Innovation and an appreciation of South Africa’s cultural diversity stand out in The University of the Free State, Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards

Innovation is the standout quality that differentiates design resolutions and helps define architecture as special and appreciated by one’s peers. Innovation in sync with context provides the delight factor permitting architectural design to compete comfortably on the world stage. Technical skill, the ability to create memorable form that draws one in while treading softly on our planet is what puts the finishing touches to sustainable architecture. South African architecture continues to take positive strides also demonstrating an extra creative dimension unique in a country where the shaping of the urban landscape requires an appreciation of the complexities of creating an inclusive built environment.

This was said by Dirk Meyer, managing director of Corobrik, ahead of the 31st Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards, which are held annually to acknowledge and reward outstanding talent in South Africa.

The competition involves the country’s eight major universities where the best architectural students are identified based on their final theses and presented with awards at regional events. The winners of each of the regional competitions then go on to compete for the national title at the 31st Corobrik Student Architect of the Year Awards in Johannesburg in April 2018

Ockert Van Heerden Corobrik Sales Director presented prizes to the winners from University of the Free State.

Su-Elna Bester won first prize of R8 000, second prize of R6 500 went to Wim Boshoff and third prize of R4 500 was presented to Jani Schreuder.   An additional prize of R4 500 for the best use of clay masonry was awarded to Jacques Steyn.

Su-Elna Bester’s thesis is entitled, ‘The M.CAC / Multi-Cultural Centre of Dubai.’  She says, “The Multicultural Centre is situated next to the famous Dubai Creek. Forming part of the traditional desert like vernacular architecture creating a special vibrant pedestrian waterfront & cultural hub. The centre is home to all different cultures & communities. The MCAC waterfront forms a setting for self-expressions alongside others to affectively build a sense of cultural diversity.

The MCAC & park flowing into the existing city fabric, becomes a place for celebration and transforms according to its needs. Personal interaction is celebrated with its vibrant, fluid walkways, desert plants, water and trees, merging open Gallery & exhibition spaces. The building is sunken into the ground with planted roofs allowing for panoramic views. The restaurant creates an urban environment featuring multiple uses, forming cohesive public spaces. The theatre forms part of the heart of the creek. This encourage visitors to sit alongside the pedestrian designed park to eat together, socialize & explore the middle eastern culture & diverse ex patriate community.

Space belongs to those who can make place of dwelling for themselves within their context. Architecture can act as a tool to form a platform for dialogue between different groups; to create one supportive community that functions culturally alongside each other. This establish a sense of community and place in which both can exist to create a shared cultural experience.

Wim Boshoff’s thesis is a Cinematic Arts Centre, an urban activation through breaking the wall.  He says. “This dissertation is designed around the exploration of breaking ‘walls’ or boundaries in a dormant place to reveal transformation and connectivity within a CBD urban level and how it can contribute towards a design synthesis. It proposes a film Centre in Bloemfontein’s extensive network of educational institutes. The aim is to design a meaningful place of learning, by achieving connectivity through the investigation of movement and the breaking of boundaries.

Jani Schreuder’s thesis is entitled “A Dual Education Centre for Woman and Infants.”   She proposes an education centre for single mothers and an early development centre for their children.  This is aimed at addressing the topical issue of education shortage within our society. It includes a housing scheme to facilitate the re-appropriation of city space into a livable community. The proposal is located within the CBD of Pretoria and was chosen as the dissertation topic because of its social relevance and possible reach.

Jacques Steyn’s Urban Recycling Centre in Bloemfontein won the award for best use of clay brick.  His thesis proposed a new age of recycling process within the 21st century city.   Steyn says in Bloemfontein, like in most modern South African cities, waste can become a big problem with many pedestrians that occupy the CBD. The choice in design was to create a space within the city (Hoffman Square), where people can drop of their waste but also become part of the process of recycling. He incorporated clay brick into the design to become part of the surrounding buildings, but also allowing a design that would be durable.

Van Heerden said that all the winners had shown a close affinity with their subjects and that their designs both enhanced and integrated with the communities in which they were sited.

Speaking about trends in the profession Van Heerden said that Corobrik had noticed a resurgence both internationally and locally in the appreciation of clay brick as a material with important flexibility in design and yet with intrinsic sustainable qualities so appropriate for advancing the affordability of government building projects.

“Whilst clay brick has always been well represented in high end commercial projects, we are seeing more of it being specified for public schools, hospitals, clinics and affordable housing because of the multiple benefits the material brings to a construction project,” Van Heerden said.

“Life time aesthetics, durability and thermal efficiency are just three of the attributes of clay masonry which ensure low lifecycle costs and satisfy sustainability needs, in addition to allowing flexibility for innovative and aesthetically appealing design. These are important attributes which enable architects to create memorable and relevant additions to the built environment in South Africa using clay brick.”

Van Heerden said that the winners in the Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards had shown outstanding maturity, innovation and technical skill in their designs which were a credit to the profession in both local and global terms.

Caption:  Su-Elna Bester from the University of the Free State is this year’s regional winner of the Corobrik Architectural Student Awards.   Her thesis is entitled ‘The M.CAC / Multi-Cultural Assimilation Centre of Dubai.   She is pictured with left Ockert van Heerden of Corobrik, Henry Pretorious and Jan Smit from the University

3958; Su-Elna Bester is this year’s regional winner from the University of the Free State for the regional Corobrik Architectural Student Awards.  She is pictures with her thesis model.

#movethedate of Earth Overshoot Day

  • Humanity demands more than Earth can regenerate
  • Calculate your carbon footprint
  • #movethedate to 31 December

Schneider Electric and Global Footprint Network (GFN) launched a new mobile-friendly Footprint Calculator for Earth Overshoot Day 2017, which enables everyone to track their ecological footprint and personal Earth Overshoot Day.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. We maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

This year it fell back to 2 August, the earliest date ever, according to GFN, as humanity currently demands 1.7 times more than Earth’s ecosystems can regenerate. When launched in 2006, Earth Overshoot Day fell in October.

How can you #movethedate?

Reducing the energy intensity of homes, buildings and cities will help #movethedate of Overshoot Day back down again; we only need to move the date 4.5 days per year to operate within the means of our planet by 2050.

GFN is highlighting four solution areas to #movethedate: cities, energy, food and population. More than 2 million people used Global Footprint Network’s previous calculator last year, including students and teachers. In addition to a greater focus on solutions, the new calculator features the latest footprint data and methodology as well as updated graphics to help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Protecting planet, society

“We hope our new Footprint Calculator enables millions more people around the world to explore sustainability solutions and gain an uplifting sense of the possibilities available to society,” says Mathis Wackernagel, founder and CEO of Global Footprint Network. “Many of these solutions directly align with Schneider Electric’s values, practices and capabilities in the energy and city solutions space. It is a logical partner as a company whose business model focuses on creating a sustainable future.”

“Through our partnership with GFN, Schneider Electric aims to further promote one-planet compatibility in our global economy and mobilise citizens, other companies, and governments around the world to help #movethedate of Earth Overshoot Day back to December 31. Building an always more sustainable global supply chain and designing increasingly resource-efficient offerings for our customers is our obsession. Our EcoStruxure solutions reduce energy and CO2 intensity of homes, buildings, cities, grids, data centres, industries and these help #movethedate,” says Taru Madangombe, Vice President of Energy in Southern Africa for Schneider Electric.

For more information, go to or

Schneider Electric accelerates fight against climate change at One Planet Summit

Schneider Electric executives collaborate with other sustainability leaders on how to deliver tangible actions on the most pressing global sustainability challenges

Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, will join other sustainability leaders to support and accelerate the common fight against climate change at the One Planet Summit. Two years to the day after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, and following COP23, President of France Emmanuel Macron is organizing the milestone summit to convene those involved in public and private finance to deliver ambitious and achievable actions that will contribute to limiting global warming and its impact.

Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Schneider Electric said: “Prosperity and energy are intertwined. For Schneider Electric, contributing to the process of achieving carbon neutrality is an ambitious and productive challenge that deserves the joint commitment of the public and private sectors. Schneider Electric is aligning its strategy and its activity with this essential outlook of the 21st century.”

To mark the occasion of the One Planet Summit, Schneider Electric is accelerating its ambition and commitments for climate that supports the company’s objectives to reduce its plants and sites carbon emission and to become carbon neutral by 2030 in a coherent industry ecosystem encompassing both suppliers and clients. The pledge is based around three complementary initiatives:

  1. Before 2020, outline a specific trajectory based on the assumption that Earth will breach the 2°C warming limit by 2050 and validate it through the Science-Based Targets initiative, in which Schneider Electric has been involved for one year, and increase the impact of Schneider Electric’s internal carbon price. Schneider Electric has already set a goal of cutting CO2 emissions by more than 50% in absolute value by 2050 compared to 2015.
  2. Achieve for 2030, and add to, the 10 commitments presented at COP21 in 2015 in order to build carbon neutrality within Schneider Electric’s ecosystem and specifically quantify the carbon impact of 100% of its major customer projects (see above).
  3. Starting today take action and, to ensure full transparency, monitor whether Schneider Electric has achieved its targets through the quarterly publication of its Planet & Society barometer and in connection with major open coalitions. These commitments are accelerating the results already obtained and disseminated through Schneider Electric’s four barometers since 2008; for example, its energy intensity was cut by 42% between 2005 and 2017, and the carbon intensity of its logistics was reduced by 35% between 2012 and 2017.

The One Planet Summit will also see Tricoire and other Schneider Electric executives collaborate with other sustainability leaders on how to deliver tangible actions on the most pressing global sustainability challenges across a series of events and roundtables (see above). Schneider Electric will also announce several new commitments that will maintain the company’s leading position at the forefront of sustainability efforts including:

  • RE100: Schneider Electric has joined RE100, the global collaborative initiative, led by The Climate Group, announcing its commitment to 100% renewable electricity use by 2030;
  • EP100: By joining the EP100 initiative, also led by The Climate Group, Schneider Electric has committed to double its energy productivity against a 2005 baseline, setting an ambitious target to doubling the economic output from every unit of energy consumed;
  • Livelihoods Carbon Fund: Together with Crédit Agricole, Danone, Firmenich, Hermès, Michelin, SAP, and Voyageurs du Monde, Schneider Electric has launched a new impact investment fund, with a target of 100 million euros. The fund aims to improve the lives of 2 million people and avoid the emission of up to 25 million tons of CO2 over a 20-year span.

As a global leader at the crossroads of the energy transition and the digital transition, Schneider Electric is focusing on intelligent control, active distribution management and energy consumption. Schneider Electric is committed to bringing solutions to market that will increase the flexibility of both industrial production and all energy fields and applications.

Schneider Electric’s aim is to improve usage comfort and safety while sharply cutting – at the lowest cost – energy consumption and carbon emissions in keeping with the new landscape of decentralized, carbon-free and digitalized energy production. Because access to energy is a fundamental human right, Schneider Electric also intends to innovate to help the one billion people on the planet who do not have access to energy and the 10% of inhabitants facing energy insecurity, by developing affordable and reliable low-carbon solutions.

Schneider Electric agenda at the One Planet Summit and its side-events

Day Time What Where
Dec. 10 01:00pm – 05:00pm Conference – Access to climate finance: the priority proposals of non-state actors

w/ Gilles Vermot-Desroches, SVP Sustainability

Climate Chance

10 rue des Prairies 75020 Paris


Dec. 11 08:00am – 09:00am Media Conference – French Business Climate Pledge

w/ Jean Pascal Tricoire, Chairman & CEO


55 avenue Bosquet

75007 Paris


09:30am – 10:45am Roundtable – Solving the Urban Equation

w/ Jean Pascal Tricoire, Chairman & CEO


55 avenue Bosquet

75007 Paris


10.45am – 12:00pm Roundtable – Create a dynamic solutions

w/ Gilles Vermot-Desroches, SVP Sustainability


55 avenue Bosquet

75007 Paris


02.30pm – 07.00pm Conference –#TechForPlanet (by NUMA) – Scale Solutions for Climate

w/ Emmanuel Lagarrigue, Chief Strategy Officer

Station F

5 parvis Alan Turing 75013 Paris


04.50pm – 05.30pm Roundtable – Renewable solutions connected to the electricity grid: what evolutions, what financing, what obstacles, how to change scale to stay below the 2 ° C threshold?

w/ Gilles Vermot-Desroches, SVP Sustainability

Maison de l’UNESCO

125 Avenue de Suffren

75007 Paris


07.00pm – 08.30pm Launch Party – Launch of a new Livelihoods Carbon Investment Fund

w/ Gilles Vermot-Desroches, SVP Sustainability


11 Rue Montgolfier, 93500 Pantin


Updates announced to 2015 commitments and progress achieved to date

  2015 – 2030 commitments Completion 20152017 (expected projection)
1 Quantify the carbon impact of 100% of its major customer projects (2015–2017) 100%
2 Design 100% of new products and services in line with Schneider Electric ecoDesign Way™ and generate 75% of product revenue with Green Premium™ (2015–2017) ecoDesign Way: 100%

Green Premium: 75%

3 Avoid 120,000 tones of CO2 emissions by implementing “end-of-life” product services in compliance with the principles of the circular economy (2015–2017) + 150,000t of CO2
4 Facilitate access to lighting and communications for 50 million people at the bottom of the pyramid within 10 years through low-carbon solutions (2015–2025) 5 million households
5 Build micro-grids to improve flexible usage and reduce impacts In progress
6 Offer SF6 gas alternatives within 5 years (2015–2020) and no longer use SF6 gas in Schneider Electric products within 10 years (2015–2025) In progress and ahead of schedule
7 Reduce Schneider Electric’s energy intensity by 3.5% annually (2015 and beyond) 10%
8 Cut CO2 emissions from transportation by 3.5% annually (2015 and beyond) 12%
9 Invest €10 billion in innovation and R&D for sustainable development over the next 10 years (2015–2025) + €3.5 billion
10 Issue a “climate” obligation to finance low-carbon R&D Issued in October 2015

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is leading the Digital Transformation of Energy Management and Automation in Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries.

With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider is the undisputable leader in Power Management – Medium Voltage, Low Voltage and Secure Power, and in Automation Systems. We provide integrated efficiency solutions, combining energy, automation and software.

In our global Ecosystem, we collaborate with the largest Partner, Integrator and Developer Community on our Open Platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency.

We believe that great people and partners make Schneider a great company and that our commitment to Innovation, Diversity and Sustainability ensures that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment.

We are open for business despite drought : South Africa Tourism

A moral based decision, valuable for the environment

South Africa has been hit by a severe drought that the authorities recently declared a national disaster. The situation in Cape Town is particularly harsh. But South Africa Tourism says the government has taken steps to mitigate the impact on residents and tourists alike.

Faced with a severe drought, that has been classified as one in 1,000-year occurrence, tourism related establishments across South Africa and notably Cape Town, in collaboration with the authorities, have put in place a number of preventive initiatives to ensure adequate water supply for residents as well as tourists’ essential daily needs.

“The tourism sector supports approximately 300 000 jobs across the Western Cape and it is vital to preserve these jobs. During peak season (November – January), international tourists only add 1% to the population of the Western Cape. Majority of tourism establishments have rolled out measures to ensure their water usage is controlled, while many have developed plans for alternative supplies,’’ says Kim Emmanuel, Communication Officer at the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association.

The drought has been due to insufficient rainfall which led to a severe drop in the water stored in the dams. The South African Tourism officials say that due to extensive media coverage of the drought, there are several fears amongst the tourists, but which are completely misplaced. Most of the travellers worry about the ‘Day 0’, concretely the date when Cape Town’s taps are expected to run dry. Currently, Cape Town is fed by six dams catering to its 4 million inhabitants.

Among the steps taken by the hotels and civic authorities in Cape Town is the advice to limit shower time and not use bath. But the decision is moral based and is valuable for the environment, Hanneli Slabber, Regional General Manager, Asia/Australasia/Middle East, South African Tourism, told India Outbound at a recent event in New Delhi. “South Africa and Cape Town are open for business. Tourism activities are happening. There are certain things we need to be competitive on, and there are certain things that are a moral duty. And even if it rains buckets, we are still going to tell people to be more responsible when it comes to usage of water !’’ she added.

“The need of the moment”

In the past few years, South Africa has emerged as the preferred destination for Indian tourists in Africa. Indian leisure visitors numbers to South Africa surged 21.7% last year to close at an arrivals total of 95 377 and 42% of the total tourist arrival from India is return.

“While our guests have expressed concern regarding the water situation in Cape Town, they do understand that water is a very precious resource and must be used with thought and care. Since water scarcity is a global issue the situation in Cape Town brings it to the forefront and hopefully, encourages people to be more aware and governments to be proactive in taking corrective measures,’’ added Smita Srivastava, Director of Chalo South Africa, a TO based in Delhi, adding that the drought has had practically no impact on the tourism traffic from India to South Africa.

South Africa is not an isolated case in terms of facing water scarcity. California, Australia and Sao Paulo have faced similar issues.  “We are learning from them. As citizens of planet earth, this is the need of the moment,’’ added Slabber.

Perhaps very appropriately, Cape Town is hosting, in May this year, the world’s largest water loss conference where 500 participants, from more than 50 countries are expected. Innovation and good practices should come out from the global meeting. By then, the locals hope that the rain gods would have showered their blessings on the city as it heads into the winter.

Source: mediaindia

Ramaphosa should shift to green energy – Greenpeace

Environmental organisation Greenpeace is demanding newly-elected President Cyril Ramaphosa takes urgent action on energy policy in South Africa.

Ramaphosa delivered his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Friday, highlighting economic growth and combating corruption.

“While President Ramaphosa made a compelling attempt to start a new chapter in [Friday’s] SONA address, by failing to declare that nuclear will not go ahead, or provide direction on the country’s energy pathway through the finalisation of the Integrated Resource Plan, he has created more uncertainty in energy policy,” said Mbong Akiy, Greenpeace Africa head of communication.

Ramaphosa sketched broad outlines for moving the economy forward through a focus on industries, such as mining and infrastructure.

“Mining is another area that has massive unrealised potential for growth and job creation,” said Ramaphosa, referring to the industry as a “sunrise industry”.

“If the president is serious about job creation, he would ensure that the barriers to renewable energy are removed immediately, instead of declaring that the mining industry – which is in terminal decline – is a ‘sunrise industry’,” said Akiy.

The Democratic Alliance indicated its opposition to a new nuclear power station.

“Be strong, President Ramaphosa. Reject the nuclear deal and put your weight behind the neglected renewables project so we can move forward into an era of clean, affordable energy,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane said as members of Parliament debated the SONA.

Climate-friendly policies

Greenpeace argued that energy generator Eskom needed to focus on renewable energy as part of a shift to climate-friendly policies.

“The electricity sector is indeed in dire need of certainty and accountability. South Africans deserve clarity on what will be done to ensure that rational, climate-friendly and low-cost energy decisions are taken. It is only the Integrated Resource Plan that can provide that much-needed certainty,” said Akiy.

In his SONA, Ramaphosa hinted that strong action was coming to restore the credibility of Eskom.

“The recent action we have taken at Eskom to strengthen governance, root out corruption and restore its financial position is just the beginning.

“Government will take further measures to ensure that all state-owned companies fulfil their economic and developmental mandates.”

Eskom largely relies on coal for energy generation, with 13 coal-fired plants producing 34 952 megawatts (MW). The nuclear-powered Koeberg plant produces 1 830MW.

Two hydro pump storage schemes and two hydro-electric plants have a combined capacity of 2 000MW.

The company has invested in two wind farms and said that the Klipheuwel system had a capacity of 3MW, while the Sere Windfarm in Vredendal in the Western Cape had a capacity of 100MW.

Akiy demanded that the government develop and implement a plan to ensure greater focus on renewable energy.

“Greenpeace calls for consistency and for the president to ensure that a new Integrated Resource Plan – which takes climate change and the country’s strained water resources into account – is released as soon as possible.”

Source: News24

Only freedom can stimulate competition

Competition is not something that can be artificially created. Competition is an inherent facet of human – or living – nature, and thrives most when it is left alone. The notion that government can introduce swaths of laws, regulations, and red tape, like the new Competition Amendment Bill, and not have a deleterious effect on competition and economic growth is naïve. Government should stick to ensuring no violence or fraud is used by firms and let the rest of the chips fall where they may, in the interest of all consumers.

South Africa’s competition policy regime, as constructed around legislation like the Competition Act, is permeated by a fundamental misunderstanding of the economics of competition and of the Rule of Law. The Competition Amendment Bill, for instance, is of a racialist character; assigns excessive discretionary powers; its provisions are ambiguous and unclear; and it seeks to oust the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Appeal, each of which falls foul of the commitment to the Rule of Law found in section 1(c) of the Constitution.

Nothing in the Bill will make competing easier for historically disadvantaged persons. According to Christo Hattingh, competition “is the method by which consumers judge whether prices are ‘too high’”, and businesses that charge too much for their goods or services will inevitably lose customers and face closure. The Free Market Foundation’s former chairman, the late Michael O’Dowd, wrote that entrepreneurs have “to produce goods or services that other people want to buy. Where competition comes in, is that he will not be able to sell his product if others do a substantially better job of producing it than he does. He does not have to defeat the competition, but he does have to keep up with it”.

Competing, in other words, is not something the law can help one do. The law can only create an environment in which competition can thrive. What the Competition Amendment Bill does is open various doors through which cronyism and corruption can slip through as firms, some not as honourable as others, vie for government favour.

By providing that the Competition Commission must take “the promotion of a greater spread of ownership, in particular to increase the levels of ownership by historically disadvantaged persons” into account when determining whether a merger is “in the public interest”, for instance, the Bill is calling for racial arbitrariness the likes of which still haunt us from the Apartheid era. The Commission is being called upon to look, among other things, at the racial character of businesses wishing to merge in determining whether the merger should be allowed or not. There are no strict guidelines for how the Commission must make this determination, so it is a matter of discretion.

Where there is discretion, there will, inevitably, be corruption. When an official can base their decision simply on their own interpretation of the facts, nothing protects them from giving in to the temptation to favour some at the expense of others, other than their own strength of character.

A provision of this nature has nothing to do with the fundamental nature of competition regulation; that is, to ensure the market is contestable and not monopolised by particular firms.

Competition in the marketplace is not stimulated by active government interference in the affairs of firms and entrepreneurs. Government interference leads to price distortions caused by factors such as increased compliance costs and perverted incentives. Ordinarily, entrepreneurs would seek to profit by providing consumers with the goods and services they desire at a better quality or speed than their rivals, but, when government starts to interfere, they now also need to satisfy the ideological and arbitrary whims of the bureaucracy by competing with one another over who can cosy up the closest to the industrial regulator to ensure that their virtue-signalling compliance with ideological legislation receives notice.

For competition to flourish, government must start a process of dismantling anti-competitive legislation and regulations, and of dismantling State-sponsored or -owned monopolies that force private competition out of those respective industries. Competition is not created by government, but comes about in a market free of excessive interference. The role of government should simply be to ensure no firms use violence or deception to deny market entry to their potential rivals.

Author Martin van Staden is Legal Researcher at the Free Market Foundation. This article may be republished without prior consent but with acknowledgement to the author. The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Free Market Foundation.

Tintswalo Atlantic backs the global straw war

Backing the global ‘straw war’, Tintswalo Atlantic has banned all plastic straws on site at the hotel on Chapman’s Peak in Cape Town, and replaced it with the use of re-usable glass straws.

Lisa Goosen, the owner of Tintswalo Atlantic says: ‘According to National Geographic, although straws amount to a tiny fraction of ocean plastic, their size makes them one of the most insidious polluters because they entangle marine animals and are consumed by fish. Our location right on the Atlantic Ocean, where we witness amazing sea life every day, constantly reminds us about the vulnerability of nature and we feel very strongly about supporting the environmental campaign to stop using plastic straws to help save the oceans. Apart from the use of glass straws in the hotel, it is also a popular gift item offered for sale in the hotel gift shop’.






 @Tintswalolodges @FiveStarPRZA

Hacks to Turn Water Saving into a Habit

John Lucas, Founder of explore4knowlege and a Cape Union Mart Environmental Ambassador, spoke recently about the devastating drought sweeping the Western Cape – the worst the province has seen in decades. According to Lucas, although Capetonians are making every effort to ease the plight – with one in two being active water savers – by 2025 one in three will have access to just 25 litres of water per day.

He has attributed this to a global shift in weather patterns, an increase in the population and an ever increasing use of the dwindling resource.

Lucas shares: “We, as Africans, need to be innovative and adopt a water saving lifestyle that will be handed down from generation to generation.”

Together with Cape Union Mart, he offers the following water saving tips:

Shorter showers

Under the current Level 6B Water Restrictions, Capetonians have had to cut their water consumption to less than 50 litres per person per day. Those who have used the City of Cape Town’s online Think Water Calculatorwill see that showering can quickly use up the 50 litre allocation – a six minute shower can use up to 60 litres! Showering tips to help cut down your water consumption would be to reduce water pressure and listen to a short song as a timer to ensure that you don’t get carried away when ‘Singin’ in the Rain’.

Support sustainable businesses

While the calculator can give you a rough idea of your water usage, your footprint extends to the products you purchase from stores. For instance, one takeaway cup of coffee bought at a restaurant takes 200 litres of water to make (from growing the coffee beans and sugar, to manufacturing the paper cup and sleeve). Purchasing from sustainably conscious businesses that use water efficiency strategies in their manufacturing process can assist in saving water. (Also, remember to take along your own travel mug the next time you need to get your on-the-go cup of Joe and help cut down on the number of paper cups used).

Clever cleanliness

Ever thought about how many times a day you wash your hands? According to the City’s calculator, even just washing them once can use three litres! With Capetonians being urged to preserve precious drinking water, using a hand sanitiser may be the solution. Keep Clean 200ml Hand Sanitiser (R40), made with Aloe Vera, moisturises hands whilst helping to protect against germs and bacteria. Another option for keeping hands clean is Busby Outdoor Wipes (R30). These handy anti-bacterial wet-wipes are enriched with natural extracts and formulated to cleanse. Plus, they provide soothing relief for inflamed and irritated skin.

Outdoor showers made easy

With the water restrictions taking a toll on gardens, taking outdoor showers may just be the water wise solution for keeping them alive. With the UST Solar Shower (R275), all the grey water will go directly into the garden. It is incredibly easy to use too! Fill the bag with water and place in the sun for a few hours to absorb the heat. When ready, use the built-in handle to hang it on a tree branch or pole and enjoy a warm, outdoor shower. The bag holds up to 18 litres of water (less than what’s used by a regular two-minute shower) and with the water saving nozzle, multiple showers can be enjoyed per use.

Less waste with a reusable bottle

Opting for a reusable bottle to drink from can help cut down on the number of glasses used and washed throughout the day. Using water from the bottle while brushing your teeth automatically reduces the time the tap is left running and can help to further reduce water waste.

A helping hand

While handwashing laundry and dishes are helpful when it comes to saving water, why not go the extra mile by using rain or spring water too. The UST Water Carrier (R99) is able to hold up to 10 litres of liquid and can be hung above a sink from its sturdy wooden handles. It also features an easy-to-use spout that allows for one-handed operation and conveniently rolls up for easy storage.

“We are not facing a water crisis as much as we are facing a consumer realisation that a product we have taken for granted has become non-renewable to a degree, forcing us to reconsider our utilisation of this life-giving resource that could determine the wars of our future. It is no longer a matter of conserving water for the short-term goal of avoiding ‘Day Zero’. Rather, it is a mind-set and behavioural change that must be acted upon to ensure a future for us, our children, our city, our continent and our world,” concludes Lucas.

Please note, all the above mentioned products are subject to availability.

For information visit

Additional Day Zero-defeating products from Cape Union Mart include:

Cape Union Water Purifying Tablets (R45) This is the must-have treatment for potentially harmful water sources. One tablet treats one litre.
Coghlans Collapsible Water Container 5g/20L (R299) A convenient way to transport and use water wherever you need it, this BPA-free container features a removable on/off spigot for easy filling, along with moulded handles for effortless carrying. When empty, it folds flat for easy storage.
Lifestraw Personal Straw Water Filter (R399) Worried about water quality? The Lifestraw filters water straight from the source. Originally developed as a way to provide drinkable water to disaster areas in emergency situations, the unfiltered water gets sucked through the LifeStraw and the filter inside delivers fresh, filtered drinking water.
Lifestraw Go Bottle Filter (R699) Using the same technology as the Lifestraw, this helps you to take unfiltered water with you and transform it into drinking water while on the go.
Medi-Health Claritabs (R45) A single tablet is all that’s needed to purify one litre of water.
One Drop Water Purifier 30ml (R60) or 200ml (R199) When making use of water from natural sources such as lakes and streams, One Drop Water Purifier helps to kill cholera, e-coli and other water-borne pathogens. Simply treat the water, allow it to stand for 30 minutes and then pour it through a cloth filter to remove the precipitate and ensure safe consumption.
Coghlans Solar Shower 5g/18.9L (R199) This lightweight, non-toxic PVC camp shower stores enough water for up to four showers. Despite being super compact, it has a 20 litre capacity and is easy to use with its handle for hanging.
Aqua Salveo 30ml Water Disinfectant (R99) Kill any nasties and enjoy clean, safe drinking water by treating up to 300 litres with 30ml of Aqua Salveo.

Sustainable building is the focus at 31st Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards

Great architectural design is sustainable design. It is design which ensures that the built environment complies with the principles of social, economic and ecological sustainability. It requires skill and sensitivity on the part of the architect. This was evident in full measure during the regional rounds of the 31st Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards, according to Dirk Meyer, managing director of Corobrik,

The competition has been held annually for the past 30 years to reward and advance excellence in the architectural profession countrywide. It involves regional competitions at eight major South African universities in the build-up to a national award ceremony in Johannesburg in April 2018 at which the overall winner is named and presented with a prize of R50 000.

Allin Dangers, Corobrik Director of Sales Coastal, presented prizes to architectural students of the University of KwaZulu-Natal University in Durban on 18 January 2018. The regional winner of R8 500 was Yousuf Vawda, with Joshua Montile   receiving the R6 500 second prize and Thabo Cele taking home the third prize of R4 500. The prize of R4 500 for the best use of clay was also won by Yousuf Vawda

Yousuf Vawda’s thesis is entitled ‘Memento Mori – Remember Your Death’

He says, places of the dead throughout history have played a significant role in shaping the urban fabric and portraying a society’s attitude towards their dead. These sacred spaces would be important elements in the landscape for the living to pay respect and remember those that have passed.

The Christian faith has a unique history regarding their interment spaces, utilising a variety of methods throughout its two thousand-year history.

The purpose of this project is to explore the relationship between sacred space and the memory of the dead, in Christianity, through mnemonics. The study investigates the relationship between life and death via sacred and memory evoking architecture through the design of a cemetery complex for Durban.

Situated in the otherwise underutilised Stellawood Cemetery, the project attempts to engage the public through retail, community and leisure spaces. Thereafter the user is lead along a ‘journey’, acting as a metaphor of life, death and the Resurrection, where the spaces are meant to evoke memories of the dead, as well as act as a reminder to the living that there is more to life than the mundane and profane.

In addition, Bio-Cremation or Resomation is incorporated as a sustainable body disposal method.

Discussing the reason to incorporate clay brick into his thesis, Vawda says, ‘The materials incorporated also reference the passage of time and the effect of deterioration through time on the materials. The temporality of the materials, as well as its deterioration reminds the user of the temporality of human life. Materials are chosen to emphasise weathering, allowing the structure to age, without the need for continual maintenance. The use of clay brick throughout the scheme perfectly encapsulated this idea.

In second place Joshua Montile’s thesis is entitled ‘Power and Symbolism through Civic Architecture: Re-imagining the Durban City Hall.’

The aim of this study was to explore the appropriateness of Colonial civic buildings as an inherited architectural legacy in the context of democratic governance in South Africa today. This research led to the proposal of a new Council Chamber for the eThekwini Municipality underneath Francis Farewell Square in front of the Durban City Hall, bringing processes of democratic governance into the public realm and facilitating engagement between local government and the public through the democratic traits of transparency, engagement and openness enshrined in the South African Constitution.

In third place, Thabo Cele’s thesis is a Nguni Traditional Healing Centre in Durban.   Cele believes it will generate income for Durban.

He says, “Traditional healing has existed for many centuries and continuous to exist till this day. However, the lack of fundamentally appropriate architecture for practicing traditional healing in the -continuously growing- urban built environment has contributed immensely to the neglect of the practice. It is therefore apparent that there is a need for a place that will facilitate healing traditionalists and their practices that exist in Durban, ensuring inclusion through acknowledgement.”

“We expect the architectural students to be conscious of the big picture and the global environment in which they operate,” said Dangers “This includes the concept of sustainable building and an awareness that life cycle impacts are critical to the design of environmentally responsible buildings. It was clear that this was the case with the winning students this year.”

The correct choice of building materials was a factor in ensuring environmentally friendly construction practices, Dangers said, and it was hard to ignore the sustainable properties of clay masonry in this regard.

“Energy efficiency is an increasingly important consideration in reducing environmental impact and it here that face brick comes into its own because of its thermal efficiency, helping to keep the interior of buildings cool in the hotter months and warm in winter, a benefit which is of particular importance in South Africa with its extremes in temperature. Superior thermal efficiency also means lower energy costs throughout the life cycle of a building and peace of mind knowing that the first cost is essentially the last cost.”
Elaborating on the sustainable building properties of clay brick, Dangers said that it contributed many other benefits to a building project such as durability, low maintenance and long-term life performance whilst ensuring a healthy indoor environment.

“The architectural and building sector are increasingly receptive to the idea that, when considering the life cycle costs of a project, eco-friendly buildings cost less to operate and have excellent energy performance. As a result, we are seeing architects creating designs for environmentally sound buildings, a trend that was manifested in the projects submitted by this year’s students and one which bodes well for the furtherance of world class architectural design in this country.”


The Promise of Paris – Climate change is creating business opportunities

African countries can meet climate targets promised in the landmark Paris Agreement by catalyzing trillions of dollars in private investments through a combination of smart policy reforms and innovative business models, according to a new report b a member of the World Bank Group.

The report identifies seven industry sectors that can make a crucial difference in catalyzing private investment: renewable energy, off-grid solar and energy storage, agribusiness, green buildings, urban transportation, water, and urban waste management. Already, more than $1 trillion (R15 trillion) in investments are flowing into climate-related projects in these areas. But trillions more could be triggered by creating the right business conditions in emerging markets, the report found.

“The private sector holds the key to fighting climate change,” said IFC CEO Philippe Le Houérou. “The private sector has the innovation, the financing, and the tools. We can help unlock more private sector investment, but this also requires government reforms as well as innovative business models—which together will create new markets and attract the necessary investment. This can fulfill the promise of Paris.”

IFC’s Creating Markets for Climate Business report offers several examples of such an approach. Zambia was experiencing daily blackouts, stemming from drought that had crippled its hydroelectric capacity, when it became the first country to sign up for Scaling Solar in 2015. The government aims to build two large solar plants as part of its long-term strategy to generate 600 MW from solar. Johannesburg Water demonstrated how PPPs can succeed in meeting development and climate objectives in the water sector. The municipality set out to establish a privately-operated utility in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2000, when city water and sanitation services were facing bankruptcy. It has since installed biogas-to-electricity generation in several wastewater facilities. Biogas scrubbing and combined heat and power cogeneration projects were installed in 2012.

Saleem Karimjee, IFC Country Manager for Southern Africa, said, “African private businesses have the opportunity to become regional and global leaders in promoting climate-friendly projects. New approaches to business can unlock significant funds for climate finance that IFC and other lenders are eager to support.”

The report’s findings point to specific investment opportunities including:

Renewable energy investments could climb to R115 trillion cumulative by 2040—reforms such as renewable energy auctions, land title reforms, and supportive energy storage policy frameworks would make this possible.

Investments in off-grid solar and energy storage can reach $23 billion (R115 trillion) a year by 2025—if countries use differentiated tariffs, clear technical and safety standards, and targeted financial incentives while supporting new business models for community based solar such as Pay-as-You-Go and innovative finance solutions such as asset securitization.

Trillions of dollars of agribusiness investment can become more “climate-smart”—if governments ensure property rights, good transportation infrastructure, and regulations and fiscal policies that encourage climate-smart investment while promoting improved farmer-training practices and using financial innovation to provide working capital for farmers.Investments in green buildings could reach $3.4 trillion (R51 trillion) cumulative by 2025 in key emerging markets—if countries adopt better building codes and standards and create targeted financial incentives such as green-building certification and mandatory benchmarking of energy use. Other important reforms should encourage new utility business models, such as green mortgages and energy service companies.

Trillions of dollars in investments in sustainable urban transportation can be mobilized in the coming decade—if governments issue mandates to enable infrastructure investments and adopt municipal transit plans that can spur innovations, such as light rail.

Investments in water supply and sanitation could exceed $13 trillion (R195 trillion) cumulative by 2030—for this governments would need to establish water pricing at predictable and sustainable levels to increase the creditworthiness of utilities while entering into public-private partnerships and adopting performance-based contracts.

Investments in climate-smart urban waste management could reach $2 trillion—if cities work to attract private sector participation through improved regulatory and enforcement frameworks, using economic incentives and cost-recovery mechanisms such as feed-in tariffs, and driving waste-conscious consumer behavior.

Addressing climate change is a strategic priority for IFC. Since 2005, IFC has invested $18.3 billion (R195 trillion) of its own funds in long-term financing for climate-smart projects and mobilized an additional $11 billion from other investors. The latest report is a follow-up to the Climate Investment Opportunities report issued by IFC last year, which found that the Paris Agreement could create $23 trillion in investment opportunities for 21 emerging-market countries.

Source: energyforecastonline