of electric vehicles. The key to achieving this breakthrough involves the integration of a material thousands of times smaller than a human hair called nanowires, which are able to store more than 10 times the energy of existing lithium-ion technology.

Click here for more.

batteries made from recycled glass bottles A team of researchers at UC Riverside developed a low-cost way of turning disgarded glass bottles into lithium-ion batteries that store almost four times more energy and can last much longer than conventional batteries. This could mean significantly fewer charges for laptops, cell phones and electric cars, not to mention reducing waste. The team, led by Cengiz Ozkan, professor of mechanical engineering, and Mihri Ozkan, professor of electrical engineering at UC Riverside, asked themselves whether silicon dioxide found in waste beverage bottles would be able to provide high purity silicon nanoparticles that can be subsequently used for lithium-ion batteries.

Click here for more.

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Buildings

challenges& Where will humanity get the 89 billion tons of natural resources each year to fuel our consumption in 2050, asked Professor Mark Swilling at the Green Building Convention

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&solutions 2017 held in Cape Town recently and hosted by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA). We take a look at moving beyond green buildings towards green cities.

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2 

050 will arrive in 33 quick years and by then the earth's population is set to double, requiring a staggering 89 billion tons of

natural resources per year if we do not change our ways. To cope with the pressure, urban authorities need to be prepared to learn how to adapt, warned Swilling.

a focus beyond buildings, to green cities And many cities are trying to adapt. 'The world has broken out in a rash of experiments across all dimensions of urban life. We cannot continue to see cities simply as opportunities to channel finance into property development, or to spend money on out-of-date infrastructure,' he told delegates. 'Local government and GBCSA members need to talk about not just green buildings, but about green cities. Cities should be our focus, so that our impact is greater than singular buildings,' agreed Parks Tau, President of the South African Local

about the change. 'We need an entrepreneurial mode of governance that allows experimentation. And, in my view, our cities in Africa have an extraordinary opportunity to do things differently. We are still going through the big decisions on the types of urban systems required, and we can learn from cities in more developed countries. Are we going to emulate older

Government Association.

outdated nodes or are we going to anticipate and

annual consumption: 89 million tons of natural resources

we don't need sprawl, we can do zero waste, we

Swilling used urban metabolic analysis to understand how resources are used globally and found that if humanity's consumption habits do not change, then resource requirements scale from the current 40-billion tons to 89-billion tons per year. And less land will be available to supply these resources. In 2050 cities will more than double their current surface area to cover 2.5-million square kilometres, he said. And, if this expansion takes place, it will eat into the most productive agricultural

act? Are we going to say we don't need private cars, can do net zero multi-storey buildings?' Swilling challenged.

resource crunch creates gap for green building standards But what of South Africa, where local governments require financial surpluses from water and energy to cross-subsidise other service delivery efforts? 'As an advocate for sustainability I am equally an advocate for long-term municipal sustainability,' Tau said. 'This is why, during my tenure as Mayor of

land - normally found on urban outskirts.

Johannesburg, I asked City Power for a new business

african cities can pivot easier to sustainability

increased revenue, increased collections. It was

But what if a sustainable growth scenario occurred,

enable demand-side supply?' City Power used to be

where everyone lived in a green building, used

in a strong position to create billions for the City of

bus-rapid-transit and were powered by a series of

Johannesburg's budget, but Parks forecast that by

mini-grids connected to renewable energy sources?

2022 this opportunity would be gone, 'so it needed

'We found there would be a 40% saving in total

to start thinking about another plan'.

quantity of resources consumed,' Swilling said. And the challenge will not be introducing sustainable technology or systems, but rather the

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reconfiguration of governance necessary to bring

model. I asked for reduced green-house gases, a long multi-year conversation. Now, consider if City Power were a facilitator of microgrids and so

Similarly, while urbanization places municipal services

'under

massive

stress,

there

is

an

opportunity. For example, amend building codes to


meet GBCSA guidelines,' Tau said.

future cities will share and repair 'Change is a hockey stick and we're getting to the exponential bit,' said Jason Drew, Founder of Agriprotein. 'We'll see more change in the next five years that we can imagine.' Future businesses are moving away from the extract-manufacture-throw away product cycle and multi-generational product development, he said. A new way of doing business has begun where durable products can easily be repaired, shared and operated in a closed-loop cycle. 'Today the world's richest cities have huge bike share programmes, and the world's largest hotel company, which helps to find beds for 80 million people annually, doesn't own any infrastructure but instead invites ordinary people to share their second most valuable asset: their spare room,' said Drew. In 2008 Drew started a closed-loop business involving flies in Tulbagh. 'After many years of failing we started to understand how to grow flies. Today our factory in Philippi receives tons and tons of organic waste from the City of Cape Town, which fly larvae then turn into fertilizer, and the flies processed to create fishmeal or animal feed oil,' explains Drew. Agriprotein's fly larvae factories are being commissioned all over the world, and Dubai will use them to become the first zero-waste to landfill city in the world by 2021. 'We can repair the future, and we can do this in the most unusual ways,' concluded Drew.

SG

For further information visit www.gbcsa.org.za

'We need an entrepreneurial mode of governance that allows experimentation. Our cities in Africa have an extraordinary opportunity to do things differently. We are still going through the big decisions on the types of urban systems required, and we can learn from cities in more developed countries. Are we going to emulate older outdated nodes or are we going to anticipate and act? Are we going to say we don't need private cars, we don't need sprawl, we can do zero waste, we can do net zero multi-storey buildings?' - Professor Mark Swilling 77 S G


F looring

Any kind of f S G 78


floor

Once, in a by-gone time, using old-growth tropical hardwoods for one's parquet flooring was just the thing. Now, not so much. Today there are many flooring options available. We take a look at some.

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T 

here is no such thing as the perfect

onto a hard surface is just not acceptable. Some

flooring, only floorings that are perfect (or

high-tech companies have installed rubber (actually

very nearly so) for various applications.

rubberised is the better word here) flooring in their

The trick in finding the right flooring, with

super-clean rooms because it tends, when made

the right eco-credentials and usage profile, is to

to relevant specs, to be the least likely surface to

match the flooring need with what is available

create secondary issues impacting on the quality of

from the marketplace and configure that against

the finished product.

relative cost, calculated over the lifetime of the

Rubber can also be used as an overlay to

floor's usage, as well as upstream and downstream

existing flooring surfaces, allowing for heavy traffic

eco-impacts.

for a period before easy replacement. And rubber

So, maybe one type of flooring may appear

is almost completely recyclable any number of

desirable or ideal, but on inspection in detail of

times, coming as it does from a natural, renewable

all relevant factors, it turns out that another type

resource.

would be best.

Wide range

rubber products is as important a part of assessing

There truly is a stunningly wide range of flooring

rubber for a flooring use as is the assessment of any

types available these days, with 'appropriate'

material, if one is operating from an eco-conscious

applications for all.

viewpoint.

The reason for putting 'appropriate' in quote marks is that it depends on which factors one is

Bamboo

putting into one's materials assessment process to

Bamboo has become the super-material of the day,

arrive at such a choice.

a natural surface covering material that has many

The potential floor user or installer could be

of the properties and positive aspects of hardwood

looking purely at aesthetics in combo with ease

flooring, though there are caveats here too. Not

of installation, or foot traffic damage resistance

unlike other hardwood flooring options, FSC or

as compared to cost, or eco-credentials versus

similar certification for sustainability of source

availability. There are many criteria.

products is vital to ensure the supply chain is held

Those involved in obtaining Green Star building

accountable to the highest international standard.

and similar eco-credentials for new and existing

Those factors aside, bamboo is a super-hero for

buildings will tell you that, if going the whole hog,

flooring, allowing compressed but highly durable

there is a multi-factoral matrix of variables that is

bamboo fibres to be presented in a wide variety of

used to find 'the perfect fit' of flooring with need,

colours, textures and appearances, mimicking any

budget, and required eco-compatibility.

type of wood or wood laminate you could want on

Rubber

your floor – plus a whole lot of other looks, if you want something more personalised.

Let's start with what might be considered the least

Pre-finished, quick-fit bamboo flooring is now

likely of flooring materials – rubber. Surprisingly,

available in South Africa. There are generic-type

there are many applications, beyond the obvious

flooring systems and some with unique features,

use of such a material in a room designed for those

each

who find life just too much and need to bang their

advantages.

heads on something.

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Rubber plantations instead of forest is a poor idea, so the authenticated sourcing of sustainable

at

different

price

points

with

varying

For example, Superior Bamboo Flooring is a

Rubber floors work for indoor games, of which

solid Strandwoven flooring range from Alco Exotic

there a growing number, including cricket and

which can add elegance and sophistication to your

soccer varietals, as well as workout areas, play

home or office, if you are looking to resurface

areas (say in a dedicated kindergarten space,

your existing flooring. Superior Bamboo Flooring

or for the playroom of a family with offspring

is easy to install and maintain as it is supplied

needing entertainment in a safe environment) and

as a pre-finished flooring board with a European

some work spaces where dropping delicate things

patented locking system. It's an all-natural product


81 S G


tile comes from, what exactly it's made of, how it's made and using how much energy per square metre of each tile type, on through carbon kilometres per square metre and into downstream factors such as recyclability or lack thereof. There is, obviously, a lot to be said on each point, and each tile type and producer is different, so if you want to go down the traditional tile route, and maintain an ethical eco-footprint in the process, expect to do some homework – though online these days you can pretty quickly figure out if you are looking at an ethically-produced, environmentallyresponsible and cost-effective product (see our story on upcycling on page 89 in this edition for and no two boards are ever the same, ensuring that each board is unique and providing an authenticity of look and feel equivalent to natural wood.

more on this).

Concrete & stand-ins Some may be unpleasantly surprised to find

Carpets

concrete on the list of materials for flooring which

We are not going to look at carpets in detail in this

may be under consideration in a magazine about

article as it is just too huge a subject and much

eco-consciousness such as this one.

change is underway in this industry, locally and internationally.

But there are good reasons why we include it. Despite most of us having nasty memories

Suffice to say for now, that there are a great many

or experiences of institutions with endless drab

types of carpet and mat covering types, materials

corridors in yuck colours with red or sometimes

and looks, each requiring its own exploration to

green-hued concrete floors throughout, concrete

match end-user desires, budgets, usage, and a

remains a highly versatile floor system.

range of other factors.

It can be rendered to a very high gloss finish,

We shall discuss carpets in particular in a future

and not merely in standard ochre red and avo green

issue – you may be surprised at what is going on

either. Any type and saturation of colour of your

and how much there is to know about this floor

choice – or even a mix – is now a possibility for

covering option before you make your purchase

those wanting to go 'old-school' in a whole new way.

decisions.

Already such flooring is a key part of the steam-punk loft-style, distressed look sweeping

Tiles

through New York, London, Tokyo and all stops in

There is such a wide variety of tiles, in different qualities,

styles,

colours,

textures

and

between.

even

And floors don't have to be slip-on-your-butt

materials, that it too would take an entire article to

gleamy smooth either – they can have tiny ridges, in

adequately discuss this flooring option at sufficient

lines, swirls or other patterns, depending on what

depth.

can be visualised and the skills of the installers, or

Tiles start out as that most natural and earthy of raw products, clay, but are intensively treated using

even tiny bumps, among other texturised finishes designed for both their aesthetics and extra grip.

heat, chemicals, metals and a variety of techniques

Concrete stand-ins are also on the market.

to give us the over-abundance of choices that we

These flooring types vary widely but most attempt

have.

a comparable hardness with concrete though using

Moving tiles from Italy, say, to South Africa

other elements in their construction. Some are

brings with it not only added over-the-counter

'friendlier' to the human touch than raw concrete

costs, but many carbon kilometres. So thinking

but all need final finishing and most are as malleable

in a whole-cycle manner about tiles is complex,

and potentially variable as concrete. Some claim to

requiring some investigation of where a particular

be 'greener' but this is a claim requiring in-depth ... continued overleaf

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Alco Exotic Green Building Products CC is a family-owned and operated company which specialises in the importation and distribution of high quality building products (flooring, panels & accessories) from Europe and the East. With over a decade of experience in supplying to projects, both big and small, all over Southern Africa (SADC), we ensure that we only supply products that are sustainably-sourced and comply with international regulations. Our "Green" background means that we are driven to source the most eco-friendly products while staying in touch with international and local design trends.

Our current range includes the following brands • Superior Bamboo Flooring Par-ky European Engineered Oak Flooring • Cabbani Custom made Oak Flooring • Superior Underlay • Super Trims - Aluminium Profiles

Recently launched to much market anticipation: • Shinnoki Pre-finished veneered Oak & Walnut Panels • Querkus Un-finished veneered Oak Panels (including a range of repurpose Oak from old barns in Europe) • Both Shinnoki and Querkus can be used as Wall Panels, Furniture making and Kitchen/BIC's - supplied with MDF core

Contact us for more info & samples: Tel: +27 21 551 1399 | Fax: +27 86 265 4810 Unit 1 HS Park 130 Democracy Way, Montague Gardens 7441 info@alcoexotic.co.za | www.alcoexotic.co.za

83 S G


The trick in finding the right flooring, with the right eco-credentials and usage profile, is to match the flooring need with what is available from the marketplace and configure that against relative cost, calculated over the lifetime of the floor's usage, as well as upstream and downstream eco-impacts. exploration to ascertain if true or not, depending Drawbacks include some concrete stand-ins being not quite as tough and therefore showing wear and tear much sooner and with less traffic, or in most cases simply the cost – exotic materials

going, at various price points in various degrees of sophistication of finish and life expectancy. 'You pays yer money and you takes yer choice,' to use the old North Country English term.

are not by definition in widespread use and may be

One interesting offering comes from Oak

both somewhat experimental (so lifetimes are still

Flooring with its Par-ky multi-layer parquet which

uncertain) and costly.

combines the warmth and unique design of real wood with the advantages of laminate. Par-ky is as

Wood

easy to install and maintain as any laminate flooring

Wood for flooring is as old as the hills, one might

but the top layer is real wood and not an imitation

say. It was, after daub and wattle construction, one

print as with many laminates. What you see and

of the first flooring materials widely used and still

what you feel is actual natural wood. As there are no two identical trees in nature,

is in many parts of the world today. We have discussed the ups and downs of wood

so each board produced this way is unique and

many times in this magazine, and this time is no

therefore gives the floor that special bespoke look

exception. Wood as a engineered board can be

– without the cost. Now, after so many years when

among the best eco choices going, depending on

using oak was not on because there simply wasn't

the relevant eco-certification of appropriate and

enough to go round, you can hark back to the oak

sustainable sources, processing, carbon kilometres,

parquet of your grandparents' time and get exactly

embedded energy and all the other usual factors

the same look and feel. It's a bit like combining the best of old and new

involved. As whole boards are expensive and increasingly

worlds – which, interestingly enough, is often where

unnecessarily

the true sweet 'green' spot lies in just about any of

self-indulgent in an increasingly resource-starved

our endeavours, and whatever material usages we

world – laminates are now the standard for wood

are looking at.

rare

S G 84

flooring. Here again, there are a number of generic options

what is meant by the term.

one

might

say

also,

SG


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Solution: EnviroBuild turns this problem into innovative new products for re-use. All EnviroBuild products are 100% recyclable at end of life. This solution has been proven in Canada and America.

INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS FROM RECYCLED RUBBER TYRES Inter-linking I-Mat A large 1012mmx1012mmx 15/20/35mm mat that inter links to create a strong uniform surface for pedestrian and light vehicle traffic. Perfect for driveways, playgrounds, walkways, around shopping centres, hospitals, etc. Advantage: Save on installation time by laying down 0.7m² at a time in an interlinked pattern – save about 80% on labour cost.

1m x 1m Twin-Brick Floor Tile A 1000mm x 1000mm, 20/35 mm thick tile that is durable enough for garages, workshops and gym floors. Decorated with different patterns: Brick pattern, Circular pattern.

Safe&Soft Range for play areas Both the above products come in a reduced density range (in 20mm, 35mm and 50mm) giving a much more forgiving and softer surface for use around jungle gyms, play areas, trampolines, etc. These parts have been specifically developed to adhere to the SANS requirements for playground safety. .

For more info and to ORDER online visit www.envirobuild.co.za info@envirobuild.co.za • Tel: 082 902 9573 All EnviroBuild products are manufactured by Van Dyck, a trusted name in interior and exterior flooring since 1948. Van Dyck is a market leader and synonymous with Quality and Style.


B uilding N ews

the importance of remarkable buildings

2017: the year wood grew like a weed

Design Commons, a travelling platform where activists, makers and shapers gather to share their experiences, knowledge and ideas, is opening the door to collaboration, meaningful discussion and solutions that make better cities possible. At the inaugural event, people were brought together from a wide spectrum who are rethinking the way we plan our transport routes as well as landscapes. Winy Maas was one of our speakers and says that he is an optimist when it comes to the future of our cities..

Looking back on 2017 it is hard to know where to start, there was so much happening. It's the year that wood construction really went mainstream, everywhere. We are not even going to discuss the fantasy projects, just the real stuff being built by real architects. Because we are past gawking at models and renderings, things are getting built. It was also a year where designers started looking at why we are using wood and other natural materials, and at all the different ways of putting wood together.

Full Story

Full Story

HEMPcrete's future

HEMPCRETE's uses

Hempcrete is a building material that incorporates hemp into its mixture. Versatile and hardy, it can be used for wall insulation, flooring, walls, roofing and more, it is also fireproof, waterproof and rot-proof, provided it’s used aboveground. Hempcrete is much more versatile and pliable than concrete, making it an easier material to work with. In fact, earthquakes cannot crack these structures, as they are three times more resistant to damage than regular concrete. If the government and corporations were truly concerned with climate change, they would begin implementing this solution as quickly as possible.

When it comes to new and sustainable housing ideas, it seems to always be about creating a more efficient home in terms of insulation, lighting, electricity, etc. Mainstream belief on the subject would have you believe that top corporations and government projects are working with the best possible technology to bring forth solutions that work and are going to be great for the environment. If that was truly the case, the whole world – like Pam Bolsh in the video above – would be using Hempcrete right now.

Full Story

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Full Story


PURIFYING THE AIR Polish architect Daniel Libeskind‘s first residential project in Berlin is a spectacular faceted building that literally purifies the air. Sapphire is clad in geometric stoneware tiles coated in a layer of titanium dioxide that breaks down dirt and grime when exposed to the sun’s UV rays. The crystalline facade of the building is dominated by angular windows and canted walls that create balconies and intimate outdoor nooks that enhance the quality of the units. Each of the apartments has a unique plan with high-performance triple-glazed windows and external louvers.

Full Story

buildings as power stations An experimental neighborhood in the UK is on a mission to show that smart design can make a big difference when it comes to energy efficiency. 16 homes in Neath, Wales will be outfitted with cutting-edge technology that enables them to generate and store enough clean energy for 100% of their electricity needs. The entire neighborhood will be connected to serve as one autonomous unit of clean energy production. The project will test the feasibility of replacing local power plants with autonomous energy-producing neighborhoods.

Full Story

Lagos’ Wooden Tower

water-saving wonder

Designed and conceptualised by Cameroonian Architecture Firm, Hermann Kamte & Associates, the proposed addition to Nigeria’s capital recently won an American Architecture Prize, as well as the inaugural World Architecture Festival award's inaugural WAFX prize. A unique wooden structure that is designed to be a smart and sustainable building, the experimental residential building represents an alternative to the massive concrete buildings that dominate the city.

California’s (and indeed Cape Town's) droughts are so dire that students at UC Davis have designed an impressive solar-powered home built out of drought-felled timber and installed with various state-of-the-art water conservation features geared towards California residents. The design of the team’s house not only implements various grey water systems to use 50% less potable water than a typical residence, but smart technology with real-time LED displays to monitor and control water flow at every single water line.

Full Story

Full Story

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U p Cycling

Upcycling Grows Up Upcycling is becoming a 'big thing' from fashion to industry. We take a look.

T 

here are fads and there are trends. The difference is that a fad comes and goes almost immediately, whereas a trend lasts much

longer and has much more social, economic and even political influence. Upcycling was once seen as a 'trendy fad' or maybe 'fashionable fad'. But it has turned out to be not only a full-blown trend but is now deeply fashionable, from high-end couturier lines to industrial design styles. In manner of speaking, the steam-punk design trend is actually an element of upcycling since the ideas are essentially the same – take something old and past its use-by date and revamp it, enhance it

LEGGO outdoor furniture is manufactured from Fibreglass reinforced plastic grating which is a composite material manufactured by combining a matrix of resin and fibreglass. It is durable, rust free, chemical resistant and offers high UV resistance properties. The LEGGO Range is manufactured from off-cut material and can therefore be regarded as a “Green Product” since we do upscaling.

and emphasise its 'oldness', its 'usedness' and its new current usefulness. In a funny kind of way, upcycling has always been with us, whether it be hillbillies retooling old machines to do new things, hippies re-utilising industrial equipment for backyard gardens or 'boer maaks n plan' because the old plough has broken down and now it's going to be used for braais. What has changed is that upcycling is not merely trendy and fashionable, it is also seen as ethical, sensible, cool, chic and smart. And it is not merely a perception – upcycling is actually all those things because at its heart it is resource-conservative and pragmatic. Upcycling is tomorrow's 'in thing' today. So start upcycling everyone, it's the thing to be doing.

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SG

FOR MORE INFO VISIT

leggofurniture.co.za


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P lastics

Nurdles  Rachel Kramer, Wildoceans Project Co-ordinator and environmentalist, has

been

working

tirelessly

to

support the nurdle clean-up efforts since October last year, raising awareness, coordinating collection efforts, collecting data and ensuring a smooth flow of information following last year’s mass pellet spill at the Durban Harbour. We take a look.

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rica f A   4


T 

he nurdle spill happened on the 10th of October last year and according to Kramer, two weeks after the spill there had still not

been any response. It was at that point civil society organisations, including Wildoceans, came together to try and remedy the disaster. Following significant public pressure, a formal directive was later issued by SAMSA (South African

Maritime Safety Authority) to the MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) who appointed DRIZIT on the 25th of October to start an official clean-up process. Wildoceans then saw the need to synchronise all efforts and open up lines of communication between all those involved in the nurdle clean-up, to identify issues and find solutions timeously. Apart

After an outcry from the public looking for a safe way to deposit the nurdles collected from clean-ups, Wildoceans with support of SAAMBR and DEA, commissioned 300 nurdle bins to be distributed along the entire KZN coastline with plans to eventually extend to the Eastern and Western Cape.

from the officially appointed DRIZIT team and civil society, the Department of Environmental Affairs

Kramer receives information about all the

(DEA) added a 585 strong team to the mix – the DEA

clean-up efforts weekly. All the information is then

Working for the Coast team.

loaded onto the CoastKZN website.

Nomusa Mbatha, a DEA Working for the Coast

'CoastKZN is a live website that not only shows

team member, said: 'I like the city to look clean and

statistics for all clean-up response and efforts, but

this work teaches me what to do to keep the city

also where the nurdles have been reported, who

clean.'

is doing the clean-up in a specific area and nurdle

Kramer who represents Wildoceans, co-ordinates

drop off points along the coast.

It’s updated on

the collection of data linked to clean-up efforts of

a weekly basis. The efforts reported are not only

DEA and DRIZIT, and is responsible for collecting,

those of the public but also of the DEA and DRIZIT

consolidating

teams,' shares Kramer.

and

sharing

all

nurdle

related

information nationally. This includes keeping track

After an outcry from the public looking for a

of where nurdles have been reported and informing

safe way to deposit the nurdles collected from

teams where to clean up. She then follows up

clean-ups, Wildoceans with support of SAAMBR

on how much has been collected and compiles a

and DEA, commissioned 300 nurdle bins to be

weekly progress report issued to the media and

distributed along the entire KZN coastline with plans

other interested parties. This also helps ensure all

to eventually extend to the Eastern and Western

bags containing nurdles are collected and stored

Cape. A detailed list of all drop-off points will be

safely.

available on the CoastKZN website shortly.

'We (Wildoceans), together with SAAMBR (South

To date, 10.9 tons of the reported 49 tons

African Association for Marine Biological Research)

of nurdles that spilled into our ocean, have been

are also currently training teams in the Eastern Cape

recovered.

around how to deal with nurdles (yes, they have

'The one positive about this disaster is that it has

spread to the Cape) and trying to co-ordinate their

brought the topic of ocean pollution to the forefront

response – like we are in KZN. I believe this is worse

of marine conservation, garnering support from the

than an oil spill,' said Kramer. 'Nurdles don’t just

media, corporates and civil society alike,' closes

land in one spot and stay there, they can be washed

Kramer.

SG

away with the tides and recharge on different beaches daily.'

For more visit www.coastkzn.co.za/nurdles

MAIN IMAGE: DEA Working for the Coast team members Nomusa Mbatha and Happy Siwela are trying to collect the billions of plastic pellets that spilled into the Durban Harbour and subsequently into our ocean last year October. INSET: Nomusa Mbatha of the DEA Working for the Coast Team uses a sieve to separate the sand from the nurdles washed up along the KZN coastline. PHOTOS BY Hanno Langenhoven

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Suck on this

E co -S traws

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Funny how things change. Way back when – there may actually be some readers who have relevant personal memories – a huge, multi-coloured ice-cream-rich knickerbocker-glory would arrive in a tall glass on a special day out, maybe a birthday. To consume this delight one would get a long-handled spoon (preferably a teaspoon, since using one made the treat last longer) and a straw. Back in the 'good old days' being described, the straw would be, well, straw-like. Usually made of a coated paper rolled and cut to length, such straws were functional in liquids of any kind for only a short while before moisture leaked through the cracks in the coating and then they were rendered useless. Any bend in the straw meant its immediate collapse and recourse to a replacement. Then came plastic straws, and it seemed as if the future had arrived. The dream was complete – one could suck on one's double-thick milkshake all day and the straw would still be working. Except for the bit where plastic straws turn out to be less part of our perfect futuristic dream than a fiendish player in some not-so-sci-fi-ish dystopian world where the oceans are literally filling up with plastic junk. We take a look at a dream-turned-nightmare.

H 

ow is it, one may rightly ask, that something as apparently insignificant as the emergence in the latter part of the 20th century (around

the mid-1970s to be exact) of the plastic straw could turn out to signify something so very 'bad'? The reason for the quote marks around bad is that we recognise that all things are relative, and that one person's 'bad' is another's 'good', so plastic straw manufacturers and their shareholders are going to hate this story. So be it. Back to the question, then: how can seemingly harmless plastic straws become so ominous as to be seen to be contributing directly to what is being called 'the death of the seas'? The reason is that they are made from a highly durable material, and one that floats on water. This means that, being light, cheap and disposable, billions upon billions of plastic straws made for fast food companies, and a whole range of other users that includes nearly everyone in modern societies, which, usually after a single use, are literally throw into the planet's accumulativing garbage piles every year. Once in landfills, they slowly but steadily break down into, among other chemicals, methane, thereby contributing to global warming (although also perhaps in a few cases to reclaimed bio-methane energy projects). The rest, being a huge percentage of plastic straws (no-one is exactly sure how many) get into the world's waterways and riverine systems. And most water-borne straws eventually end up going out to sea, perhaps becoming part of the great central Pacific gyre, a vast soup of floating or partly submerged and disintegrating plastic which is affecting and killing creatures up and down the food chain, directly threatening future sustainable oceanic fisheries. In short, and taking this global picture into account, we may say that plastic straws are 'bad'. But even as we so conclude, we may not forget the many other floating plastic-based products thrown away by us, the occupants of the 'modern world' – that being a story for another occasion. Eco reasons So if they plastic straws are to be avoided, if possible, for justifiable eco-reasons – and remember, most plastic still originates from the hydrocarbon fuels industry, in other words being at least in part made from oil – then what are we to do? Go back to lame, witling 'organic' straws? Well, maybe – paper-coating technology has come a long way

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Taking plastic straws out of the complex mix of plastic-based products going into the world's oceans won't do a great deal to reduce the mid-Pacific gyre of plastic waste – which is vast and easily visible from space, by the way – but it's a start. And they have a relative huge downstream

in the last 40 years. But, by definition, such straws, while much longer-lived

than

their

forerunners,

are

still

throw-away, single-use items.

Taking plastic straws out of the complex mix of plastic-based products going into the world's oceans

What about straws made from metal?

won't do a great deal to reduce the mid-Pacific gyre

It is not as daft an idea as it sounds. Modern alloy

of plastic waste – which is vast and easily visible

technologies have also come a long way, and we are

from space, by the way – but it's a start.

not talking here about a clunky piece of steam-punk

But the same calculus can be used on many

style iron, complete with rusty bits – though making

other products, now made of plastic but which really

steam-punk style straws with pseudo-rust might

ought to be made from probably aluminium or steel

actually work as part of a lifestyle look.

alloys.

Modern metal straws do everything that any

The key is the value replacement of instant

other predecessor has ever done, way back to

gratification and discarding of items with an

ancient times when a straw was cut from a hollow

assessment that sees a long-term benefit out of

reed at the water's edge – they provide access to

switching the manufacture of day-to-day utility

something more or less liquid via suction through

items from plastic to metal, thereby extending

a tube.

useable lifetimes of such products many-fold

The difference is that they last much, much longer than any other type – except perhaps plastic – and they do not represent a major eco problem. Yes, every product has its own production footprint.

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impact, of which we are only lately becoming aware.

because of their embedded value and utility, as well as aesthetics and eco-credentials. When you can feel good about your cool-looking metal straws being used, say, around the dinner table at your next home entertainment event,

And yes, plastic straws probably are cheaper and

and you have a great back-story for the inevitable

easier to produce (at least for now) than metal ones.

comments and questions which speaks to the

Also, they are lighter and so are easier and cheaper

feel-good factor of actually contributing directly to

to move around the world.

a solution rather than a problem, the deal is done.

But overall, in terms of what it takes to get

Switching to metal straws (stainless steel works

the oil to make the plastic to make the straws to

a dream, but there are other options too, like

be delivered to every one of tens to hundreds of

glass) is just one of those many small steps that

millions of outlets, big and small, across the globe,

ultimately will make all our lives more sustainable

plastic straws have a significant upstream impact.

and earth-friendly.

SG


WELCOME TO THE REVOLUTION

Plastic is so last year, and a new drinking revolution is taking the world by storm. Hygienic, re-usable, classy and an all round better choice the Stainless Steel straw is being seen in drinks all around the globe. Made from hygienic high quality Stainless Steel the ForEVA straw provides the ultimate finishing touch to cocktails, smoothies and even specialty teas and coffees and milkshakes.

 • Environmentally Friendly  • Classy look  • Ideal for Any Occasion  • Reusable  • Easy to clean  • Stylish  • Increased Tensile Strength  • Retains drink temperature longer  • Safe for kids  • Perfect for Travel • BPA Free   • Made from 18/8 Stainless Steel  • Dishwasher Friendly for easy cleaning

'The name ForEVA was inspired by my late grandmother who passed away 6 years ago, Eva Johnson, she raised me from birth, she was and will always be my everything. She was my mom, my dad, my sister and my best friend. Everything that I do, is ‘For’ EVA (my granny) it’s for her – I live to make her proud. I want her name to live on for generations to come, her legacy must remain. The value that she has instilled and the impact that she has had in everything that I have done could have me writing forever. Almost everyone says ForEver, which really works, because ForEVA Straws, literally last Forever.' - Megan Johnson, Owner

www.forevastraws.co.za 95 S G


F ood N ews 3-hectare desert farm in Jordan Vegetables are sprouting in the desert at the Sahara Forest Project’s recently inaugurated launch station in Aqaba, Jordan. The project draws on the sun, saltwater, and carbon dioxide to grow food and generate clean energy and freshwater. The new three-hectare launch station will be able to grow around 130 000 kg of vegetables a year, and produce over 5.5l of water a day. The Sahara Forest Project is centered around the core technologies of saltwater-cooled greenhouses, concentrated solar power, and desert revegetation practices. They’ll pave the way for larger facilities at the Aqaba launch station, which already boasts thriving greenery.

Full Story

golf course becomes urban farm A former golf course in New Orleans’ City Park has been transformed into the city’s biggest urban farm – Grow Dat Youth Farm. The seven-acre sustainable farming nonprofit features a low-energy Eco-Campus built with seven recycled shipping containers and designed by Tulane University architecture students. The urban farming and leadership program teaches local youths how to sustainably grow fruits and veggies that are then sold to CSAs, local restaurants, and markets, as well as donated to neighborhoods lacking access to healthy, fresh food. Grow Dat Youth Farm has a long-term lease for seven acres of land in New Orlean’s City Park and is currently growing on two acres with plans for expansion. Full Story

this vertical farm can grow 16 acres of food Food deserts, lack of arable land, and the frozen months of winter are all obstacles we face in our mission to keep people fed. Urban Produce is excelling in this mission by licensing its patented indoor vertical farming technology, which can produce 16 acres of organic, leafy greens in just 1/8 acre of space. The Urban Produce system allows microgreens and wheatgrass to be grown in large quantities indoors, no matter the changing weather patterns outside. The conveyer belt system swings plants past air, water, and nutrient distribution points, reportedly using 90% less water and 80% less added nutrients than conventional farming. Another added perk is the plants require no pesticides or herbicides, thanks to the controlled environment. Full Story

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Futuristic Japanese indoor vertical farm Philips Lighting has launched the latest in its indoor vertical farming experiments, with trials at two Japanese facilities – with one growing 12 000 heads of lettuce a day under horticultural LED lighting technology. Indoor farming is a growing trend in urban centers, where farmland is not prevalent. A wide variety of herbs and greens can be cultivated in climate-controlled environments under LED lighting, for an energy efficient food production method that connects local folks to freshly grown produce. The efficient vertical farm setup saves not only land and energy, but also water, and Fuji Farm’s harvests can be picked, packaged, and on store shelves in under two hours.

Full Story

Now you can have your wrapper and eat it too Evoware is a new company that makes plastic sachet and packaging from seaweed, edible bio-plastic. A real solution to end plastic waste that mostly comes from food and beverage packaging. This edible bio-plastic can be used for sugar sachets, coffee sachets, seasoning sachets, burger wraps, rice wraps and not limited to semisolid and liquid packaging like shampoo and lotion sachet. It has a two year shelf life without using preservatives, is biodegradable, dissolves in warm water and is 100% nutritious. It can also be customised for different taste, colour and brand logo. Not only is this plastic good for our earth, it’s also good for our body. www.evoware.id

Future Food Design Awards The growing use of GMO corn has been devastating for local farmers in Mexico who rely on the crop not only for food but to make a living. Corn, the world’s most planted grain, is the star of most Mexican meals due to the over 62 varieties that exist. Each of these varieties has its own flavour, colour and grows at a particular altitude. For Mexican product designer Fernando Laposse, the threat to the livelihoods of farmers whom he grew up visiting gave him a chance to try and help them through his project called Totomoxtle. 'I am trying to create a new form of employment,' he said while explaining that the project uses corn husks to make a veneer that can be used in architecture and furniture design.

Full Story

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Are you concerned about harmful chemicals in your home? Have you thought about changing to all natural cleaning products but are worried that they ‘won’t work as well’?

Look no further than Bet ter Earth’s Natural Cleaning Product range

BATHROOM & TOILET CLEANER This gel will leave your bathroom & toilet spotlessly clean. Use on your sinks, bath, toilet and shower

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Bet ter Earth. Bet ter for you. Bet ter for the Earth w w w.bet terearth.co.za

TOILET TAMER Perfect for eliminating odours at the source, by keeping bad odours in the bowl. Perfect for the water conscious user.


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HUMMOUS & CO: Middle Eastern Food To Fall In Love With Michael Rantissi & Kristy Frawley Johnathan Ball • 978 1 7605 2765 5

The many fans of Kepos Street Kitchen and Kepos & Co often ask Michael and Kristy for the recipes they cook at home. In this, their second book, there are recipes for every kind of gathering – speedy and delicious midweek dinners, a family barbecue with plentiful salads that burst with flavour, or a Sunday slow roast of cumin-spiced lamb shoulder, with Persian cranberry rice pilaf and tangy vegetables. But wait, there's more-dips, relishes, rubs and spreads from Israel, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey that turn a simple piece of fish or meat into a feast. And there are authentic teas and sweet treats that are beyond dreamy – Jaffa tea cake with marzipan or pistachio and rosewater cake with plums and mascarpone cream. And, possibly most sublime of all, there are the vegetables-scorched onions with pomegranate molasses, steamed leeks with spinach and haloumi, roasted pumpkin with dukkah and

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minted yoghurt. And of course there's the perfect hummus recipe, guaranteed to bring everyone to the table.

Pretty Fun: Creating and Celebrating a Lifetime of Tradition Kate Hudson Harper Collins • 978 0 0626 8576 6

SOLO FOOD: 72 Recipes For You Alone Janneke Vreugdenhil Johnathan Ball • 976 0 0082 5667 8

Solo Food is the first cookbook that celebrates cooking for yourself. Many people love to spend hours in the kitchen for their family or friends, but eat a pizza in front of the TV if they're alone. Janneke Vreugdenhil shows that cooking without the other mouths to feed can be extremely satisfying. You don't need to take anyone else's tastes into account; you and you alone know exactly how long you like your steak to be cooked and you can go ahead and enjoy that delicious pasta with prawns and smoked whiskey tomato sauce. Solo Food is an exciting and personal, inspirational cookbook with 72 recipes that you'll love putting on the table.

Celebrate all of the special moments in your life, big and small, with this warm and welcoming, illustrated lifestyle and entertaining guide, complete with delicious, healthy recipes, from actress, fashion icon, entrepreneur, and New York Times bestselling author of Kate Hudson. In Pretty Happy Kate Hudson shared her wisdom and advice for living a healthy, strong, and mindful life. In Pretty Fun she shares her philosophy behind gatherings, how to be in the moment, make them uniquely yours, embracing occasions to just be together. A beautiful, fun, and nourishing guide filled with dozens of dazzling color photos, fabulous recipes for healthy and even some more indulgent snacks and beverages, and infused with Kate's mindful and healthy approach to life, Pretty Fun will help you plan a year of special events, while remembering the healing power of gathering and celebration.


EAT SMART: Over 140 delicious plant-based recipes Niomi Smart Jonathan Ball • 978 0 0082 7648 5

Great, healthy food has never been so easy, creative and fun. This is plant-based food is for everyone. Eat Smart focuses on natural food, using everyday ingredients that will work wonders on your well-being. And the recipes are simple to make and can fit into your daily life. Inspired by cuisines from around the world, Eat Smart reveals how to use plant-based ingredients to make mouthwatering, nutritious meals. Covering breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, snacks, baked treats and drinks, this book is for anyone who wants to feel amazing from the inside out. Wake up to a Tropical Smoothie Bowl, for example, whip up a Roasted Fennel, Lentil and Fig Salad for lunch, and finish off the day with a Mauritian Curry with Coconut and Coriander Rice. And there are plenty of snacks and desserts to feast on too – try Beetroot Cake with Chocolate Ganache or a Salted Caramel Ice Cream. Whether you're out

and about, eating with friends, or recharging at home, this is delicious food that will help you look, feel and live better. You'll be surprised just how delicious eating smart can be.

Gourmet Guide: Top South African Restaurants, their Chefs and Recipes Jenny Handley Performance Management 978 0 6207 7127 6

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards was founded in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau. Each year they honour the best food and wine books internationally. The ground-breaking JHP Gourmet Guide has been selected as a winner to represent South Africa in the Professionals Category in the International Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. In May 2018 the guide will be competing in it's category for The Best in the World Award, in China. The guide features over 90 top South African restaurants and recognises the

top 21 by awarding them with one, two or three-plate status, South Africa's equivalent to global star status. This striking, glossy guide is a must-have for travellers and food lovers with the signature recipes from the top chefs in SA making it a keepsake. The team working yearround on the guide are proud and honoured by this accolade. Jenny Handley, author and curator of the JHP Gourmet Guide(tm) says: 'I would like to extend thanks to all the chefs and restaurants who made the beautiful content possible, to our international partners – Swiss International Air Lines and Taittinger – for believing in the concept, and to our distributors, evaluators, the production team and supporters. Every one of you are part of our marketing team – it will not be long before every food-lover in SA and those visiting, know the value and significance of a restaurant being plated.'

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Bioway Multi Insect and Dustmite Killer provides safe, effective, clean and easy insect control for households, hospitality establishments, schools, hospitals, creches, restaurants, kennels and stables etc. Increasing infestations of all irritating and harmful flying, crawling, biting and disease carrying insects is a major concern for all. Dustmites, in particular, cause allergies, hay fever and sinus problems as well as trigger asthma attacks. Bioway Multi is extremely effective in combating these problems and while this unique product kills all insects, their larvae and eggs, any exposure to humans, mammals and birds has no adverse effects. It is totally safe and stainless once it has dried on any surface - material or textile. Swiss Technology

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REST ASSURED YOU WILL NOT BE "BUGGED" CONTACT STEVE BERGS FOR MORE INFO, ORDERS AND 103 S G BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES: bergssteve1@gmail.com • 082 838 4017


Gardening –

every drop counts

wise Water out & inside

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wise

In water-stressed conditions, gardening becomes increasingly difficult. For some, their most treasured pastime, life itself, even, is growing green and beautiful things whose very existence feeds the soul. For many others, it is the necessity and desirability of a home-grown veggie garden which is eco-friendly, nutrient-rich, health-giving and money-saving. We take a look at gardening in dry times.

I 

t's wonderful to have a garden and add a splash of green and colour to an urban environment. But gardens tend to consume enormous volumes of

water and that's something that's no longer doable in the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape provinces of SA – and many other places around the world too as global warming redistributes and changes rainfall patterns, making water an increasingly scarce resource in many parts of the world. So we all need to use less water. It is simply a new life rule. For many, the extreme water restrictions in the greater Cape Town metropolitan area and some adjacent regions are so severe that gardening has simply ceased. Without means to draw water, at a sustainable rate and if allowed by local regulations, from groundwater reserves – or perhaps even 'making' it from the air itself – that may be the harsh necessity of the moment. And that 'moment' may well drag on to become a permanent condition – or it may come and go as seasons and seasonal rainfall patterns become ever-less predictable. Still, for some, they will make a plan and find a way. So let's look at gardening in drought conditions, starting with what not to do.

Mistakes A few of the biggest mistakes made include: •

Plant selection – don't use plants that aren't native to the area you are in and by native we do not mean merely indigenous to the region but something more specifically local to your micro-climate regime;

Never use sprinklers, even if you have access to groundwater, which may seem unlimited but which is definitely not, as water up into the air is then dispersed wastefully by wind or evaporates before hitting the ground;

Never water during the hottest part of the day – it isn't even 'good' for the plants;

Never over-water – not good for the environment or the plants. Those may seem to be absurdly obvious points to

make, but you'd be surprised. What about the fellow, with Level 6B water restrictions (50l per person per day allocation for domestic use) just a few days away, who was seen in a Cape Town southern suburb recently using a hose to wash vegetative matter down the road

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gutter and into the drainage system. When water is so scarce that we may actually run out of this vital stuff, such that the pipes go dry, wasting drinkable water in this way is literally criminal. But, as with most things, it comes down to education and conscientising people into the new reality in which so many of us are findings ourselves.

Plant selection Selecting the right plants in dry or drought conditions is vital. When you're next shopping for plants for

dripper hoses as they forage. They can also be

your garden, consider not only your area's current

invaded by thirsty ants, so they need more or less

rainfall, but what's projected for the future. In many

constant maintenance.

regions of the world, rainfall is dropping, so a plant that might get by fine now without additional

Irrigation timers

watering may not do so well in the future.

If you use an irrigation timer, set it to run half the

Rather select plants according to their ability

normal time, but run it a second cycle a minimum

to sustain themselves without rainfall or with very

of half an hour later. This will dramatically reduce

little. Automatically one may then be looking to

any runoff.

varieties of cacti or succulents. Prickly and perhaps not very showy, these plants can nevertheless go

Check your equipment

perfectly well into a water-wise garden and provide

Check over your connections for leaks – a drop

a green and almost lush feel to an otherwise arid

wasted each second can add up to several litres

environment.

each day.

Drip irrigation

Watering time

Forget the hose and any form of sprinkler. Those

The best time of the day to water is either just on

are yesteryear's water-wasteful ways. Now drip-feed

sunrise or just on sunset, as this minimises water

is the only way to go (aside from hydroponics, which

evaporation

is a whole other story) if you are supplementing your garden's naturally-supplied access to water.

You can use several (3-5) 2l bottles, filled with water

or micro-irrigation, consists of a series of pipes

and pushed upside down into the ground to water

with drippers hanging off them that deliver water

outdoor trees. The soil draws the water from the

directly to where it's needed – the base of each

bottle and slowly sends it to the root for maximum

plant. Given the targeted nature of the delivery, far

effectiveness, even in the harshest of conditions. For

less water has to be used than with any other form

an even slower delivery, you can keep the crew-on

of irrigation. Using a special piercing device on the

cap but have several pinholes punched through it.

main pipe, you can attach drippers exactly where

This will reduce the rate of outflow to the slowest

you need them and you can plug the hole at a later

of trickles. However, being constant and lasting for

date if need be. The equipment is simple, easily

hours, it means the soil below will eventually get

scalable, not very expensive, durable and can be

almost every drop to the roots.

purchased at most hardware stores and nurseries. However, when using drip irrigation, you'll need

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PET bottles

Drip irrigation, also called trickle irrigation

Mulch, mulch, mulch

to check the drippers regularly as they can get

Mulching is adding layers of plant material such

clogged with water-borne particles, particularly

bark to keep the sun off the soil and therefore

when used with a greywater or blackwater recycling

retain water. Mulching is one of the most effective

system. Birds also have a tendency to move the

ways to reduce water needed in a garden – up to


Selecting the right plants in dry or drought conditions is vital. When you're next shopping for plants for your garden, consider not only your area's current rainfall, but what's projected for the future. 50%. Mulch has the added benefit of preventing weed growth, deters pests, helps to stabilise soil temperature and provide nutrients to the soil as the mulch decomposes.

Consider a rainwater tank Given the amount of water gardens require, if you are going to have one it is now obviously necessary to consider adding a rainwater catchment system to

User fertiliser sparingly

your property – it can help act as added insurance

Try to avoid using high nitrogen fertilisers, natural or

months or when your local authorities introduce (or

other, during dry conditions as they will encourage growth and your plants will need more water.

Aerate Aerating tools can be purchased at most hardware stores. An aerator pulls out small plugs of soil allowing air and water to penetrate deeper. Deeper moisture means deeper root systems, which makes plants more resistant to dry spells and require less water. But you must be careful to ensure that water drips straight into these holes – and the holes can't be too big either, or else there will be excessive evaporation.

for a reasonable supply of water during the dry re-introduce) restrictions.

Rainwater catchment formula Much water is wasted through not harvesting rainfall. To get an idea of how much water you're missing out on, use this simple rain water catchment formula: 1mm of rain on 1m2 of roof equals 1l of water

Recycling household water If you are not already doing this then recycling household greywater is a key to keeping a garden alive. Just as water can be wasted outside the

Trees first

house, so it is inside. Thousands upon thousands

At Simply Green we think a lawn in regions currently

washing machine, shower, sink and toilet. You can

undergoing – and in the future, likely to experience – droughts is a colonial hangover from water-plentiful times and should go, go, go. However, some are beloved of their lawn and as soon as regulations permit, they will want to regrow theirs. What can you say? However, when the dry times come, and watering the lawn is out, choose a slow-growing tree over the lawn every time, if it comes down to that. Grass grows fast, but a tree may take decades to grow. Trees also provide protection from the harsh sun for other plants and can reduce ground temperatures in a garden substantially. If you have to choose between watering your lawn and watering your trees, prioritise the latter.

of litres go down our drains each year from the do simple things like putting a bucket in the shower or run a hose from your washing machine outlet to the garden (if not uphill), or you can opt to spend a bit of money and get a greywater or blackwater recycling system installed. There are new options, products and solutions for gardeners coming onto the market everyday as the drought in parts of South Africa, as elsewhere, deepens.

Take

this

opportunity

to

become

permanently water-wise. Even in the 'good times' your water bill will be way down – and you will be ready for the next hot, dry spell, supposing the one you may currently be in comes to end any time in the foreseeable future.

SG

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Savscapes Landscaping Cape Town is a one stop landscaping company offering services for all your requirements from design, construction, irrigation systems, water features, decking, vertical gardens, gabion retaining walls, garden service and much more at affordable prices. Vertical Gardens Cape Town began its operations with clear focus of creating beautiful landscapes for homes and businesses at affordable prices. That is why we are well on our way to becoming one of the area’s most trusted landscaping services. Founded by veteran landscaping professional Gareth Savage with years of experience, Vertical Gardens Cape Town takes pride in the fact that every project we do reflects the unique aspirations of the people for whom it is designed. Simply Green asked Gareth a few questions to shed some light on the industry. Why should people, even in crowded urban areas, consider having their own tiny garden? The reason for any garden is to be close to nature, so in crowed urban areas it is essential to have an area of tranquillity where one can relax and be in outdoors. The use of water features in a small garden is also key to drown out the noises of the urban environment. How small can a successful tiny garden be? Can one literally make a useful 'window' or 'backdoor' sized garden? Yes you can. With the help of vertical green walls it is possible to use just a wall been looked at through a window or door. And to use a lot of different species to create a bit of interest on the wall. As a full landscaping company, what are the challenges that you are currently facing in the industry? We are currently going through a challenging period with water restrictions and had to change when we plant plants and what plants to use. In the long run going forward it is for the better, as we are using more sustainable (indigenous) plants that people were very reluctant to use. Garden designs have also changed from huge rolling green lawn areas to more subtle areas of interest with pots, aloes, rocks, stones and bark to appear more like natural gardens.

Is it true that there is a growing demand among urban dwellers for their own tiny gardens? I personally think so, but the personal prefaces of the person determine whether they need one or not. A person who has a lock up and go setup would not really have use for a garden. But there a lot more clients wanting a green area within their homes. How best should readers go about making their tiny garden? I would suggest that they first need to think of what they want out the garden. For example, do they want a garden to look at or a garden to entertain in, and go forward from there. Create a focal point and work around that to introduce shrubs and plants that promote bird life. What produce is best to use in a tiny garden? I always say to my clients a small garden is easy to create a wow effect and a fuller picture garden. The use of flagstone pavers, braai pits, wooden trellis/screens, decking platforms, natural stone, pebbles, green walls and the use of one indigenous medium sized tree. All these elements put together properly will create a place of tranquillity and a outdoor living area.

www.savscapes.co.za | info@savscapes.co.za 109 S G


Shelf

Invertebrates of Southern Africa and their Tracks & Signs Lee Gutteridge Jacana • 978 1 4314 2157 2

This book covers a never-beforeexplored aspect of Southern African nature and is an essential new addition to the library of every nature lover. It was researched and written over the last four and a half years to open a door to a little known micro-world that exists all around us. Invertebrates – which include commonly seen creatures such as butterflies, spiders, beetles, worms and scorpions – are everywhere. The signs of their day-to-day activities are all around us if we know where to look. The life cycles and behaviours of many animals are discussed, with a special focus on interactions between mammals and invertebrates – a fascinating subject in itself. While working on this book, Lee Gutteridge spent many hours in the field with expert entomologists and arachnologists, many of whom commented that; even though they had spent a lifetime in the field, this experience, of invertebrate tracking, had changed the way that they see the invertebrate world. With funding received from the Oppenheimer family, 250 copies will be donated

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to indigenous trackers, whose knowledge Lee appreciates and respects.

Mammals of Africa Chris & Mathilde Stuart Penguin • 978 1 7758 4111 1 Greater southern Africa has a wealth of mammal species, almost 400 – all of which are covered in this fully updated, comprehensive field guide. Now expanded to include species found in Angola, Zambia and Malawi, it has also been extensively revised to include: the most recent research and taxonomy, revised distribution maps and many new images, colourcoded grouping of families, spoor and size icons, skull photographs, grouped for easy comparison, detailed descriptions of each species, offering insight into key identification characters, typical behaviour, preferred habitat, food choice, reproduction and longevity.

The Annotated OLD FOURLEGS: The Updated story of the Coelacanth Mike Bruton Penguin • 978 1 7758 4499 0

When the famous South African fish scientist Professor JLB Smith published Old Fourlegs – The Story of the Coelacanth in 1956 he created

an international sensation. After all, this 400-million-year-old fish, known only from fossil remains, was thought to have become extinct around 66 million years ago. JLB Smith's dramatic account of the discovery of the first and second coelacanths in 1938 and 1952 turned him into a cult figure and put South African science on the world map. His book was eventually published in six English editions and translated into nine foreign languages. Mike Bruton's The Annotated Old Fourlegs includes a facsimile reprint of the original book, to which he has added notes and images in the margins that provide an interesting and revealing commentary on Smith's text, as well as new introductory and explanatory chapters that bring the coelacanth story up to date.

Frogs of Southern Africa: A Complete Guide Louise de Preez & Vincent Carruthers Penguin • 978 1 7758 4544 7

Frogs of Southern Africa: A Complete Guide remains the most authoritative and comprehensive treatment of the frogs of the region ever produced, covering all aspects of frog and tadpole biology and behaviour. This new edition (with a slight name change) has been


thoroughly updated to reflect taxonomic changes based on the most recent research and DNA studies, and includes 12 new species and more than 130 new images. All 169 southern African frog species, and their tadpole stages, are fully described, along with their conservation status, calls, habitat and habits. Identification is made easy with the aid of over 1 000 large, full-colour images, keys to species and summary panels on 'Key ID points' and 'Distinctive characters'. Calls for most species can be accessed instantly via QR codes in the book or downloaded from a dedicated website. Spectrograms of the calls are also included in the book. Written by respected authorities in the field, this timely updated edition will be of benefit to all nature lovers, amateur 'froggers', students and professional scientists.

trails, offering something for everyone – from the casual ambler to the experienced hiker. Whether you want to explore the beautiful landscape of the Karoo, wander through fynbos in the Western Cape, see the lush indigenous forests of the Garden Route. admire the sandstone mountains of the Free State, spot game on a wilderness hike in Mpumalanga or Limpopo, or experience the majesty of the Drakensberg – you will find all the information you need in Hiking Trails of South Africa. All of the trails covered include information on available facilities, accommodation (where appropriate) and activities on offer. The book also provides an invaluable guide to selecting hiking equipment, staying safe on the trail and dealing with emergencies that may arise.

Hiking Trails of South Africa Willie Olivier

National Parks & Nature Reserves of South Africa Chris & Mathilde Stuart

Penguin • 978 1 7758 4602 4

Penguin • 978 1 7758 4611 6

Brought fully up to date, with new trails included and all booking information updated, this fourth edition of Hiking Trails of South Africa is the essential guide for every hiker. Written by well-known author, Willie Olivier, this comprehensive guide describes more than 500

This book is an indispensable guide to the country's best and most accessible conservation areas. Written by two prominent conservationists, this new edition (with slight name change) has been thoroughly revised and updated. Each of the 43 featured reserves –

arranged by province – includes: information on the history, location, landscape, geology, vegetation and wildlife; text panels covering highlights, climate and facilities; and a detailed map indicating places of interest and top viewing spots. The book includes more than 900 colour photographs and a pictorial ID-guide at the back that features commonly seen birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, flowers and trees. A must-have guide to South Africa's famously diverse and richly populated parks and reserves.

Beat about the Bush: Exploring the Wild Trevor Carnaby Jacana • 978 1 4314 2075 9

Beat about the Bush is a series of remarkable books for outdoor and nature lovers. This comprehensive guide has been expanded to include not only mammals, birds and reptiles, but amphibians, invertebrates, plants, field signs and clues as well. The information is portrayed in the same detailed yet user-friendly, question-and-answer format. Interesting information on the plants these animals depend on is also included, as are the most interesting aspects of climate/ weather, geology, astronomy and bush management practices.

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C onservation

OURFORESTSOURFUTURE W 

ESSA

is

excited

new

Mamelodi and Tshwane East participating in the LEAF

programme

programme in 2018. SANBI will provide all children

for schools that is aimed at increasing

from these schools with free access to the garden for

environmental

to

launch

education

a

knowledge about the key role forests play in enabling

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the duration of the project.

sustainable life on our planet, including the cultural,

Speaking at the event, special guest and 50/50

ecologic, economic and social functions and benefits.

presenter Bertus Louw said that 40% of South Africa’s

LEAF (Learning About Forests) is an innovative,

forests have been destroyed and that a programme

international programme that encourages learners

like LEAF can make a big difference in rebuilding a

and communities to take ownership of creating

biome that is crucial to our survival. The learners

healthy surroundings by engaging with their local

were entertained and inspired by Bertus’ stories of

forests and planting indigenous trees. Learners on

the different forests he has visited across the globe,

the programme also plant food and fruit forests

where he has seen the important role forests play:

(vegetable gardens and fruit trees) as outdoor

from providing us with basic furniture and creating

classrooms, to support existing structures in schools

outdoor shaded spaces for enjoyment, to protecting

and communities.

us from natural phenomena such as tsunamis.

The programme was launched recently at the Pretoria

Participants at the launch had the opportunity

National Botanical Gardens with the introduction of the

to engage in several different activities in the

campaign #OurForestsAreOurFuture to a number of

indigenous forest of the Pretoria National Botanical

teachers, learners, local government representatives,

Garden. These included a demonstration of the

nurseries, other NGOs and the Gauteng Environmental

process of planting trees endemic to the Pretoria area

Education Forum. The campaign is a joint initiative of

from seeds; investigating quadrants of the forests

the WESSA LEAF programme and Johannesburg-based

to determine their biodiversity using technology,

NGO School Forest Project, who will supply one

science and maths; and taking a closer look through

hundred trees to the ten schools from Eersterus,

magnifying glasses at the special adaptations of


The Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) has launched new schools programme to help develop a deeper understanding of the intricate relationship between people and nature. We take a look. leaves. At the medicinal plant section of the gardens,

be inspired to use, appreciate and protect our

the teachers told the learners about the plants

forests as they explore the relationship between

their parents used to cure certain ailments, and

our everyday lives and our natural and social

highlighted the important role plants still play in the

environment.

SG

medicinal field today. Says WESSA LEAF Programme Manager, Cindy-Lee

About WESSA

Cloete: 'Any school can register to participate on the

WESSA implements effective environmental, ecotourism,

LEAF programme and it therefore has the potential

education

to reach 12.5 million learners and 125 000 teachers

throughout South Africa. The organisation improves the

across South Africa. The strength of the programme

school curriculum through education for sustainable

is in its project-based learning, and the Science,

development and provide critical work skills training, which

Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics

creates job opportunities and sustainable livelihoods in

approach to learning about forests. The programme

local communities. WESSA’s environmental initiatives

helps learners, teachers and communities identify

contribute towards the restoration of ecosystems, while

practical solutions for local and global issues,

their Blue Flag and Green Coast ecolabels support tourism

enabling them to make decisions and take ownership

growth and development by encouraging responsible

and responsibility for their future. This is real

tourism practices and the improved management of our

learning today for the real world tomorrow.'

coastline. For more information visit www.wessa.org.za

and

youth

development

programmes

Schools participating on the LEAF programme can select to explore a variety of LEAF themes and

About LEAF

aspects based on the needs of their own school and

Learning about Forests is a programme of the international

community. Learners will have the opportunity to

Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) based in

reconnect with their natural surroundings through

Denmark. The programme is implemented in South Africa

hands-on activities and forest excursions, and will

by WESSA.

113 S G


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Simply Green - Issue 1, 2018  

Happy new year Simply Greeners! Our first edition of 2018 is brimming with the latest on all things water and energy. Please have a look...

Simply Green - Issue 1, 2018  

Happy new year Simply Greeners! Our first edition of 2018 is brimming with the latest on all things water and energy. Please have a look...

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