building

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sibaya one planet living

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2008-07-10 10:34

Heard about One Planet living? I hadn’t until this morning. One planet living, a joint venture between BioRegional and WWF, sets up eco-villages around the world according to 10 guiding principles:

  • zero carbon
  • zero waste
  • sustainable transport
  • local and sustainable materials
  • local and sustainable food
  • sustainable water
  • natural habitats and wildlife
  • culture and heritage
  • equity and fair trade
  • health and happiness

This is not your common garden variety 'eco village'! Their next proposed village is Sibaya, just outside Durban – the first One Planet eco-village on the African continent.

Sibaya will be a community of indigenous gardens, a place where neighbours share cars, where cycling lanes take you to nearby restaurants and shops, where all waste is recycled and where fresh


biggest solar rooftop in the world

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2008-07-09 09:22

The largest rooftop solar power station in the world is being built in Spain, on the roof of a General Motors car factory. GM, who has taken a recent knock to their Hummer sales, also plans to install solar panels at another 11 plants across Europe.

The power station, with a capacity of 12 megawatts of power, is made up of 85 000 lightweight panels that cover an area of two million square feet. It should produce power by September, and will produce enough energy to power a third of the GM factory or the needs of 4600 households with an average of 3300kWh. The solar energy produced should cut CO2 emissions by 6,700 tonnes a year.

Solar panels on houses usually produce a few kilowatts of power. On large commercial buildings, installations of one or two megawatts are now common. A one-megawatt installation could run about 1,000 air-conditioners while the sun is shining.

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the cardboard house and diy water recycler

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-11-08 11:32

There are some amazing design concepts out there if you know where to look that fulfil some radically yawning gaps in the market and put most of us to shame for their ability to position lateral thinking right at the fore of going green. Best of all, they’re not expensive.

Two such designs are very different but I’ve stumbled on both of them at the same time, so thought I’d bring them to your attention in the same blog, even though they’re not essentially related – other than making green more accessible.

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a green upper east side for ct

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-11-01 13:32

Upper Woodstock is the site of the country’s first green mixed-use development known as Upper East Side. The property group, Swish, and property stocks Madison and Redefine Income Fund, behind the project, are calling other similar developments to go green.

The entire development, which will have a total area of 50 000m², will consist of residential studios, loft apartments, office space, and shops. Phase two, due to start next month, features 86 apartments, 18 work/live lofts and over 800 parking bays.

So how is the development green?

Phase 1 of the development has included a lot of the former building's design (they’ve restored a sixties-designed building) and a much of the infrastructure is already in place (such as sewerage and roads etc), meaning the building has less of an impact on the environment.

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green events near you

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2007-10-26 11:19

Hemp products exhibition day Join Hemporium and the Wellness Warehouse for a special presentation dedicated to hemp and hemp products. Where: The Wellness Warehouse, The Lifestyle Centre, Kloof St, Gardens in CT. : When: : Sat, 27 Oct, 10am – 11am

Annual cob convergence in McGregor. McGregor has a large number of heritage earth houses. All the restaurants are in earth houses, it has heritage and modern cob houses; heritage and modern adobe houses, and, of course, modern strawbale houses, plus houses off the grid powered by solar. Many of these need serious attention. MAT are running two workshops before the convergence - lime rendering and plastering, and repairing a house with materials from your back garden. The convergence includes speakers: Andy Horn, Eco Design, Bernhard Lembeck, Envirotouch and Etienne Bruwer, Greenhaus ; and there will be displays of solar equipment, ideas on recycling, different types of natural building, compost toilets and more! When: 15 – 17 Dec Contact: Jill Hogan jill.hogan@mat.org.za

Eat less Meat and Help save the Planet. Earthlife Africa invite you to join them for the screening of this film and ‘Truth or Dairy’. Where: The Goethe Institute, 119 Jan Smuts Ave cnr Newport (entrance in Newport), Parkwood, Jhb. When: Tues 30 Oct, 7pm. Come armed with questions!

Organic strawberry picking. It’s strawberry picking time at Tangaroa strawberry farm. Where: North Riding, Jhb Find out more here

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green red brick

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-10-04 09:53

It’s not often one gets to sound off about how the resurgence of the green movement is influencing development in South Africa. But we stumbled recently upon a piece of marketing about a new redbrick building going up in district 6 in Cape Town that looks like a step in the right direction.

The architects, arthur quinton darryl croome, and aquacor property developers have come up with something rather original. They’ve designed some pretty trendy looking apartments - that admittedly clock in from a cool R1 million – in a building marketed as a ‘neo-industrial masterpiece’ that is ecologically friendly and looks set to set new standards in taking sustainability mainstream.

But just what makes the building green, beyond the fact that they’ve used no paint on the exterior, thus saving the environment from toxic fumes and buyers from extensive ongoing costs to maintain the building...

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rocking the daisies and other green events

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2007-09-28 13:40

Rocking the daisies this weekend is THE green music festival at the Cloof Wine Estate in Darling and looks set to make a big impact. The organisers will be using environmentally friendly products and practices across the board – they intend leaving as little effect on the environment as possible – see their go green page for details.

A sustainable living introductory course – Saturday 6 October in Johannesburg at Uri Gaia. Ever wondered how you can make meaningful changes in your life that would positively impact on both your family and the environment? Have you ever asked how you can be a part of the growing global consciousness? Topics include permaculture design, clean water in the home, providing fresh vegetables for your family, energy efficiency etc Contact bjornhey@hotmail.com or 076 966 5033

Learn how to build a cob house – Simric Yarrow, of Muizenberg cobhouse fame, is hosting another of his monthly building workshops tomorrow, Saturday 30 September from 9am – 1pm. Simric and Carey have built their home in an energy efficient way using recycled, natural and non-toxic materials like sand, clay, straw and wood. Find out more

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green your heating & cooling

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2007-09-27 13:46

Around 75% of the energy used by the average household goes towards heating water and rooms. If you consider that our demand may soon way exceed Eskom’s capacity, that’s a high percentage. It warrants a complete re-think about how we heat and cool our homes.

Passive and low energy architecture (PLEA)
A plea to use common sense? If you’re in the fortunate position of being able to design your home, do so in a way that maximises natural energy conservation and diminishes the need for heating and cooling. This includes:

• north-facing windows to allow as much natural light as possible
• insulated roofs and walls
• overhanging eaves or a stoep deep enough to keep summer sun from hitting your windows in summer, but shallow enough to hit your windows in winter, or use shutters
• If you want to calculate this yourself – use SketchUp from Google to help you work out solar projections yourself


i’ll huff and i’ll puff – the rise of the cob house

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-08-27 09:42

When Simric Yarrow began to build a cob house in the middle of Muizenberg, he had little idea of how complicated it would be to erect an alternative, environmentally-friendly, reasonably priced house in the middle of a suburban area in Cape Town - the first of its kind in the country (that’s the claim, anyway - there are others on small holdings and in rural areas.)

Building a cob house involves mixing straw, sand, clay and water and stomping it with your feet to get the right mixture. This is then shaped into a long roll and little ‘cobs’ (round loaf shaped bricks) are cut and applied by kneading them into the walls – giving the walls a life of their own and allowing the house to breathe in such a way that the house remains cool in summer and warm in winter – fantastic for a climate like ours that gets very hot in summer and cold enough in winter to warrant heating.

A sizeable cob house, if you know what you’re doing, can be built for next to nothing using earth from your site, salvaged windows and doors and a little imagination for your roof - particularly in this case, as the city council was quite sticky about regulations...

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sa's future architecture is green

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2007-08-07 11:29

VISI magazine’s annual architecture survey this year focuses on green architecture and buildings and invites you to select your favourite from 12 showcased buildings [click here to vote]

The selected buildings include the Africa Centre in KZN, the BP head office in CT, Karoolkie Kelder in the Karoo - inspired by organic principles - and the Lyndoch Community Centre in Stellenbosch, which used recycled and renewable materials and passive climate design principles.

Interesting is the Trace Gas Monitoring Lab at Cape Point, where an unobtrusive laboratory that harmed the environment as little as possible was created, and Woolies new distribution centre in Midrand, with an emphasis on sustainability.

Green building are safer, healthier, have a low impact on the environment and are sustainable.

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