Valerie Geen, Head of Energy at the National Business Initiative (NBI), discusses South Africa’s transition towards adopting greener and more energy efficient buildings.
South Africa has over the last 8 years rapidly joined the green building movement, driven by factors such as sustainability and the country’s current energy constraints.
Buildings are the heart of every urban city and for many years making them green or sustainable has been one of the prevailing topics of the long standing energy efficiency debate as sustainable buildings are the essential prerequisite for sustainable cities.
Retrofitting commercial buildings
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, nearly 60% of the world’s electricity is consumed by residential and commercial buildings and the built environment is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
The conversation around green buildings in South Africa often focuses on building new, greener buildings rather than retrofitting existing ones because owners don’t recognise the potential savings.
Retrofitting includes installing equipment or technologies in older buildings to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions and reduce overall operating costs. Retrofitting can take on many forms, experts at the Private Sector Energy Efficiency identified three interventions with a short payback period that building owners can explore namely; processing and cooling, lighting and renewable energy sources (primarily solar photovoltaic (PV) power).
There is sometimes a misconception that retrofitting is an expensive exercise requiring big investments and is the reserve of industrial buildings and sky scrapers, yet buildings of all sizes have an opportunity to save on energy costs through retrofitting.
Whether buildings are specifically built for or retrofitted for sustainability, the objective must remain the same – the needs of the end user must be met.
What owners and tenants need to know
Apart from the social and environmental advantages to reducing energy consumption, such as reducing the dependence on fossil fuels and minimising impact on the environment, green buildings offer significantly reduced energy and operating costs for both building owners and tenants.
The adoption of green buildings in our country is slow but is gaining momentum. This is evident in the results of the December 2014 research by the Investment Property Databank (IPD) and the Green Building Council of South Africa which estimated that the country’s uptake of green buildings grew from 16% in 2012 to 52% by 2015.
However, before building owners and tenants spend large amounts of capital on energy efficient technologies they can follow basic tips to minimise their energy consumption and save costs.
Another important aspect to note is that green buildings cannot be designed in isolation and it is important, especially in South Africa, that such structures form part of a greater spatial design.
Creating an energy efficient culture
By designing urban areas that promote the development of green buildings within corridors of public transport or within walking distance to residential zones, green buildings can become a part of an energy efficient culture and reduce demand on fossil fuels.
With the rising costs of electricity, energy constraints, and a collective movement toward sustainability, it has become increasingly important for buildings to become sustainable and to be incorporated into an energy efficient society.
Building owners and tenants need to remember that any retrofits or new buildings, while providing several benefits, still need to supply the needs of the end user.
The aforementioned tips have been formulated by PSEE experts based on their experience in several sectors, these experts have compiled some critical advice that can not only save energy but can cut 20% of electricity costs:
- ‘Switch off’ policy, involve staff and increase awareness – Staff at all levels should be involved in making savings. This can be achieved by conducting regular meetings, placing stickers above light switches and posters around in-store service areas (available from the PSEE website). Failing lamps or equipment should be reported by staff and replaced or repaired. This will help maintain optimum equipment efficiency, and in turn, provide a safer working environment.
- Label light switches – Light switches should be clearly labelled to help employees to select only those lights they need for the work being carried out (for example when cleaning or restocking the store out of hours). Lights in unoccupied areas should be switched off, but remember to consider health and safety implications, particularly in corridors and staircases. Installing occupancy and daylight sensors can achieve savings of up to 50% on lighting costs in some operations.
- Maintenance –Keep windows, skylights and light fittings clean, replace old, dim lamps with new low energy LED technology, keep controls and timers in good working order, and repair any faulty equipment immediately. Energy efficient equipment does not save energy if it is not used properly or not maintained, business are notorious for attempting to maintain equipment only when something goes wrong. A regular, documented cleaning and maintenance schedule will keep your equipment running longer and more efficiently. For example, light levels can fall by at least 30% in 2-3 years without regular maintenance, and a fridge compressor that never stops running due to a faulty thermostat uses huge amounts of electricity – all unnecessary and avoidable costs.
- Heating and cooling – although heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) can all be separate systems, it is worth considering them together because they interact with each other when providing a conditioned environment for the building. By looking at how each element of an HVAC system complements the other, it should be possible to fine-tune the system to save energy and money.
The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa announced that South Africa will soon have a Paper and Packaging Industry Plan, which will bring a significant change in the current waste management regime.
“Through this plan we hope that we can commence with separation at source from household levels. This will not only minimise the amount of waste going to landfills but will also unlock the economic potential of this waste stream,” Minister Molewa said during the official launch of the Ekurhuleni Clean City Programme at Tsakane Stadium yesterday, Saturday 24 October 2015.
The Paper and Packaging Industry Plan will follow the Waste Tyre Management Plan which has seen 31% of waste tyres are being diverted from landfill for re-use, recycling and recovery purposes, while approximately 3 000 jobs and 200 Small Medium and Micro Enterprises and Cooperatives have been established through the implementation of the waste tyre management plan.
It is through such Industry Waste Management Plans that the government continues to work towards realisation of the right to an environment that is not harmful to the health and wellbeing of people in South Africa.
The Waste Information baseline study that the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) conducted in 2011, revealed that approximately 108 million tons of waste was generated, of which 97 million tons were disposed to landfill. Only 10% of the generated waste in South Africa was recycled in 2011.
Minister Molewa urged all spheres of government to uphold the environmental right by adhering to the prescripts of relevant legislation, particularly the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) (NEMWA). “The general duty of government with regard to upholding this environmental right as contained in the Waste Act is that all relevant organs of state must put in place measures that seek to reduce the amount of waste that is generated and ensure that waste is reused, recycled and recovered in an environmentally sound manner before being safely treated and disposed of,” she said.
The NEMWA has been enacted to amongst other matters give a clear division of roles, responsibilities, and mandatory obligations for the three spheres of government, private sector and civil society. This legislative alignment governing waste demonstrates the government’s ambition for a clean environment and a healthy society in South Africa.
It is therefore not only the responsibility of government to create a clean environment, but the society is also equally responsible to protect and sustain the cleanliness of the environment. “The Act has further placed a general duty to citizens to ensure that they avoid the generation of waste, but where such cannot be avoided, they should minimise the toxicity, promote re-use, recycle and recover the waste. This should be done in the context of achieving sustainable consumption and production pattern, thereby shifting towards a resource efficiency trajectory. It will further promote our green economy initiatives as outlined in a set of legislations and strategies that we have put in place,” said Minister Molewa.
In an effort to fast track effective implementation of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) (NEMWA), the DEA has developed the National Waste Management Strategy, which promotes waste minimisation, re-use, recycling and recovery of waste. It is in accordance to this strategy that at least 77% recyclable waste is diverted from landfill sites by 2019.
“The implementation of an industry plan for the paper and packaging waste stream will put value to this waste stream and facilitate the establishment and operation of businesses within this sector. In doing so we hope we will in future not see all this waste in our streets as it will move from being “waste” to being a “resource,” said Minister Molewa.
As such, government and waste industry are exploring the notion of recycling economy, which is an exciting approach that will not only eliminate threats to environmental quality and its integrity, but also positively contribute to the growth and development of South Africa’s economy.
Minister Molewa commended the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality for initiating the Clean City Programme, and called upon other municipalities throughout the country to embark on a similar journey to ensure that the right to a clean environment is extended to all South Africans.
Grant Thorton says the tourism industry suffered more damage than they had expected.
JOHANNESBURG – The consultancy that first warned the tourism industry would suffer massive losses when new travel regulations were introduced, says the damage they did was worse than they had expected.
On Friday cabinet reversed an earlier decision by the Department of Home Affairs to introduce regulations requiring biometric visas for tourists and unabridged birth certificates for children travelling to South Africa.
Grant Thornton advisory services’ Lee-Anne Bac says the tourism industry suffered more damage than they had expected while these regulations were in force.
“Looking at what has happened to our tourism industry, we are estimating that, due to immigration regulation, [we could have lost around 500,000 tourists this year].”
While political analyst professor Sipho Seepe says there are lessons here for government about making policy.
“The arrogance of ministers working in isolation and not wanting to be interfered with should be a thing of the past.”
Tourism minister Derek Hanekom has said he’s grateful that these changes are now being made.
At the same time, the tourism industry says it’s going to take time and money to rebuild the markets it lost during these time controversial travel regulations were in force.
Bac says there’s hard work ahead for the tourism industry.
“It’s going to take a lot on time, energy and money to restore our reputation; to get the communication out there out there about the changed regulations.”
Seepe says this episode may not actually damage Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.
“He is young so he is going and in government you learn and make mistakes. But what is good for him si to climb down.”
Gigaba had strongly defended the regulations saying they were required to stop terrorism and child trafficking.
Danish companies have a lot to offer South Africa. They can provide experience, know-how and innovative solutions.
The partnership between South Africa and Denmark is long-standing and significant, going back to the struggle for democracy and the subsequent transition process after 1994. In 1986, Denmark was the first country to impose unilateral trade sanctions against the apartheid regime and, since the advent of democracy, we have continued our close co-operation and assistance in support of the new South Africa.
Today, it is obvious that South Africa has come a long way. Indeed, South Africa’s journey in the past two decades is one of the great triumphs of the late 20th century.
In parallel to South Africa’s rapid development as a country, the bilateral co-operation between our two countries has matured as well. From partnering on development, we now engage in a political and – not least – economic partnership on equal terms. To express the transformation in a catchphrase: we’ve gone from aid to trade.
In part because of our historic ties, South Africa has in recent years become a close and vital economic partner of Denmark; today, many Danish companies are deeply engaged in this attractive market with investments worth millions of rands. They focus strongly on corporate social responsibility and assist in skills transfer, inclusion and job creation. In addition, each year tens of thousands of Danes visit this beautiful country, contributing to growth in the South African tourism industry.
That being said, I am convinced that many more opportunities exist to further increase bilateral trade and to further deepen our relationship. It serves as a testimony to this growth potential that Frederik, the crown prince of Denmark – accompanied by the Danish minister for environment and food and the minister for business and growth – will lead a business delegation to South Africa at the beginning of November. The business delegation consists of nearly 50 Danish companies in three key sectors: energy; water and environment; and food and agriculture.
Danish companies have a lot to offer South Africa. They can provide experience, know-how and innovative solutions that can prove useful in meeting specific South African needs. As such, these sectors, which mainly fall into the category of the green economy, have been carefully chosen to match areas of high priority to South Africa.
From a Danish perspective, there is no contradiction between sustainability and economic growth. In fact, Denmark’s green transition in the past decades is a testimony to the opposite: green solutions not only serve the environment but can also create lasting economic growth. We wish to share this know-how with our South African partners – both public and private.
As expected, there has been great interest shown by the private sector of Denmark in joining the delegation and to explore the South African market. Yet the number of companies joining Prince Frederik and the ministers in November has far surpassed our initial estimate.
There are several good reasons for this strong interest and for why South Africa generally is the preferred destination for Danish companies that wish to do business on the African continent. Strong institutions, an attractive investment climate, substantial public investments in infrastructure, including green infrastructure, and a steadily growing middle class of consumers cement South Africa’s position as the entry point of choice.
Danish companies are also reassured by the deep relations between our two countries, which span informal people-to-people relationships and formal memorandums of understanding in strategic sectors of mutual interest. An example is our bilateral renewable energy programme, through which Denmark currently supports the connection of renewable energy sources to the grid, energy efficiency in public buildings and the mapping of wind resources. I am proud to say that this programme helps secure cheap, clean energy for the South African people.
During the visit, South Africa and Denmark will add to our current collaboration by entering into a strategic government-to-government partnership in the water sector.
In the coming months and years, we will exchange experiences and lessons learned, and focus on capacity-building with regard to innovatively managing water resources – all with a view to providing efficient basic service delivery to South Africans.
South Africa’s green transition is already underway, as is evident from the Independent Power Producer Procurement programme’s success. Denmark wishes to partner with South Africa in this transition – and in the process help spur job creation and growth in both our countries.
In this regard, I expect the royal visit will be a strong catalyst to both identify concrete business opportunities and grow our partnership for the benefit of future generations.
More South African beaches get a nod from an international Blue Flag programme which is a voluntary eco-label for beaches, boats and marinas.
he Blue Flag programme is highly regarded as a prestigious eco-label body by the World Tourism Organisation. For our beaches to receive a Blue Flag status, it means that global standards are being met when it comes to safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental standards. This can only be good news for our coastal provinces that attract a number of tourists every year.
The programme was initiated by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) 15 years ago, but has been in operation for over 29 years internationally. South Africa was the first country outside of Europe to get Blue Flag status for its beaches.
The announcement of new Blue Flag status beaches came right on time as (WESSA) launched their 2015/16 Blue Flag season and celebrated the Blue Flag programme’s 15 years in South Africa. At the launch it was announced that 39 beaches, 9 boats and 6 marinas have achieved full Blue Flag status, and a further 30 beaches have been awarded pilot status. Western Cape is leading the pack with more than 30 full Blue Flag status beaches followed by Kwa-Zulu Natal and then the Eastern Cape.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Tourism in Western Cape, Derek Hanekom, stressed how important the Blue Flag programme is to South Africa and added that our beaches play a very important role when it comes to attracting tourism and job creation.
Applying for a Blue Flag status
In the Southern Hemisphere, the Blue Flag season runs from 1st November to 31st October each year. Beaches are required to apply for Blue Flag status each year. To achieve Blue Flag status, as many as 33 different criteria spanning over four aspects of coastal management have to be met. These include water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services.
These criteria are set by the international coordinators of the blue flag campaign in Europe, FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education).
For further information about the Flag programme please visit www.blueflag.org.za
Consulting Engineers South Africa (Cesa) on Thursday said it was alarmed by the continuing water and sanitation challenges being experienced in the Madibeng local municipality, in North West, despite capital injections to tackle these problems. Print Send to Friend 0 0 The municipality had been ravaged by water shortages since July, which it had, at the time, attributed to sludge build-up at the Brits water treatment plant.
On a recent site visit, the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation noted that the challenges were compounded by the high rates of vandalism and theft to water infrastructure, particularly valves, copper and transformers. It noted that this was a direct contributor to water shortages in many instances and had a negative effect on service delivery, as money budgeted for other purposes by the municipality was diverted towards the replacement of these missing components.
“We are appealing to the people to look after the infrastructure so that we can assist the government in accelerating service delivery throughout the country. “With the backing of over 537 member firms, Cesa is willing and able to partner with government and other key role-players in finding lasting and practical solutions to these water challenges, especially in relation to infrastructure development,” Cesa acting CEO Wally Mayne said.
Imagine a city rising from a lush bamboo forest, but this city uses no concrete and no steel; it doesn’t stick out of the forest, so much as blend in. This is the vision presented by penda, a Chinese and Austrian design firm, at Beijing Design Week this year. By 2023, penda claims, a city housing 20,000 people could be built entirely from their modular bamboo construction system, free to grow in every direction as the need arises.
The system uses no nails or screws – the bamboo is tied together with ropes – leaving the bamboo cane undamaged so it can be reused in other constructions. All of the materials in penda’s bamboo city are completely recyclable, allowing the city to rise and fall with minimal harm to the environment.
According to penda’s press release, “The project describes a true ecological approach of growth, which leaves no harm on the surrounding environment nor on the building material itself and is, therefore, a counter-movement to a conventional way of the present construction process.”
The bamboo city takes its construction materials from the bamboo forest where it lies. Since bamboo has a rapid growth cycle, the architects envision a never-ending supply of building materials, wherein two new bamboo trees are planted for every one that is removed. The system can grow to house 20 families within nine months, panda states, and as new families arrive, new modular buildings, including communal spaces, bridges and even floating structures, can be added in any direction. By 2023, they picture a city of 20,000 people nestled in 250 acres of bamboo forest.
As a proof of concept, penda created a bamboo pavilion at Beijing Design Week. During the event, visitors were invited to plant seeds into baskets which were then attached to the pavilion. The plants will grow along the bamboo structure, allowing nature to take over the design process where architecture leaves off.
The National Youth Development Agency has a variety of bursaries / scholarships available. Their primary bursary fund has two applications available for candidates. The first is for secondary education, and the second is for further education. They also have funding available in conjunction with other agencies, such as the NYDA Solomon Mahlangu Scholarship / Bursary fund.
The NYDA wishes to aid candidates from previously disadvantaged background, that are in need of financial aid to complete their high school education and/or study at Colleges, to do so. With this funding all and any field of study is made available.
The NYDA believe that the youth is the future of South Africa, and all ought to have an equal opportunity to study. Their bursaries will equip the youth with knowledge, skills and the ability to provide for themselves and their families. Allowing them to become contributing, responsible adults.
Their first two bursaries provides for candidates in Grade 7 – 11, as well as candidates in Grade 8 – 12. The bursary for Colleges provide full time study for N1 – N6, only available at FET Colleges throughout South Africa. There are three closing dates for these bursaries and they are as follow:
- 1st Trimester or Semester – 31st October
- 2nd Trimester or Semester – 31st March / 31st May
- 3rd Trimester or Semester – 31st July
The NYDA’s Solomon Mahlangu Bursary fund is also in aid of empowering the youth of South Africa. Their main focus is to aid those from rural areas. Candidates whom have an outstanding academic background, which is motivated towards gaining a degree, is invited to apply. These will be offered through a range of selected Universities or the University of Technology. They offer more than a hundred bursaries per year.
The following will be included in these bursaries, however candidates must know that all funds will be paid to the chosen Institute, for study.
The bursary will cover:
- Full Cost of Tuition
- Full Cost of Books or Prescribed Learning Materials
- Full Cost of University Accommodation
- Full Cost of University Meals
Private accommodation will ONLY be looked at if candidate has applied for accommodation on time, but could not be accommodated.
National Youth Development Agency Bursaries Available
The NYDA tries to cover all areas within the workforce. They provide the youth with further study to fill positions within all parts of state departments, the private sector over and above all sectors within society. They aid in building up the country’s economy while also assisting in sustainable living.
They have the following fields of study available:
- Mining Industry
- Health Care
- Project Management
- IT Industries
- Aerospace Industry
- Financial Management
- Supply Chain
Candidates who wish to apply must adhere to all requirements. Candidates must be under the age of 25 and a South African citizen.
Candidates must supply the following:
- ID documentation of applicant
- ID documentation of parents / legal guardian
- Proof of income or parent / legal guardian
- Admission acceptance to one of the Universities in South Africa
- Grade 12 Results
- Must hold a minimum of 70% in their NSC exams
- Proof of residence
Candidates residing in a rural area will be looked at first. Candidates must ensure all documentation is certified copies when attaching to application form. Late or incomplete applications will be dismissed. Candidates must remember that all financial records will be checked, thus it is advised to not apply if you are not truly in financial stress.
Candidates must be open and honest at all times, when asked for a spending budget, please keep in mind, it is only for necessities, thus if you ask for too much, you may be disqualified.
Online applications for each bursary can be found online links or downloadable PDF forms.
The first two, thus the one for Secondary Education, as well as the one for study at FET Colleges can be found HERE, simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the link.
Applications for the NYDA Solomon Mahlangu Bursary can be collected, at any of the Youth Development agencies. Once you have completed your application it must be delivered to:
The NYDA Bursary Program
11 Broadwalk Avenue
For any additional detail candidates can contact:
011 – 651 7000
Or call 08600 YOUTH (96884
Or visit www.nyda.gov.za
The NYDA Solomon Mahlangu Bursary fund closes applications with the end of January each year.
Candidates are urged to please complete the application form fully, thus leaving NO empty spaces, and ensuring it is signed. Please share your future plans, ideals and all you feel may be of value with the NYDA. It is therefore advised to send a cover letter with your application, stating all of these and sufficient information about yourself with your application. Also please indicate why you feel you will be of value to the fund.
Anglo American Platinum Ltd. said it has started buying power from a venture that uses the heat generated by its smelters to produce electricity.
Amplats, as the world’s largest platinum producer in known, will source 4.3 megawatts from the 150 million-rand ($11 million) plant that was built by Vuselela Energy at the mining company’s smelters in Rustenburg in the North West province, it said in a statement handed to reporters at the site on Monday. The facility captures about 20 percent of the thermal heat energy that a converter generates, said Jacques Malan, a director of Vuselela.
“We can probably squeeze out another 10 percent, but that will take time,” Malan said in an interview. The power is about 10 percent cheaper than what Amplats currently pays to Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., South Africa’s state-owned utility, Malan said. Cost increases are capped at the nation’s annual inflation rate, which was 4.6 percent in August, he said.
Mining companies in South Africa, the world’s biggest platinum and chrome producer, are seeking to reduce their reliance on Eskom, which is struggling to maintain regular supply while prices have almost quadrupled since 2007.
Vuselela is in talks to build another 12 similar plants in South Africa and neighboring countries, Malan said.
The facility “is the first of its kind in the world in terms of being connected to a converter at a metallurgical plant,” he said. “A significant amount of novel work was done to design the integration of the technology into the smelter complex.”
South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry contributed 30 million rand toward the project as an incentive, Minister Rob Davies told reporters.
New hybrid black cab will hit London roads in 2017, a year before all taxis are required to be capable of ‘zero emissions’ motoring, reports Business Green
London’s iconic black cabs have received a green makeover with the launch of the latest battery-powered TX5 model, unveiled yesterday during Chinese premier Xi Jinping’s state visit to the capital.
The new London taxi, which will be available from 2017, will be made with Chinese electric vehicle technology. It was designed by the London Taxi Company, which is owned by Chinese car manufacturer Geely. The TX5 will be manufactured at a new £300m plant outside Coventry – the UK’s first new auto plant in a decade.
The six-seater TX5 boasts plug-in hybrid capabilities, meaning it can run on battery power and then switch from electric to petrol power when its battery runs out. It will also come with WiFi internet access and charging points for passengers’ mobile devices.
The cab will hit the roads just before new regulations take effect in January 2018 requiring all new taxis and private hire vehicles in London to have a ‘zero-emissions’ capability for at least 30 miles.
The launch of the new cab came on the same day London mayor, Boris Johnson, reiterated his support for electric and hybrid vehicles as a key solution to the capital’s air pollution problem. The Mayor’s remarks came in response to fierce questions from London Assembly Members over London’s air quality during Mayor’s question time yesterday.
During the session Johnson expressed particular support for electric and hybrid vehicles, which he said had the potential to become a viable option for mass-market consumers. “I want to particularly encourage electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids [in London] – they are the way forward,” he said.
Johnson insisted levels of NOx and particulate matter are coming down, but conceded that pollution was still very high in certain parts of the city.
In response to Johnson, Stephen Knight, Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson, called on the Mayor to ban Euro VIdiesel vehicles from the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which will come into force in 2020. The Euro VI testing procedure has come under heavy criticism following the revelations surrounding VW’s use of a ‘defeat device’ to cheat emissions tests.
“The Mayor should admit past mistakes and now say that we are no longer going to put a badge of ‘ultra low-emission’ on a set of vehicles that are in reality nothing of the sort,” he said. “The only vehicles that should count as ultra-low-emission compliant should be vehicles tested in real-world tests. In practice it would give absolute clarity to car-drivers and fleet-owners to simply say that the ULEZ will be diesel free.”
In other green automotive news, energy storage and clean fuel firm ITM Power announced it has received the first Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) to be delivered in the UK earlier this week. It coincided with an announcement from Toyota confirming the UK will be the key early entry market for its FCEV models.