cape town launches energy efficiency initiative

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-03-02 14:24

Mayor Helen Zille hosted a breakfast on Wednesday launching the CBD Energy Efficiency Initiative to get business buy-in to maximise energy efficiency.

"It has become clear that long-term solutions are required if we want to continue to grow and use energy without suffering the consequences of lack of supply," Zille said.

The City is trying to lead by example and is currently identifying its buildings with the largest electrical footprint in order to implement ways to reduce consumption. There is also a solar heating bylaw and guidelines for "Green Buildings" in the pipeline.

There are a number of funders, partners and implementors on board including the Cape Town Partnership, the Austrian Consulate General, Eskom, Nedbank and Sustainable Energy Africa.

"The aim is to help businesses with energy efficiency. Anyone who's interested, we welcome them on board," said Andrew Boraine, head of the Cape Town Partnership.

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greening it up - fri 02 mar 07

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-03-02 13:04

Anyone smell a plastic-gate scandal? We've been paying levies on plastic bags for close on four years during which the Department of Environment Affairs has been receiving R20 million a year to set up plastic buy-back centres across the country. According to Environmental Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, "the [not for profit] company has established over 10 buy-back centres nationally".

4 years. R80 mil. 10 buy-back centres (anybody seen them?). Does not compute. Cost to the environment? [IOL]

Woolworths have pulled some lines of pet food from their shelves after they were found to be contaminated. Their branded dry dog and cat food contained traces of ethylene-glycol, a type of coolant, apparently originating from a supplier in Europe. [IOL]

eco-village won't see light of day

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-03-02 12:30

pringle baypringle bayThe hostile reaction of Pringle Bay ratepayers to a progressive eco-village development means the plans will be shelved. Another example of NIMBYism (not in my backyard) by local residents ensures the self-sufficient eco-village on the banks of the Buffels River will not see light of day.

The development would have consisted of 79 "off-grid" houses using their own rainwater, solar power and gas instead of the muncipal supplied services. The proposed village would also have had its own sewerage system. The residents, citing "environmental" concerns for their opposition of the plans, are delighted with their victory over the "developers".

So where is the "environmental" justice? Upmarket golf course development draining millions of litres from the water table daily = GOOD (it pushes our property prices even further into the stratosphere). Eco-village promoting responsible land use, minimum ecological footprint, renewable energy etc. = BAD?

greening it up – wed 28 feb 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-02-28 10:59

Why you should be buying organic or rBST-free milk. If you’re not already doing so, there are very good reasons to buy rBST-free milk (Woolies & Pick ‘n Pay produce rBST-free milk). Despite Monsanto’s “study” showing no difference between milk from rBST-free cows and those injected with the hormone, a scientific study by the Physicians for Social Responsibility has shown that the hormone poses risks to animal and human health. [organic consumers] Read a brochure released by the group [know your milk]

SA’s ‘revolution in transport’ announced by the Transport Minister, now standing in for the Health Minister as she recuperates in hospital, outlines the R-billions soon to be injected into the public transport and infrastructure system to prepare for 2010 – but not a word about green alternatives or an endeavour to cut carbon emissions.[M&G]

gore scoops oscar

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-02-27 21:18

This may be old news in internet time but I've been so distracted with the Design Indaba (who would have guessed?) that this one nearly slipped under the radar...

I've just read that Al Gore, Davis Guggenheim and co's An Inconvenient Truth won an Oscar for best Documentary Feature in the 79th Academy Awards! So no matter what you think of the Academy's four hour self-congratulatory affair it's still a reminder to go and see it if you've not already done so.

At least the Academy took the opportunity to mention to Go Green on their website. In fact they devoted over 2500 words urging us to save energy, resources, water and to go organic.

The entire production "endeavored to select supplies and services with a sensitivity toward reducing the threats we face from global warming, species extinction, deforestation, toxic waste, and hazardous chemicals in our water and food." Although they don't say how their endeavors faired.

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design indaba: ethical design

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-02-27 10:15

What really impressed me about Design Indaba was the number of designers, artists and crafters that are involved in social upliftment, job creation, social justice and environmental issues. Where else but SA will you find such a melting pot of conscience and profit?

It inspires me that there are small businesses out there that are pouring much of themselves into helping others. There are some sussed caring companies out that are aligning themselves with the ethical shopping trend by promoting charitable and green causes. And those that are supporting NGO's directly with a percentage of their sales.

aloeafrica is one such endeavour. They produce handcrafted ceramic pots, clearly inspired by the shape and form of the aloe. Sue Symonds and Nandipha Qamarana aim to raise public awareness of NGO's out there that are making a difference to peoples lives through plants. To this end they support Abalimi Bezekhaya, a Cape Town greening organisation, by donating a percentage of their turnover.

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design indaba: more recycled design

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2007-02-26 17:24

I mean that in a nice way. Heath Nash was not alone in the inspiring use of discarded objects otherwise destined to be trash. This is what else I tracked down in the recycle-me design dept at last weeks Design Indaba.

As mentioned before, there were the carry-bags made from previously functional billboards. I didn't realise billboards were printed on a type of plasticized canvas. The material is obviously vast and before the Tswelopele Project came along it would end up in landfill. Phanuel, one of the Tswelopele project workers was at the expo and he went to great lengths to inform me all about the project. Each item is unique, handmade and pretty cool. There was also a couch covered in billboard fabric and bags of different designs.

Noko Designs by Bethuel Mapheto continued the recycled bottle tops theme with his funky bottle cap clocks, fridge magnets, broches and wall hangings. He did let on, though, that he now buys his bottle tops new (20c each) instead of saving old ones from the trash as his customers demand pristine looking objects. Kind of defeats the whole purpose, don't ya think?

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socially responsible drinking

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2007-02-26 15:29

As an ethical consumer there are still very few options available when visiting your local wine shop (not to mention bottle store). Ask for an organic wine, one that is sulphite free, or a guarantee that no chameleons were harmed in the production of your tipple and you'll most likely be met with a blank stare.

Is your "Wine of the month" club not offering any environmentally friendly wines? Do you know any wine cellars that are BEE or wines where the workers own a share of the cellar? Never thought that your wine drinking habits could make a difference?

Well that's about to change with socially responsible drinking of a different kind. I've stumbled across two cool ventures that allow you to vote for a better world with your spending power.

One is the Biodiversity in Wine Initiative, which encourages growers and wine producers to set aside a portion of their land for conservation (currently 40513 ha, some 40% of the vineyard footprint is being conserved). There are over 60 producers who you can now look out for when selecting your next bottle if you want to be more biodiverse in your drinking habits.

design indaba: heath nash

Submitted by turbosprout on Sat, 2007-02-24 15:44

heath nash lightheath nash lightThe canvas of this year's Design Indaba was not green, but if you looked carefully you would make out a subtle green pattern woven into the fabric. From the Toyota Prius displayed at the ticket sales queue to the rubbish bins that proclaimed "this waste will be recycled for you, Design Indaba Expo cares for the planet" there were underlying green and caring themes to pick up on.

I really enjoyed my visit yesterday. I was there for just over three hours with a mission to identify designs that fit with the urban sprout ethos.

I'd read about Heath Nash, winner of SA Elle Decoration's Designer of the Year Award for 2006, and knew about his light fittings from plastic containers, but to see them in the flesh was awesome. If you think you've seen cool recycled functional items for the home think again. This tops what you've seen before and for the intricate design, I think they're very reasonably priced at R250+ for a white, organic, leafy light fitting. I had a chat with Richard Madongwe, one of the 5 workers in the studio in Woodstock. He was a proud ambassador for the brand and was enthusiastic about elaborating on the designs.

greening it up – fri 23 feb 07

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2007-02-23 13:36

compost loo with a differencecompost loo with a differenceCape Town in the poo Compost loos should be high on your list of 'must haves' if you live in Cape Town, as the city commits a further R1-billion on treatment plants over the next five years to avoid a sewage crisis – most of the city’s waste-water treatment plants are probably working beyond capacity, which means effluent is leaking into the environment ‘at many plants’ [M&G]. Translated: that means its seeping into underground water reserves.

Where to find a compost loo? There are two types of composting toilets – those that complete the composting process ‘in situ’ – and those that use a ‘bucket and chuck it’ system. And you’ve a number of other choices as well. See: [enviroloo] [Rota-Loo, Dryloo, WHW Dry Toilet & The Earthmill organic toilet] and [ecosan waterless toilets]

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