Sustainability company Alive2Green will be hosting this year’s Sustainability Week at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research from June 23 to 28, which is themed ‘Get ready to put ideas in motion’.
The programme for the event will consist of 14 seminars that aim at providing stakeholders with the opportunity to share ideas that will improve environmental and economic performance across industries.
With the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum forming part of the event for the first time this year, it will focus on laying a foundation for African cooperation at city level and urban scale.
The Green Building Conference will address the latest perspectives, case studies and projects on new designstrategies, building materials and approaches that contribute to the rapidly changing green environment.
The Water Resource Seminar will then discuss issues pertaining to water scarcity, which is becoming more apparent as climate change intensifies. Experts around this issue will present on latest technologies and best practice that can address this issue during the seminar.
Moreover, the Vision Zero Waste Seminar will be a combination of government and related nongovernment organisation executives who will discuss strategies required to achieve better recycling levels in their countries.
The Sustainability Energy Seminar will address energy efficiency and renewable-energy topics, while the Green Business Seminar will speak on ways to harness the green business market to drive South Africa towards a green economy.
The Transport and Mobility Seminar will address transport networks and the economic benefits these have for a country, while looking at how this helps people’s mobility.
Other seminars during the event include Food Security, Sustainability in Mining, Green Manufacturing and Supply Chain, Sustainable Infrastructure, Response Tourism Dialogue, Youth and the Green Economy, and the Green Home Fair.
Source: Engineering News
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This year’s Sustainability Week programme boasts an impressive 14 seminars which offer excellent opportunities for various stakeholders to share ideas to ultimately improve environmental and economic performance. An exciting addition to the programme, African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum, hosted by the City of Tshwane, will seek to lay the foundation for African cooperation at city level and urban scale.
In addition to the extended Green Building and Sustainable Energy programmes, three new seminars on Mining, Manufacturing and Infrastructure have been introduced.
African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum
The African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum will explore various opportunities to address the sustainability imperative arising from the current and numerous challenges African cities face on a daily basis. African cities can reach high levels of quality urban life when supported by appropriate policies, design ingenuity, innovation, technical proficiency, robust implementation mechanisms and adequate infrastructural investments.
This will ultimately improve their environmental footprints while reaching highly competitive economic prosperity in the medium to long term. Ensuring that the most rapidly developing cities in the world develop sustainably is arguably the most important objective on the planet.
Green Building Conference
Green Buildings is rapidly becoming the norm for new large building projects. New design strategies, building materials and approaches are contributing to an ever more innovative and rapidly changing environment. This year’s ninth annual Green Building Conference will share the latest thinking, perspectives, case studies and projects as they unfold.
Professor Barbara Norman, Chair of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Canberra and Tomohiko Amemiya who worked on the award winning Slum Housing Project, Megacity Skeleton in Jakarta are among the international built environment experts that will share knowledge at this conference.
Water Resource Seminar
Water scarcity is a reality in South Africa and will become ever more apparent as climate change intensifies. Demand and supply-side management are two key strategies in protecting against absolute scarcity. Water efficiency is vital to the sustainability of our water resource on the demand side. On the supply side, it is imperative that issues such as pollution, land-use management, groundwater management, ecological infrastructure and acid mine drainage management are considered. Leading experts will present the latest technologies and best practice at this informative seminar.
Vision Zero Waste Seminar
South Africa is experiencing a waste explosion with landfills overflowing and production and disposal not slowing down. The Vision Zero Waste Seminar will see leading industry, government and related NGO executives, as well as fringe stakeholders, such as the Pickers, report back on actions and initiatives. The session will grapple with strategies and best practice required to achieve a stepped-up level of recycling in the country, with a dual focus on separation at source and profitability for businesses.
Sustainable Energy Seminar
Energy efficiency and renewable energy are converging fast into one bold new field – smart energy. This seminar will explore the idea that every effort should be made to redesign and reconfigure processes to be more energy efficient and reduce peak demand.
Green Business Seminar
Market forces are such a powerful driver of ingenuity and innovation that they have created the modern world with all its wonders, and all its terrors. How do we harness the market to a significantly greater degree to drive South Africa towards a green economy? This is the key question the Green Business Seminar will seek to answer.
Transport and Mobility Seminar
Mobility is a human right, but for most urban-based Africans movement across our cities has become an economic inhibitor. Poor urban planning and rapid urbanisation has resulted in massive pressure on ailing infrastructure.
Transport is a high impact sector, with tail pipe emissions accounting for a high percentage of national GHG emissions per country. The transport sector needs constant maintenance, upgrading, and rolling out of new roads, which ultimately affects communities and the biosphere in profound ways. A key strategy to reduce these impacts is to invest in rail infrastructure and to create the economic conditions to entice appropriate freight to move from truck to rail.
Transport networks can also have significant economic benefits. Projects to connect African countries can pave the way for much greater Africa-to-Africa trade, bolstering African industries and creating employment. Regional and international experts will present thought-provoking projects that are leading the change in respect of these considerations.
Food Security Seminar
Political instability, uneven access to resources and funding, poverty, skills shortages, a lack of interest in farming among young rural people, and a changing climate are just some of the complex factors that perpetuate food insecurity among Africans. This seminar invites thought leaders and experts in the field of food security, agriculture and related industries, to share the latest thinking and examples of best practice, presenting the changing face of African agriculture. Discussions will contribute to the formulation of consensus on the best course for African countries.
Sustainability in Mining Seminar
Mining is South Africa’s most important sector, employing hundreds of thousands of workers. Mining IQ mentions that the mining industry contributes an average of 20% to South Africa’s GDP and boasts a total annual income exceeding R330 billion. Mining and all extractive industries have a heavy impact on communities and the environment, but not all mines are planned, run, and decommissioned in the same manner.
This new seminar will bring mining executives and other stakeholders together to share knowledge and best practice approaches to energy and water use, waste generation and reclamation, effluent creation and treatment, transport and social issues. Don’t miss this ground breaking addition to Sustainability Week.
Green Manufacturing and Supply Chain Seminar
Localisation of inputs is critically important for the ongoing development of South Africa’s manufacturing sector. Companies will compare experiences and best practice in finding ways to localise manufacturing along the supply chain, seek out energy, water and waste efficiencies, protect communities and the environment, and compete locally and internationally. This session will invite companies that have chosen this approach and are benefiting commercially as a direct result.
Sustainable Infrastructure Seminar
A sustainable society and economy must rely on infrastructure that supports it. Reducing the environmental impact of the built environment can be advanced through the design, construction and operation of green buildings, but the fundamental key to achieving this is a matter of infrastructure.
Similarly, reducing tail pipe emissions in the transport sector can be advanced through fuel efficient logistics and vehicles, but again this is a matter of infrastructure. The same goes for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing demand through efficiency, but the fundamental key to achieving this objective is to ramp up the percentage of renewable generation in the grid, which is a matter of infrastructure.
Other items on the Sustainability Week programme include a Responsible Tourism Dialogue, a panel discussion for Youth and the Green Economy as well as a Green Home Fair with an organic market and household products for green living, scheduled to take place at Brooklyn Mall.
Source: Construction Review Online
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By Gordon Brown
According to the World Green Building Council the construction sector accounts for up to 40% of waste in landfill sites worldwide, and while this figure may be lower in South Africa construction remains a significant contributor to landfill content. The National Waste Information Baseline Report (DEA2012) indicates that the construction sector is responsible for 8% of all waste generated, although it is unclear whether this number includes the waste from product suppliers during production, which is significant. Importantly this statistic also excludes the ongoing operational waste generated in all occupied buildings, and so is understated.
Construction waste is made up of aggregates (concrete, stones, bricks) and soils, wood, metals, glass, biodegradable waste, plastic, insulation and gypsum based materials, paper and cardboard, a very high percentage of which are reusable or recyclable if separated at source. Currently 16% of construction waste is recycled in South Africa (NWIBR).
Trends and forces for change
The green building movement is being spearheaded by the CSIR and the Green Building Council of South Africa, the latter having set up rating tools that award points for, amongst other green building aspects, resource efficiency for designs which reduce waste.
Construction waste emanates due in some part to inconsiderate design, construction, maintenance, renovation and demolition, as well as supplier considerations such as packaging. Intelligent design and best practices during each phase can significantly reduce waste.
Architects and engineers have a very significant opportunity to affect the waste generated through the life cycle of a building by determining the method of construction and the materials specified. From simple strategies like utilising building rubble onsite as fill for instance, or reusing items from demolished buildings such as wooden window frames, by specifying materials with recycled content, and adopting strategies and building methods geared to dismantling and designed for deconstruction – design affects everything, and with careful planning and consideration given to waste and reusing materials at concept stage, much waste to landfill can be avoided. An example of this is modular construction.
It is also very important at design stage to consider how the building is going to manage operational waste while the building is occupied – sufficient space will be required for recycling storage and sorting, as well as the access to various floors and of course for collection.
At a waste management level, there are a number of best practices to ensure maximum recyclability of materials on site:
- Make this consideration a key performance criterion when appointing contractors
- Set targets for % of waste not to go to landfill (refer to Green Star SA for achievable best practice)
- Have a waste management plan drawn up according to best practice prior to beginning the project(ie. Part of the tender/brief document)
- Have correctly marked skips for certain waste streams
- Ensure that the correct paper work is filed for all items removed from site
- Safe disposal tickets for hazardous waste must be kept
Keep a monthly and overall project reports of all waste and at the conclusion of the project –confirm whether targets are being achieved
There are many great examples of achieving excellent standards in construction waste management, one of these was the first Green Star SA certified project in South Africa, the Nedbank Phase II building in Sandton – in 2008 the contractor was initially concerned about the high standards set within Green Star SA for waste diverted from landfill (30, 50, or 70% of construction waste). By the end of the project, with the good waste management programme they employed, they were surprised at the incredible success – they were able to divert over 90% of their construction waste from landfill. This is a significant achievement, and is replicable across all construction projects by implementing good waste management programmes.
Product and Material Suppliers suppliers have huge potential to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Many suppliers could provide their materials to site in a way that requires less or no ‘packaging’, or packaging that is recyclable, and also ensure that their contract with the construction contractors is such that their packaging is returned to them directly for recycling or reuse. ‘Packaging’ is a significant waste source. (Packaging refers to anything that is not the actual material that will be used and left installed on site.) Besides the ‘packaging’ referred to, the product suppliers are also responsible for a significant amount of waste at their own factory or storage houses – the contractors and design team can have a significant influence on the downstream waste impacts by contracting only with suppliers that minimise their waste production and maximise recycling and reuse of waste.
The building in operation
During the course of a buildings life it will require multiple new light bulbs, new carpets and flooring, painting, filling, stripping, windows due to breakages etc. Good building managers and operators can make the necessary effort to separate materials.
The Green Star SA rating tools will reward designers for making provision for separation operations within the utilities area of the building, and building maintenance would utilise these facilities for its waste streams. It is important to have both the space designed to store and sort the waste for collection, but also to have waste management policies in place for the ongoing operation while the building is occupied.
As the market places a greater value on sustainability, products with recyclable content become more sought after. Masonry bricks made from crushed aggregates, tiles made from recycled plastics, are just two examples of products gaining traction.
On the waste disposal side, costs are rising but it remains relatively cheap to dispose of construction waste to landfill, cheaper in fact than general waste disposal which costs R272.00 per ton.
As costs increase so too does illegal dumping, which poses an environmental problem, and municipalities need to consider increasing the penalties imposed on transgressors and to find ways of policing illegal dumping more effectively. Perhaps funds from increased charges for legal dumping can be directed in part to policing illegal dumping.
The construction sector has a massive impact and a commensurate opportunity to effect positive and meaningful change. Through a combination of product design and innovation, building design and methods, and through best practice waste management on site the sector can radically reduce the amount of waste created and significantly improve on the rate of recycling.
Source: Green Building Handbook Volume 6
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The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme has started delivering financial benefits to the South African power sector and the economy on the whole, a recent study has shown.
A study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) states that the 1.6 GW of wind and solar power capacity commissioned by the end of 2014 helped save more than $450 million. With the payments to these renewable energy projects through feed-in tariffs at around $390 million the net ‘profit’ to the economy from these project is over $60 million.
Electricity generated from 0.6 GW wind energy projects and 1 GW solar power projects replaced 1.07 TWh electricity from diesel-fired power plants and 1.12 TWh electricity from coal-fired power plants. Renewable energy projects have thus offset more than 2 million tonnes of CO2e emissions in 2014.
Under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPP) South Africa plans to source 10 TWh electricity from renewable energy projects based on a wide variety of technologies. Generation of this quantum of electricity would be generated from 3,725 MW capacity. The government plans to auction this capacity through competitive bidding.
1.85 GW of onshore wind energy capacity, and 1.45 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) power capacity will be auctioned by the end of the programme. Other renewable energy technologies include concentrated solar thermal, biomass, biogas, small hydro, and landfill gas.
The net financial saving of over $60 million is an excellent advertisement for the South African renewable energy sector which may see a further boost once the government introduces the carbon tax policy. Companies that would be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the carbon tax policy would be able to fulfil their obligations by generating offsets from renewable energy projects which, as shown by the CSIR, would bring in significant financial savings.
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Renewable energy has benefited South Africa, a study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has found.
The independent study by the CSIR found that renewable energy from the country’s first wind and solar (photovoltaic) projects created R8 million more financial benefits for the country than they cost during 2014.
The study was conducted against the backdrop of the Department of Energy running its procurement programme to expand the generation capacity in the country. It has already procured close to 4 000 MW of renewable capacity (mainly wind and solar) from independent power producers (IPPs).
According to the chief engineer at the Integrated Energy Research Centre at the CSIR, Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz, the study was based on actual hourly production data for the different supply categories of the power system.
“The benefits earned were two-fold. The first benefit, derived from diesel and coal fuel cost savings, is pinned at R3.7 billion. This is because 2.2 terawatt-hours of wind and solar energy replaced the electricity that would have otherwise been generated from diesel and coal.”
The second benefit of R1.6 billion is a saving to the economy derived from almost 120 hours of so-called “unserved energy” that were avoided thanks to the contribution of the wind and solar projects. During these hours the supply situation was so tight that some customers’ energy supply would have had to be curtailed (“unserved”) if it had not been for the renewables.
“Therefore, renewables contributed benefits of R5.3 billion in total (or R2.42 per kWh of renewable energy), while the tariff payments to independent power producers of the first wind and photovoltaic (PV) projects were only R4.5 billion (or R2.08 per kWh of renewable energy), leaving a net benefit of R0.8 billion,” said the CSIR.
“We’ve developed a methodology at the CSIR Energy Centre to determine whether at any given hour of the year renewables have replaced coal or diesel generators, or whether they have even prevented so-called ‘unserved energy’,” said Bischof-Niemz.
This CSIR methodology was fed with cost assumptions from publicly available sources, such as power utility Eskom’s interim financial results 2014 for coal and diesel costs, or the Department of Energy’s publications on the average tariffs of the first renewables projects, or the Integrated Resource Plan on the cost of unserved energy.
“Our study shows that in 2014, renewable energy provided a net financial benefit to the country. Without the first solar and wind projects, we would have spent significant additional amounts on diesel, and energy would have had to be “unserved” during approximately 120 additional hours in 2014,” said Bischof-Niemz.
“What is more, the cost per kWh of renewable energy for new projects is now well below R1 for solar PV and between 60c – 80c for wind projects. That will keep the net financial benefits of renewables positive, even in a future with a less constrained power system,” he added.
The CSIR is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa.
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