Miners, First Nations feed fodder to government policy wonks
Government needs to help encourage greater Indigenous participation in the mining sector if it wants to make progress on national reconciliation and to “unlock billions of economic activity” across the country.
The Canadian Mineral Industry Federation (CMIF) submitted an Aug; 14 policy paper at the Energy and Mines Ministers conference in Saint Andrews, N.B.
CMIF is a coalition of mining interests, led by the Mining Association of Canada and the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, who believe Canada can be a top supplier of sustainably-sourced minerals and metals operating within a low-carbon regime.
Since the mining industry is the largest private sector employer of Indigenous people, CMIF said government needs to invest in Indigenous health, education, skills training, and make progress on resource revenue sharing. CMIF suggests government use industry “as a platform” toward national reconciliation.
The coalition wants a more balanced climate change policy that curbs emission but enables the economy to grow. Onerous compliance burden on “emissions-intensive” industries like mining will lead to mineral production moving to countries with “less stringent climate change policies.”
On the regulatory side, CMIF is asking for processes – from initial stage environmental assessment to the permitting stage – that are “effective, timely and coordinated” if Canada wants to be viewed as a favourable place to invest.
Before withdrawing land and walling off highly prospective areas to exploration, government should have a “systematic and structured process” in place that considers an area’s mineral potential.
And because of the increasing costs of doing business in the Far North, the Canada Infrastructure Bank needs to support infrastructure projects that benefit both industry and Indigenous communities.
CMIF also wants government support in the proposed CLEER (Clean, Low-energy, Effective, Engaged and Remediated) Clean Resources Innovation Supercluster, led by the Canada Mining Innovation Council and the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation that would make Canada a world technology leader in sustainably-sourced resources.
“Canada’s mining industry, which operates some of the lowest-emitting, highest-tech, and socially-responsible mining operations globally, is looking forward to working with governments, communities and Indigenous peoples to get the foundational pieces in place to foster future growth and achieve our collective vision,” said Mining Association of Canada president-CEO Pierre Gratton.
Also at the conference were a group of Indigenous and advocacy groups who are urging the ministers to do more to protect the environment and communities negatively impacted by the industry.
“We’re not against ‘clean growth’ or ‘clean energy,’ but these must not be empty words,” said Jacinda Mack, a member of the Secwepemc and Nuxalk Nations in British Columbia, in a news release issued by Mining Watch.
Her community was negatively affected by the Mount Polley tailings spill in 2014. She is a coordinator of the First Nations Women Advocating for Responsible Mining.
“We’re here to alert the public and our governments that there are still serious problems with the way mining is done in this country and that there can’t be any clean growth or clean energy without first having clean mining,” she stated.
Australian Automobile Association finds fuel use on average 25% higher than claimed on consumption label displayed on new cars
New cars are using vastly more fuel on the road than in laboratory tests, raising further questions about the veracity of car manufacturers’ claims in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal.
The Australian Automobile Association-commissioned research found fuel use was on average 25% higher than claimed on the government-mandated fuel consumption label displayed on all new cars.
In some cases, they were 60% above the fuel use claimed on the label.
On-road noxious gas emissions from five diesel cars were found to be over the legal limit, in one case by up to eight times.
Two petrol cars were significantly above the limits for carbon monoxide emissions.
The research, conducted by technical consulting firm Abmarc, examined 17 new and commonly available cars in the past 10 months.
The AAA did not name and shame individual manufacturers, but said the cars were selected across brands, vehicle types and fuel types.
The 2015 Volkswagen scandal raised serious concerns about the truth of car manufacturers’ emissions claims. Volkswagen was caught installing software in cars that allowed it to game emissions tests in the United States.
That scandal was uncovered after environmental groups detected discrepancies between real-world emissions and those recorded in tests.
The federal government is currently considering tightening emissions and CO2 standards, effectively moving from the “Euro 5” to “Euro 6” standard.
That would bring Australia in line with international standards following years of lagging behind the European Union and the US.
The AAA is opposed to the government’s standards proposal, saying it will cost motorists without delivering any benefit to the environment.
It last week described the plan as an “uncoordinated process” that had no robust cost-benefit analysis.
The AAA chief executive, Michael Bradley, said the results of its latest testing showed the assumptions underpinning the government’s proposal were flawed.
“These results are bad news for Australian consumers looking for good information on which to base their car-buying decisions,” Bradley said.
“They also place a huge question mark over the fuel and cost-savings the government is offering Australians under its proposals to introduce tougher vehicle emissions restrictions.
“Our test results are a warning to Australians to take the government’s promises of fuel and cost-savings with a grain of salt, and expect those savings to be significantly less than what’s promised.”
A spokesman for the urban infrastructure minister, Paul Fletcher, said it was well known that pollutants emitted in laboratory conditions would generally be lower than on-road driving tests.
He said the way vehicles were tested for emissions was “quite separate” from the current question of whether car emissions should be changed or tightened.
“No decisions have yet been taken – the matter will be considered by cabinet later this year,” the spokesman said.
The cars tested had all driven at least 2,000km but no more than 85,000km, and were 2014 models or newer.
The cars were tested twice, from a cold start and a warm start, and were driven along the same route in Melbourne, which contained urban, extra-urban and freeway driving.
Bradley said the AAA supported reducing emissions and strengthening standards, but said policy must “deliver for the environment at the least cost to motorists and the economy”.
“The AAA and Australia’s motoring clubs again call on the government to update its modelling, undertake further public consultation and introduce real-world driving testing for new vehicles in Australia,” he said.
The federal government allows the use of test results from international laboratories for assessment against Australian standards. The government also audits test results.
The ministerial forum on vehicle emissions is considering how to reduce emissions from Australia’s vehicle fleet. It has released three papers for consultation, including a draft regulation impact statement on new fuel efficiency and noxious emissions standards.
Those impact statements included a cost-benefit analysis of the changes, which considered recent studies on the discrepancies between laboratory-tested and on-road emissions.
To address the discrepancy, the statements recommended adopting the latest standards, which introduce a more representative laboratory test and an on-road driving emissions test.
BMW i3, South Africa’s most successful electric car, will now be available in Avis’ Point 2 Point fleet in Johannesburg.
This is the first time BMW i3 will be available in the car rental sector in South Africa. Point 2 Point is an Avis service that provides customers a professional destination chauffeur service in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.
Avis recently purchased three BMW i3 cars for their Point 2 Point fleet and four BMW i8’s for their Luxury Fleet as part of their ongoing initiative to lower emissions and introduce alternative energy vehicles into its rental fleet.
Since its successful market launch in South Africa in March 2015, a total of 142 BMW i3s and 181 BMW i8s have been delivered to customers, making BMW i3 the most successful electric vehicle in the local market.
Internationally, the BMW Group has delivered more than 100,000 purely electric-powered cars and plug-in hybrids to customers worldwide. The BMW i3 alone has sold more than 60 000 units, making it the most successful electric vehicle in the premium compact segment.
“The local and global success of the BMW i models offers clear evidence of the growing interest in sustainable personal mobility. Achieving even greater market penetration of all-electric and plug-in hybrid drive systems depends not only on attractive cars but also committed rental companies like Avis,” says Mr Tim Abbott, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Sahara.
As part of the expansion of its 360° ELECTRIC portfolio for BMW i Home and Public Charging Services, BMW South Africa launched its first solar carport earlier this year, the first in the BMW Group.
“With the roll out of the BMW i solar carport, the BMW Group is demonstrating its commitment of shaping the future of individual mobility – not only with ground-breaking products and services, but also with the global as well as local involvement in the expansion of home and publicly accessible charging infrastructure for electrically powered vehicles. With innovative services like the solar carport, BMW is the first vehicle manufacturer to offer such a broad-based EV smart charging product to reduce costs for customers,” says Abbott.
By 2050 all buildings will have zero impact on the climate, thanks to a combination of energy efficiency measures and clean energy generation.
That is the vision of a major new project from the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), which yesterday announced plans to rapidly accelerate the trend towards ‘net zero’ certified buildings.
Entitled Advancing Net Zero, the project will initially see Green Building Councils from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Netherlands, South Africa, and Sweden work with NGO Architecture 2030 to develop net zero certification standards and promote building technologies and techniques that drastically reduce emissions across the construction and property sectors.
Terri Wills, CEO of WorldGBC, said the project builds on the commitment made by 74 Green Building Councils at last year’s Paris Summit to slash emissions across the industry by 2050 in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“The success of our ambitions to keep global warming to within 1.5 to 2 degrees will depend on our ability to advance net zero buildings – those which generate clean energy and produce no net emissions,” Wills said. “Net zero buildings will be a defining contribution in our efforts to tackle climate change. Getting down to zero won’t be easy.
“This will be a long and challenging road but together with the dedication and expertise of our Green Building Councils and partners, we can create a thriving market for highly efficient buildings and make net zero the new normal.”
In addition to supporting the development of ‘net zero’ certifications, the project aims to provide ‘net zero’ training programmes for building professionals and demonstration buildings that prove ultra-low impact buildings can be successfully developed.
The group is also looking to quickly expand the project beyond the eight GBCs initially involved.
The stated long term goal is to ensure “all new buildings and major renovations should be net zero starting in 2030, meaning no buildings should be built below net zero standards beyond 2030 [and] 100 per cent of buildings should be net zero by 2050”.
In order to meet the target, the group has also set goals to train 75,000 building professionals trained in ‘net zero’ practices by 2030, rising to 300,000 by 2050, and ensure all national Green Building Councils that operate certification schemes have a net zero tool in place by 2030.
Romilly Madew, chief executive of the Green Building Council of Australia, said the targets were ambitious but achievable. “We have strong and credible evidence that we can reach net zero in our built environment by 2050, while delivering healthier, more productive cities using technologies that exist today,” she said. “We have the skills, the technology and the knowledge. Now it’s time to take action.”
While Henry Ford never used the word “sustainability,” the founder of Ford Motor Company believed in its ethos.
Abhorring waste of any kind, he strived to attain self-sufficiency in manufacturing. He even pioneered experimenting with renewable materials such as soybeans — which the company uses as foam in all of its North American vehicles.
“Throughout the years, Ford has adapted to incorporate sustainability across its business globally,” said Kim Pittel, vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering at Ford, discussing a recent GreenBiz webinar sponsored by the American automaker.
This includes implementing processes that reduce carbon emissions, waste, water and energy use in facilities, incorporating recycled and renewable materials into its products and social responsibility in the supply chain.
The shift in corporate strategy is indicative of a much wider recalibration happening in the world of automotive manufacturing.
General Motors and Mercedes-Benz are both betting big on shared rides and shared cars, investing in or acquiring high profile startups in the space. Volkswagen, meanwhile, is still attempting to recover from its notorious emissions cheating scandal.
In response to evolving sustainbility challenges, Ford also recently decided change gears and redefine its focus, describing itself in marketing materials as an auto and mobility company.
“Ford is focused on using technology to find mobility solutions today to help make the world better for tomorrow,” said Pittel. “The company’s evolution is driving innovation in every part of its business as it focuses on how to best navigate global issues such as climate change, supply chain sustainability and human rights.”
A three-pronged approach to sustainability
Ford takes a three-pronged, integrated approach to sustainability, which spans social, environmental and economic components — an increasingly common corporate strategy as the disparate impacts of climate and environmental issues become more well established in the mainstream business world.
Dubbed “Going Further — The Right Way,” Ford’s sustainability strategy sets and works toward stretch targets to embrace opportunities that may arise from pressure to cut emissions or curb waste in the manufacturing process.
With vehicle manufacturing, for example, Ford has doubled down on ethical materials sourcing and sustainable materials development, along with zero-waste initiatives and closed-loop manufacturing. Likewise, the company recently announced a $4.5 billion investment in its electrification program, expected to result in 13 new electric vehicles to our lineup by 2020.
Auto sustainability beyond EVs
One result of Ford’s investment in corporate responsibility is Project Better World, a program that provides vehicles and services that meet the mobility needs of underserved communities. The initiative focuses on helping to bring access to medical care and supplies in rural Africa, as well as mapping remote areas and providing internet and connectivity in areas not currently covered.
“Project Better World is pilot program in South Africa and Nigeria, which unites multiple organizations to deliver goods and services to underserved communities using enhanced mobility and connectivity innovations,” said Pittel.
In South Africa, for example, specially equipped Ford Rangers will deliver health education, medicine and nutrition for 20,000 children and 10,000 adults.
Through its Nigerian partner, Riders for Health, donated funds and Ford Rangers will help train technicians to maintain vehicles to ensure medical professionals and supplies reach people in rural areas.
“Ensuring access to medical help is a key component of Ford’s vision for a sustainable future, moving beyond the environmental aspect of sustainability and fully incorporating social good as a pivotal value,” said Pittel.
Ford has installed a Ford OpenXC software analytics device in each Ford Ranger, which are referred to as flexible response vehicles, to collect location information, fuel economy, vehicle performance metrics and other important data that will be stored in Ford servers and shared with partners that leverage the vehicle’s services.
“We look forward to testing out new ways to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the vehicle and the services it provides through apps and algorithms currently in development,” said Pittel.
The key performance indicators for Project Better World differ for each pilot. Priorities for future project endeavors include monitoring and evaluation, bandwidth and connectivity, cold chains, reciprocal value and remote data collection.
The National Treasury yesterday released draft regulations that will allow companies to reduce their carbon tax liability by as much as 10 percent of their actual emissions.
The carbon offset scheme is part of measures South Africa is taking to reduce emissions since it voluntarily committed at the 2009 UN conference of parties on climate change in Copenhagen to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from projected “business-as-usual scenarios” by 34 percent in 2020 and 42 percent in 2025, subject to certain conditions.
The draft regulations, which set out the procedure for the use of carbon offsets by taxpayers to reduce their carbon tax liability, follow the publication of the carbon offsets paper in 2014 and the draft Carbon Tax Bill in November last year.
“Carbon offsets can be generated through investments outside of a taxable entity’s activities that results in quantifiable and verifiable GHG emission reductions,” said the Treasury. “The carbon offset projects should generate sustainable development co-benefits and employment opportunities in South Africa by encouraging investments in energy efficiency, rural development projects, and initiatives aimed at restoring landscapes, reducing land degradation and biodiversity protection.”
The Treasury said investments in transport, agriculture, forestry and waste sectors were likely to qualify for carbon offsets.
Climate Neutral Group, which provides carbon management services, yesterday said the draft regulations were long overdue.
The company’s country director in South Africa, Franz Rentel, said: “To ensure that a credible, diverse and liquid supply of carbon offset credits is available to the entities that will have tax liabilities as of January 2017, the ground rules and infrastructure needed to support an offset program must be finalised and articulated as soon as possible so that companies can maximise their carbon tax savings.
“We hope these draft regulations will encourage companies to start securing eligible carbon offsets, as demand will far outstrip supply in phase 1 of the tax (2017 to 2020). Furthermore, companies will only have until December 31, 2017, to utilise the carbon offsets from existing offset projects (which make up the bulk of the offset supply in South Africa).”
Rentel said that including carbon offsets as an additional relief mechanism under the proposed carbon tax would allow companies to access least cost mitigation options.
This would enable companies to save up to 20 percent on carbon tax a year.
“We also agree that only South African-based project credits be eligible for use within the scheme as this will hopefully boost the development of locally based projects and contribute significantly to the country’s socioeconomic challenges. That being said, it is important that there is clarity post-2020 in order for new projects to get off the ground successfully,” Rentel said.
“We also have concerns how the future South African carbon registry would function as well as the additional administrative burden of the scheme within the Department of Energy as well as others.”
Earn valuable CPD credits
The Paris climate agreement signed by 175 nations last month will not meet its goals unless climate-smart, energy-efficient transportation systems become the new normal in many of the world’s urban centers. To help make that happen, the world’s largest multilateral donor is proposing a new “global coalition” of world leaders to move the sustainable transportation agenda forward.
“We have reached a tipping point,” Nancy Vandyke, lead economist for the World Bank’s Transport and Information and Communication Technologies Global Practice told Devex. “Now it’s no longer a question of talking. Now it’s a question of moving into action and that needs leadership — senior leadership.”
This November, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport will expire and is expected to issue a final set of recommendations for policymakers. Recommendations, however, will not be enough to maintain momentum and continuity in the sustainable transportation agenda, according to Vandyke.
Last week, during the Climate Action Summit in Washington, D.C., World Bank officials briefed a number of ministers, city mayors, and private sector CEOs on the idea of a new “global coalition” of transportation champions that would serve to advance the transportation agenda beyond November by putting ideas into action, Vandyke told Devex.
The coalition, according to Vandyke, would include leaders at the national level, city level, as well as in the private sector willing to take risks and implement changes to transportation systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve efficiency and safety.
During briefings last week, “there was a lot of interest,” the bank official said, adding that it’s “premature to give any names.”
As far as the structure of the coalition, Vandyke said that still needs to be discussed, but that if adopted, it might include 30 to 40 members and could be mandated “at the very high senior level” by the United Nations or a similar body.
A single vision for sustainable transportation?
This latest Word Bank proposal comes as the global financial institution advances a new sustainable transportation framework called Sustainable Mobility for All, modeled in part after global renewable energy initiative Sustainable Energy for All, and designed to create a common vision and common metrics for changing the way people and goods move around the world.
Sustainable Mobility for All grew out of the Paris Climate Change Conference, according to Pierre Guislain, senior director for the Transport and ICT Global Practice, who added that one of the goals of the initiative is to position transportation as part of the solution to the world’s climate hurdles.
Installing new biking paths, pedestrian friendly city centers and more accessible public transportation systems are just some of what will be needed to effectively transforms the world’s transportation systems — initiatives that many cities are already taking steps to put in place.
But there is still a long way to go, according to climate and transportation experts. Nearly a quarter of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions originate from transport, and the number of cars on the road could reach two billion by 2030, according to the World Bank.
“We need to invest much more in urban mobility,” Guislain told Devex.
World Bank officials hope a common framework and a “global coalition” for the sustainable transportation agenda will help to provide some coordination in a sector that is crowded with independently functioning coalitions and initiatives.
The Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon, for example, was developed in 2009 to generate global support for sustainable transportation and reduce GHG emissions and includes more than 90 organizations including U.N., multilateral and bilateral organizations, NGOs and foundations. Just last week, the New Climate Economy, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities launched the Coalition for Urban Transitions, a coalition designed to make the economic case for more sustainable urban development and that includes leaders from research institutions, think tanks, and international organizations.
“Although there [are] a lot of initiatives and a lot of coalitions, somehow they don’t add up to achieve the scale that we really want, and that is a very big problem,” Vandyke said. “Because the issues and the commitments that have been made are so big that we can no longer work … in parallel.”
In the field of urban development, there are a large number of “institutions and partners doing duplicative work,” acknowledged Nick Godfrey, head of policy and urban development at The New Climate Economy, but those duplicative efforts are what make coalitions so important, Godfrey said, because coalitions help facilitate knowledge sharing.
As to the question of whether there should be one overarching sustainable transportation coalition of world leaders or rather several “more focused” coalitions targeted to regions of the world, Godfrey said that’s “an open question” and “a good discussion to have.”
Godfrey also underscored that the Coalition for Urban Transitions sees sustainable transportation as only one part of its mission, although a “fundamental element,” and he said he would, “encourage a continued push on the sustainable transport side” from institutions like the World Bank.
For Vandyke, uniting the sustainable transportation community under a single agenda is key.
“We need to agree on what the vision is and what the goals are. Then we need to map out how each of these players contribute to [those] goals,” Vandyke said.
Finding the right leadership
So far, the sustainable transportation sector has not achieved enough “top-down leadership at the national level, the ministerial level, [and] the CEO level,” according to Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resource Institute, who gave a lunchtime speech during a “transport workday” ahead of the Climate Action Summit last week.
Steer pointed to the education sector’s Education Commission, which includes high profile names like Lawrence Summers, economist and former Secretary of the Treasury, and Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group. Steer harkened back to the high profile efforts of former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other globally recognized policymakers to dramatically reduce maternal mortality between 2002 and 2012.
Steer raised the question: how many internationally renowned leaders are making a point to put sustainable transportation in the limelight?
“My guess is not very many,” he said.
Whether the World Bank’s proposal of a global sustainable transportation coalition is the answer Steer is looking for is still unclear.
The next step for Vandyke and her colleagues at the World Bank is to bring their proposal to the International Transport Forum at the end of the month in Leipzig, Germany, where they will continue to gauge interest in the commission. Then they aim to continue to develop the idea at the U.N. Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in October, the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties in November and the World Economic Forum early next year.
Coveted Green Star rating awarded ahead of World Environment Day
Pretoria, 30 May 2016 – The extension of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre in Pretoria has been awarded a 4-star Green Star Retail Design rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) for the substantial effort undertaken to develop their first building phase, on environmentally friendly design and construction principles. This forms part of the R2 billion redevelopment of the centre, which began in 2014. Due for completion in November this year, the shopping centre will become the largest centre in Africa, with over 500 shops and a trading area of 170 000m2 on offer.
Significant undertakings were implemented to achieve the rating for this phase of the development. Amongst others, use of post-consumer recycled reinforcing steel, ordinary cement in concrete was reduced by 30% through substitution with fly ash; more than 70 % of waste was repurposed; and cyclists are given dedicated parking bays and showers to encourage cycle use rather than emission-heavy alternatives. Potable water consumption in the phased section was also reduced by approximately 70% in comparison to a conventional building of this type.
“Using GBCSA’s Green Star Retail Center V1 rating tool, the extension of the centre was awarded its design rating, based on an independent assessment. This is a significant achievement for the South African retail sector as it opens the way for other centers to follow suit,” says Yovka Raytcheva-Schaap, Associate in the Buildings Unit of Aurecon South Africa. Similar to the Green Star office rating system, the retail center rating tool assesses the environmental performance of the building in eight categories, including management, indoor environment quality, energy, transport, water, materials, land-use ecology and emissions. The retail sector, however, has been lagging in the application of the Green Star tool for rating of projects in comparison to the office buildings sector.
“Given the nature and the size of the project, the certification process was time and detail intensive, which entailed us working closely with the GBCSA on a number of aspects to attain the targeted points in the various categories,” says Yovka Raytcheva-Schaap.
The design of the reconfigured centre includes facilities for alternative transport, preferential parking for fuel-efficient vehicles, and integration into the region’s mass public-transport system. “We wanted to reward our customers and tenants for using alternative transport,” says Marius Muller, CEO of Pareto Limited, owner of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre. “For example, we provided parking bays for scooters or motorbikes close to mall entrances to incentivise people to be part of our low-carbon-emission philosophy.”
The use of building materials that did not have a negative impact on the environment was vital to keep within the prescribed GBCSA guidelines. “We went to great lengths to source building materials in close proximity to the site,” says Neil Graham, project manager and CEO of Origin Project Management. “Great effort was made to source all material locally, which helped in lowering our CO2 and other harmful emissions from transporting the materials.” Timber had to be from environmentally responsible forests and reinforcing steel used in the project has high recycled content.
Use and disposal of waste was another key issue. “It was essential that waste from pre-construction and construction was either reused or recycled,” explains Graham. “We made mulch from wood offcuts, for example, while surplus building materials, such as bricks, were ground down to be used for landscaping or fill.”
Efficient water use involved several strategies. “The municipal water consumption had to be limited” says Raytcheva-Schaap. “And so we implemented a number of initiatives to optimise the water performance of the centre, of which the most notable are rain water harvesting system with extensive capacity and water wise landscaping. In addition, low flow sanitary fittings and metering of the major water uses for continuous monitoring contribute to reduction of municipal water use.
Other important aspects of an environmentally friendly building are access to daylight, connection to the external environment and air quality. “Many people don’t realise how instrumental fresh air is to your health and wellbeing,” says Raytcheva-Schaap. “We exceeded the minimum regulatory fresh air requirements set out by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) by 150%, ensuring optimal indoor environment quality which safeguards against any indoor air pollution.”
Ample access to daylight is made possible throughout the extension via the use of glass and skylights, creating a comfortable and health-wise building. In addition, paints, sealants, and adhesives with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOC) were selected in order to enhance the indoor environment quality.
Energy consumption had to be reduced by approximately 50% when compared to a reference building with design properties as stipulated in SANS204, which would also contribute to lower greenhouse-gas emissions. “We installed an energy-efficient heating, ventilating and air-conditioning [HVAC] system,” says Aurecon mechanical engineer Brandon Huddle. “The chilled water air-handling units run on a 100% full outside air economy cycle when the conditions are favourable and have CO2 monitoring for demand controlled outdoor air, which results in a massive reduction in energy usage by the building. Large fans and chilled water pumps make use of variable speed drives which allows only the optimum quantity of air and water to be delivered in order to meet minimum building demands, which reduces unnecessary motor energy consumption. Thermostatically controlled variable air volume dampers in turn deliver only the necessary quantity of air required by the shop based on the heat load which prevents over supply of air into the shops.”
Menlyn Park runs all proficient lights on occupancy and time controls, which are monitored through an integrated building management system, ensuring energy levels are checked regularly for any incongruities.
“We’ve made a commitment to reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink waste,” says Muller, “and this requires that at Menlyn Park we move away from traditional solutions that focus on waste after it has been generated, to a greener approach that looks at the prevention of waste, as well as minimising waste as a by-product of production.” To this end, a waste and recycling management plan (WRMP) was put in place at the shopping centre, to manage the collection, storage, treatment and disposal of all waste. The end goal is to recycle 57% of waste generated, which will ultimately result in diverting up to 80% of waste produced away from landfill.
“This project took the work of many dedicated people, and we are elated to finally see all our hard work and many hours of planning acknowledged by this prestigious Green Star rating,” says Muller.
About Menlyn Park Shopping Centre
Menlyn Park, situated just off the N1 highway to the east of the city, has long been the city of Pretoria’s premier shopping Centre. Established in 1979, it is a sprawling, four-level complex covering 118 253m2, offering a wide mix of retail brands, from fashion and food to electronics and homeware, as well as food and family entertainment.
For more information, please contact:
ANDREA DE WIT
Menlyn Park Shopping Centre
PR for Menlyn Park Shopping Centre
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With office buildings in Rwanda and Namibia both receiving 6-Star Green Star ratings, certified by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), green building is gaining rapid momentum in Africa.
In Kigali, Rwanda, the Nobelia Office Tower has achieved the very first Green Star rating in the country – a 6-Star Green Star SA-Rwanda – Office v1 Design rating for shell and core. While in Windhoek, Namibia, Emcon Consulting Group’s offices received a 6-Star Green Star SA-Namibia – Existing Building Performance Tool v1 rating, becoming the second Green Star certified building in the country, and the first to attain a 6-Star rating.
Commenting on these landmark ratings, Brian Wilkinson, CEO of GBCSA, says: “The pace of green building in Africa is accelerating, not only in South Africa but across the continent. Green building is a growing global movement, but its implementation varies widely by country and region, including the rate of growth in green involvement, triggers and obstacles impacting that growth and even the degree of benefits noted.”
“Africa has already made great strides in green building, and these are only its first steps in the significant green building journey of a continent bearing the brunt of the negative effects of climate change,” he adds.
Adapting Green Star SA tools for specific local contexts
The GBCSA’s Green Star SA rating tools were developed specifically for the South African context but are also a natural touch point for green building movements and councils in other parts of Africa. The GBCSA, therefore, seeks to work with other green building councils and structures like the African Network of Green Building Councils to adapt Green Star SA tools for specific local contexts – this has been done through what the GBCSA calls a Local Context Report.
So far, Local Context Reports have been developed for Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Namibia, Mauritius, and Uganda with the GBCSA working in collaboration with the relevant Green Building Councils to certify buildings in these countries.
In this way, the GBCSA is clearing the path for fledgling green building industries, like those behind the new Green Star certifications in Rwanda and Namibia.
The Nobelia Office Tower in Kigali, Rwanda has set its sights on being a leading green building in Rwanda and the wider Central East African region. The 19 storey tower will have 16 floors dedicated to office space, adjacent to commercial, residential, recreational and retail zones. It is constructed on previously developed land to prevent urban sprawl.
Manfred Braune, GBCSA’s chief technical officer, reports: “This project scored very high results in key areas of its rating, including energy consumption, water management, emissions and transport. It boasts several impressive sustainable building features.”
This includes the building’s ability to provide dehumidified fresh air, solar panels and on-site water treatment. Its façade is a tribute to the building’s green inner workings, with mesh that allows for plant growth and shading. The building’s waste management plan even includes an on-site composting facility to improve on soil, plant growth and biodiversity.
Lofty green goals
In Namibia, Emcon Consulting Group is leading by example. As an African consultancy firm that operates in the energy, electricity, building services and project management sectors, it set lofty green goals for its own office in the heart of Klein Windhoek.
Braune says what makes this project even more remarkable is that Emcon’s 6-Star Green Star Existing Building Performance rating submission was led by first-time Green Star Accredited Professional (AP), Emcon’s own Carina Muller, who achieved this in the first round of what is typically a two-round process.
Previously a private residence, Emcon’s office building’s green performance was boosted with a solar power plant, more natural light with daylight control, and an energy efficient evaporative cooling system that provides 100% fresh air – cooling and humidifying the hot, dry Windhoek air. This has helped make it 79% more energy efficient than the industry average. It has an intelligent energy and water monitoring system, a live on-screen energy and water usage display, and a Xeriscape Garden with an artificial turf putting green.
Wilkinson says: “The Green Star certified projects showcase world-class, innovative implementations that benefit people, planet and profit. Results in the USA, Australia and now Africa clearly show there is no significant difference between the costs of green buildings compared to conventional buildings. However, green buildings show the potential to achieve better investment returns and higher valuations.”
As the market becomes more aware of these benefits, the GBCSA expects green building to gain even more traction in Africa.
“Green building presents a compelling business case. Our partners, associates and Green Star certified projects have already started reaping the rewards of their green investments through lower operating costs, higher returns on their assets, minimised churn and increased productivity – all while doing their bit for the environment,” Wilkinson says.
Resident groups mounting a high court challenge to plans for a new wharf in Greenwich say diesel emissions from docked liners would breach legal limits.
Toxic fumes from large cruise liners powered by giant diesel engines will worsenLondon’s air pollution and could prevent the city from meeting its EU legal limits on deadly nitrogen oxide emissions, says resident groups opposing a new terminal.
Plans for a wharf in the Thames that would be able to handle 240 metre-long cruise liners carrying up to 1,800 passengers and 600 crew were approved by Greenwich council last July but are being challenged in the high court by residents.
Developers say that 55 liners a year, each weighing around 48,000 tonnes, would be expected to spend up to three days “hotelling” at Greenwich. Using their auxiliary diesel engines while moored, they would burn around 700 litres of diesel an hour for six months of the year in a borough considered a hot spot for air pollution.
Consultants have calculated that each ship would emit the equivalent of 688 heavy lorries permanently running their engines at Enderby Wharf in Greenwich.
But larger ships, potentially the size of the 12-deck high Crystal Symphony, may also be allowed to moor at Enderby and would emit as many diesel fumes as 2,000 lorries a day, say objectors.
“On top of the ships the port will need tugs, hundreds of taxis and service vehicles all belching diesel close to high-density housing in an already heavily polluted area. I am aghast. Greenwich is already breaching EU limits. The council must know that 10,000 people a year die from diesel fumes a year in London,” said Ralph Hardwick, a campaigner from the Isle of Dogs.
“The alternative is to supply clean onshore power to the cruise vessels rather than running filthy diesel engines. Yet the current planning permission does not require a cleaner operation. Nor has a health feasibility study been undertaken,” said a spokesman for East Greenwich Residents Association.
A spokeswoman for London City cruise port declined to comment pending the legal challenge.
The residents will argue in court that the council should have required the development to provide an onshore power supply for the ships. If so, the liners could turn their engines off while berthed. Instead, it accepted the developers’ argument that it was not “commercially viable”.
The legal challenge follows law firm ClientEarth taking the UK government to court for a second time over what it says are its repeated failures to tackle illegal levels of air pollution in London and other UK cities. Last year the supreme courtforced the government to rethink its plans to meet EU limits.
Concern about air pollution from cruise ships is growing as a new generation of mega-liners is commissioned and cruise holidays become more popular. The largest liners are now effectively floating cities, able to take 8,000 passengers and crew. Powered by some of the largest diesel engines in the world, they burn hundreds of tonnes of fuel a day.
“Air pollution emissions from ships are continuously growing, while land-based emissions are gradually coming down. If things are left as they are, by 2020 shipping will be the biggest single emitter of air pollution in Europe, even surpassing the emissions from all land-based sources together,” said a spokesman with Brussels-based Transport & Environment group.
Air pollution from international shipping accounts for around 50,000 premature deaths per year in Europe, at an annual cost to society of more than €58bn, according to studies.
In Southampton, one of nine UK towns and cities cited by the World Health Organisation as breaching air quality guidelines, up to five large liners a day can be berthed in the docks at the same time, all running engines 24/7, said Chris Hines, vice-chair of theSouthampton Western Docks Consultation Forum (WDCF).
Southampton is one of the world’s busiest ports for starting and ending sea cruises. “Pollution from the ships is leading to asthma and other chest diseases. The docks are the most polluted areas of Southampton. The pollution is getting worse. We are now getting more, bigger liners, but also very large bulk cargo ships,” said Hines.
Under EU law, ships must switch to their auxiliary engines and burn low-sulphur fuel within two hours of arriving in port until two hours before they leave. However, there are no regulations on how much NOx and particulate emissions they can emit.
Low-sulphur fuel has greatly reduced SO2, or “acid rain” pollution but not other toxins like nitrogen oxides, benzene, toluene and formaldehyde which are emitted in diesel fuel and can have serious health impacts.
According to the Southampton city council scrutiny committee, admissions to hospital from lung, chest and heart diseases are most common from polluted areas like the docks.
According to evidence given to the commitee by WDCF, the cumulative effect of up to 20 or more ships in port at the same time, including many large cruise liners with large diesel engines, was a major concern to the public. Incidences of lung diseases in the city and hospital admissions for respiratory diseases linked to air pollution were much higher than the average in England, it was said.
Emissions can be reduced by 95% if ships and ports are adapted allow ships a shoreside electricity supply but this is resisted by the industry on grounds of practicality.
According to Royal Caribbean, one of the largest cruise line companies in the world, only six out of the 490 ports that their ships visit have shore power.
In evidence to the scrutiny committee, Royal Caribbean said: “If Southampton were to explore installing shore power, it would be important to note that ships may not come equipped to use it. The European Union has stated that emissions reductions of only 1-3% of emissions are seen during a seven-night cruise during which a ship could use shore power at every port on the itinerary.”