Entries now open for the 2017/18 Afrisam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation

Practitioners passionate about contributing to a better future for all are invited to enter the 2017/18 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation

This prestigious biennial award, founded by AfriSam and the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA), recognise the contributions that bring sustainable innovation to human living environments through an integrated approach to communities, planning, design, architecture, building practice, natural systems and technology.

“This award recognises the importance of ‘green’ building in a palpable way while enabling us to highlight and commend excellence shaping our communities for livable sustainability,” says Maryke Cronje, SAIA President and convenor for the 2017/18 Award.

As co-founder and sponsor of the Award, leading construction materials producer, AfriSam, continues its partnership with SAIA in bestowing the Award.

Apart from recognising excellence in Sustainable Architecture and Research in Sustainability, the Award also invites entries that make innovative contributions in the fields of Sustainable Products and Technology, and Sustainable Social Programmes.

According to Richard Tomes, Sales and Marketing Executive at AfriSam, the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation is a natural extension of the AfriSam brand and reflects the company’s commitment to sustaining the environment through responsible manufacturing processes.

“At AfriSam we believe in creating concrete possibilities. This extends far beyond just the products that we manufacture. We believe that through responsible and sustainable business practices today, we are creating a future of possibilities for our children and their children,’ he says.

Entries for the 2017/18 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation close at 00:00 on March 24 2018 and will be accepted in four categories:

  • Sustainable Architecture
  • Research in Sustainability
  • Sustainable Products and Technology, and
  • Sustainable Social Programmes

Project entries should demonstrate how they embody sound sustainable practices, that bear the hallmarks of great architectural or social design and innovative thinking in the field of sustainability, to improve our world.

The adjudicators for the 2017/18 AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation are Maryke Cronje (architect and President of the SAIA), Dr Sechaba Maape (sustainability architecture academic and architect), Philippa Tumubweinee (academic and co-founder of IZUBA INafrica Architects), Niraksha Singh (AfriSam Raw Materials and Sustainability Manager), Emmanuel Nkambule (academic with particular interest in the social environment) and Richard Stretton (founder of architecture and furniture design studio Koop Design). Stretton received the 2010 and 2014 Afrisam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture and a 2014 Merit Award.

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Innovative fit-out boosts ‘green’ status of GE Africa Innovation Centre

Leading architecture, interior design, and space-planning practice Paragon was tasked by GE Global Properties to design and fit-out the GE Africa Innovation Centre (GEAIC), the first green- and LEED-certified GE building in Sub-Saharan Africa.

GE opened its first African-based innovation centre in Johannesburg in June 2016 as part of its investment in developing home-grown solutions for Africa. The R80 million facility is the twelfth GE Innovation Centre globally. It is home to GE’s innovation focus across Africa, within its key business sectors of healthcare, aviation, energy, oil and gas, power, and transportation.

“A holistic view was adopted for the building. We have arrived at a stage of sustainable design internationally, with the minimum level being quite high. Being more than the sum of its parts, the overall fit-out aims to achieve substantially over and above this minimum level,” Paragon Interface Director Claire D’Adorante elaborates.

“The vision was to provide accessibility to a healthy environment and internalise this in the workplace, promoting an integrated and balanced health- and wellness-driven work environment,” D’Adorante comments. ‘Green’ features include an intelligent building-monitoring system, live on-screen energy/waste and water usage reports, and a world-class VRV air-con system, incorporating high levels of fresh air input and heat recovery systems.

The building aims to operate more efficiently than the market average, featuring Xeriscaped gardens and water-efficient planted walls, occupancy-controlled lighting, substantial external views for occupants, acoustically-tested and -designed environments, and efficient water usage.

D’Adorante explains that, in order to be an Innovation Centre, it had to prescribe to global and local best practice towards a more sustainable built environment. The building is currently under evaluation for a Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) Green Star 5 Interior As Built rating and LEED Gold As Built.

“We combined international best practice and localised products in a LEED/GBCSA rated interior, while tying this back to the overall narrative concept, facilitating GE’s high-performance criteria and brand dynamics,” D’Adorante stresses.

The fit-out was designed to be a dynamic and versatile multi-floor space, with innovative and mobile structural elements and furniture. The flexible environment fluidly facilitates collaboration, interaction, and innovation for all users. Conceptually the space is informed by an African geometric design language, drawn from African settlements, fabrics, and surfaces.

These include abstracted circular, angular, and linear fractal elements, integrated into the structural and aesthetic elements of the Innovation Centre to create a uniquely African, yet global, contemporary corporate spatial design.

As the building and fit-out are still relatively new, constant training and user outreach is being undertaken by the facilities team to establish a set user guide. “Common teething issues are more pronounced in the more mechanical systems with regard to user comfort and system usage, as these not only have to provide for all other use cases, but still need to meet the sustainability goals set out,” D’Adorante highlights.

The overall thought process of the design focused on the use of environmentally-sound materials, acoustics, flexibility, ergonomics, visual comfort, waste management and water/electricity reduction in the appliance/technology used. The engineering teams and various sub-contractors (HVAC, electrical, wet services) aided the process with regard to specifying and systematising all the elements necessary for high internal air quality, lighting, and thermal comfort.

The close collaboration between the architect, client, and professional team, including the Green Star and LEED consultant, guided the process. In addition, main contractor TSK Bartlett also strived to use certified adhesives and sealant products, for example. “We also targeted some elements in the socio-economic category,” D’Adorante reveals.

For example, the demountable and glazing supplier sent out specialised technicians from Europe to train the local installation teams on its bespoke products, and their installation, maintenance, and functionality. Additional specialised training included the ceiling contractors on the high-performance ceiling materials used.

Functional spaces include a publicly-accessible Ground Floor with a health-focused work café and digital exhibition centre, collaboration zones, and outdoor collaboration area. The restricted-access first floor is devoted to permanent tenanting, and incorporates agile workspaces and a fully-equipped GE Africa Healthcare training centre. The top floor includes a flexible learning and development centre, collaboration rooms, and multi-disciplinary laboratory. The basement parking includes, showers, bicycles and green leaf vehicles.

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Source: theprojectmanager

New Discovery Head Office Is Certified Green

The new Discovery global headquarters in Sandton Central has become the largest new build project to receive a 5 Star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) to date.

Developed in a joint venture by two of South Africa’s leading property companies, Growthpoint Properties Limited and Zenprop Property Holdings, the iconic new 112,000sqm resource-efficient, cost-effective and environmentally-innovative Discovery head office is the largest single-phase commercial office development in Africa.

From its design to construction and operation, sustainable development has been a key priority for Discovery, Zenprop and Growthpoint.

Growthpoint Properties Office Division Director, Rudolf Pienaar, comments: “We are thrilled with the 5 Star Green Star certification achieved for this development, especially considering its scale and complexity. The new Discovery head office is now among the most environmentally sustainable and efficient buildings in South Africa. Green building plays a key role in providing spaces in which businesses can thrive. We are incredibly proud to be part of the creation of the new global headquarters for Discovery in a building that is both spectacular and sustainable.”

Zenprop Property Holdings CEO, James Tannenberger, says: “This is a significant milestone for Zenprop, especially considering our long history of delivering sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings across all sectors of the property market. Zenprop has been involved with developing Green Star buildings since the commercial rating tool was first launched in South Africa in 2008, so we are extremely satisfied with what the development team as a whole has been able to achieve on a project of this magnitude and profile.”

GBCSA Executive Director: Certifications, Manfred Braune, points out: “It is the largest new building certified as Green Star to date in South Africa, which makes it an incredible achievement. A 5 Star Green Star rating for a building of this size would have been a challenge to achieve, and we congratulate the entire team involved in this remarkable project. The combination of low-tech and hi-tech is outstanding, ensuring the perfect marriage of load reduction through passive features with technology that ensures optimal efficiency.”

Aurecon is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the developers’ and Discovery’s green intent for the building. Their role has been to ensure it has been designed and constructed with the highest sustainability credentials to demonstrate leadership in the transformation of the South African real estate industry.

Features of the new building which have contributed to the rating include energy optimisation through the advanced design features of its envelope and building services. High-efficiency air conditioning that leverages an outside air economy cycle and indoor air CO2 monitoring. Added to this is low-energy lighting, occupant control and daylight optimisation, as well as the building’s standout high-performance double-glazed curtain wall.

The building is wrapped around a series of sunlit atria that plug into a central concourse. The design of the atria and skylights result in an abundance of natural light without compromising occupants’ comfort and energy performance. Grey and rainwater systems, efficient sanitary fittings, efficient irrigation system and water-wise landscaping contribute to the building’s optimal water performance.

Yovka Raytcheva-Schaap, the Aurecon associate for environmentally sustainable design consulting and project management for the project, points out that, most notably, the Discovery building creates an environment that is centred on occupants’ health and well-being.

Raytcheva-Schaap reports: “The design provides for an ample amount of fresh air, thermal comfort, daylight and connection to the exterior. A fully equipped gym, running track, yoga decks and multipurpose courts are set in the indigenously landscaped roof and encourage an active lifestyle, in line with the Discovery Vitality ethos.”

Aurecon’s Martin Smith adds that the expansive ground floor of the building accommodates Discovery’s retail partners, client services, walk-in centre, staff restaurants and coffee shops, offering an energising experience to both visitors and staff alike.

Smith says: “Upper floor plates, designed for activity-based working, enhance staff collaboration, enjoyment and business efficiency.”

Located on the corner of Rivonia Road and Katherine Street, diagonally opposite Sandton City and one block from the Sandton Gautrain Station, the building comprises three linked office towers which consist of a ground floor, eight office floors and a roof level, which holds Discovery’s sports facilities. It will also offer nine basements with over 5,000 parking bays.

Discovery is expected to take occupation of the property, which is owned by Growthpoint (55%) and Zenprop (45%), towards the end of this year.

Image: leadingarchitecture

Source: leadingarchitecture

The ancient technique transforming construction

Building new homes can be a time consuming, expensive process. In Africa, communities are going back to an ancient technique to build sustainable homes that don’t break the bank.

Since the year 2000, the Nubian Vault Association has been using masons with knowledge of the Nubian Vault technique to build roofs out of mud bricks as well as training up the next generation.

This is helping to reduce communities’ reliance on materials such as costly corrugated iron and sawn timber beams.

The bricks used by the association and its builders are made from local earth and water and then dried in the sun.

Houses with this style of roof are said to be cheap to make, retain heat during the night and remain cool when the weather is hot.

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“In ordinary houses cement and raw materials are very expensive and have to be brought in, they are not found in my village,” said Bassirou Coulibaly, a Nubian Vault Mason from Niéna, a rural community in the south of Mali.

Alex Dembele is national co-ordinator for the Nubian Vault Association.

“The advantages of working with (the) NVA are not only a reduction in construction costs,” he said. “The houses have a very stable climate all year round… (and) it also provides employment for the community,” he added.

According to the association, as of September 2015 380 Nubian Vault masons – in Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Benin, Ghana and Mauritania – had been trained, with more than 1,800 Nubian Vault buildings finished in 700 locations.

“Our slogan is: Roof, job, market place,” Dembele said. “The technology is in place to be able to pass these skills onto a great number of people,” he added.

The association says that 20,000 people have benefited from their buildings, with around 55,000 tons of CO2 equivalent potentially saved when compared to other techniques.

The association also states that its economic impact on “local economies” is more than €2 million ($2.27 million).

For Coulibaly, there have been economic as well as housing benefits. “Once I’ve finished building my house, I have other clients waiting,” he said.

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Source: cnbc

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Could this venture-backed zero energy house revolutionize the home building industry?

What if you could buy an affordable Zero Energy home that could be erected on your property in a matter of days, instead of the many months it usually takes to build a home on site? New startup Acre Designs promises to make this idea a reality, and could revolutionize the paleolithic home-building industry with their new, innovative approach to quick and efficient building using a kit home model. After receiving backing by Palo Alto startup incubator Y Combinator, Acre Designs is gearing up to start building Net Zero Energy kit homes throughout the country. They are on a mission to build better, more high-tech homes on a large scale that are both affordable and super energy efficient. And considering that the state of California is mandating all new homes to be Net Zero Energy by 2020, it seems that Acre Designs couldn’t have launched at a better time.

One of the most well-known startup incubators, Y Combinator has been around for a decade now and has been described as “the world’s most powerful startup incubator.” Their backing has the potential to catapult Acre Designs’ groundbreaking housing plans to the national level, and just in time, to meet the 2020 Title 24 demand.

In summer 2015, California revised the Title 24 green building mandate, which now stipulates that all new buildings by 2020 be Net Zero Energy. By 2030 all commercial buildings need to follow suit. With roughly 180,000 new homes being built in California each year, and almost none of them Zero Energy, you can see that there is a tall order to fill here, in the span of just four years. Clearly California needs some green building experts to help rise to this challenge.

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When Acre Design founders (married couple) Jennifer Dickson and Andrew Dickson heard about this new California law, they decided to pack up their lives, their business and their family of four in Kansas City and head to California to try to meet this new aggressive green building mandate.

We covered Acre Designs last year when they were still based in Missouri, and in the process of building a prototype outside of Kansas City. The prototype is now finished and is being lived in and loved by the Griffin family.

The Dicksons were actually originally intending to live in this cute 800 sq ft, prototype net zero energy home with their two young daughters, but the call of Y Combinator and the new 2020 energy mandate was just too irresistible. So, in January 2016, they packed up their family and headed for Palo Alto with a new goal of cranking out affordable, mass-produced Zero Energy homes to meet California’s stringent new goals.

Acre Design’s prefabricated kit homes can be assembled in a matter of days, using wall units called “structural insulated panels(SIPs) that snap together on site like LEGOs. Their first test home was just completed in December in Missouri at 860 square ft, with a 300 square ft loft. New homeowners Mark and Tammy Griffin had the farmhouse style one bedroom/one bathroom home built on their 40 acre family property.

The prototype Griffin home in Missouri is designed to be powered entirely by the sun – for electricity, heating and daylight. The house is oriented towards the sun, with south-facing windows soaking up sunshine to heat and light the home, and a radiant heating in the floor provides additional heating when needed. The home also utilizes geothermal heating and a Heat Recovery Ventilator and Mini Split to heat and cool the air. When photovoltaic solar panels are added to the home later this year, it will be fully net-zero, meaning that the Griffins will never have to deal with paying energy bills again.

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Acre Designs is currently offering two different design options to their clients; Series A (the pitched-roof ‘Modern Farmhouse’ style home, with two stories, similar to the Griffin home), and Series B (a single-story, butterfly roof style ranch house that has a more midcentury modern flavor to it). Both designs come in three different size footprints/plans; a 1200 sqft 2 bedroom home ($400K), 1500 sqft 3 bedroom home ($450K), and a 1800 sqft 4 bedroom home ($500K). We know many readers will look at these prices and ask, incredulously, “what is affordable about this”? The answer to this question is to consider the long-term value for the cost.

Until this option, Net Zero Energy homes have typically been very expensive, custom-built homes. Acre Designs is attempting to provide high end, precision-built, zero-energy homes, complete with solar panels, at about the same price it costs to build a cheap, leaky, inefficient stick-built house. And they’re also betting that economies of scale will help them lower the costs in a few years when they’re able to scale up their production. With Acre Designs prefabricated homes, you’re paying a little more up front for a quality product that saves money in the long term with no energy bills, and continual home repairs. Acre Design home prices include construction, appliances, and a photovoltaic solar system, and they’re also implementing a “Sleep-on-It” program: they’ll help finance a home if the owner plans to rent it out at least 50 days per year.

The first “Sleep-on-It” home will be built for a couple in Cannon Beach, Oregon. The couple will be listing the home on AirBnB for most of the year, so those interested in testing out an Acre Designs home will be able to do so right by the ocean.

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Source: inhabitat

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African Potash to continue exploration in Congo

JOHANNESBURG ( – Although it has, over the past year, worked to become a vertically integrated fertiliser business with an initial focus on trading and distribution, Aim-listed African Potash retains its interest in the exploration side of the fertiliser industry. Through its 70% interest in La Société des Potasses et des Mines, it held the right to conduct exploration activities for potash salts over the 702.5 km2 Lac Dinga project area in the highly prospective Kouilou region of the Republic of Congo. Although the initial three-year licence period had expired in December 2015 a renewal application had been filed and approval was expected to be granted in the coming months. While the project was still at an early stage of exploration, work conducted to date had returned encouraging results regarding the potential of the project area hosting significant potash deposits, with mineralisation characteristic of similar commercial deposits in the Congolese coastal basin.

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African Potash, meanwhile, said its transition into a revenue generative business with a captive, domestic and growing market for its product had been implemented after taking heed of investors’ attitudes towards the traditional, and often time-consuming model of resource companies, with initial exploration followed by lengthy development phases, construction and eventually production, with numerous equity raisings and dilution underpinning these growth and development stages.

“To mitigate the downside risk associated with resource development and to provide our shareholders with near-term value in the form of revenue, African Potash adopted a new approach to building a vertically integrated fertiliser business, focussing initially on trading and distribution,” said executive chairperson Chris Cleverly said on Tuesday.

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African Potash had signed a landmark trading agreement with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) to supply and deliver fertilisers to offtakers identified and introduced by Comesa.  African Potash added that it continued to implement its strategy to deliver near-term value through development of a vertical platform for the mining, production and distribution of fertiliser. “The size and scope of the developing agricultural sector in Africa is an area of overwhelming potential – forecasts suggest that the population of Africa will double to 2.4-billion between now and 2050,” said Cleverly.

He added that fertiliser contributed to 40% to 60% of global food supply.

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Source: engineeringnews

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“Another 5-Star Green Star SA rating for Aurecon in the Cape”

Aurecon, a global engineering consultant, has been awarded a 5-Star Green Star SA

Office v1 Design rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) for the company’s second office building in Century City, Cape Town. Aurecon’s earlier premises in Century City were completed in 2011 and achieved the distinction of being the first 5-Star Green Star SA rated building in South Africa.

“Aurecon is leading by example in designing and occupying green buildings for our own offices,” says Aurecon’s Cape Town Office Manager, Coenie Fick. “We are reaping the benefits of much lower electricity costs with more than 60 per cent saving, pleasant and productive environments, as well as an enhanced reputation as one of the world leaders in sustainable development.”

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Rapidly outgrowing their first 7 000 m² Century City office premises, Aurecon developed a second building that is connected to the first one by a sky-bridge. The new building is called Aurecon West. The versatile design of the new Aurecon West makes provision for the company’s continuing growth in the Cape region, comprising 4 700 m² of premium office space on three levels together with 3 200 m² of parking space on two levels. Aurecon is initially only occupying one office level. The remaining floors have been made available for other tenants to experience the benefits of a 5-Star green office environment. In addition, the lowest office level has been adapted for use as a third parking area, which will enable a convenient expansion of the office space in the future.

Continuing the successful project partnership established with the first Aurecon Century City offices, the second building has been developed by the Rabie Property Group for owners Ingenuity Property Investments. Aurecon was responsible for the engineering services and the Green Star rating application, assisted by Ludwig Design Consulting. MaC Architects were again involved with the design of the building.

Aurecon West was completed in February 2016 at a cost of R92.7 million. “The steep learning curve to address the ground-breaking challenge of achieving the country’s first

5-Star rated building with Aurecon East had the benefit of enabling a seamless delivery on Phase 2,” comments Aurecon Technical Director, Heinrich Stander. “This was also in line with the international trend as supply chains for green materials and technologies mature, and the industry becomes more skilled at delivering green buildings.”

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The power efficiency that Aurecon achieved for the Phase 1 building had a spin-off for Phase 2. With efficiency far exceeding expectations and the consequent reduced requirement for back-up power, it was possible for one of the two back-up generator sets to be relocated to the Phase 2 project. Another interesting development was in the approach used for water conservation and management. Instead of the rainwater harvesting system used in Phase 1, the new project exploited its access to treated effluent water from the Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Works. The effluent water is processed within the building to an acceptable level that completely eliminates the demand on potable water for toilet flushing.

Aurecon has accumulated first-hand experience of the positive return on investment achievable with efficient green building design. Phase I was the first green rated building in Century City and Phase 2 has become the tenth. “The trend doesn’t stop there,” claims Stander. “The cost-neutral and beneficial green design principles that Aurecon engineers and designers have experience in applying are also proposed for, and generally incorporated in, our ‘non-green’ rated projects.”

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Source: businessghana

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A Shipping Container Home With Solar Power: The Jagpod

The founder of Jaguar Containers, William Coit, has created shipping container homes with solar power systems and is currently running an Indiegogo campaign. Mr. Coit answered some questions about his shipping container homes for Cleantechnica.

How many square feet of living space does a Jagpod have?
The 20 ft. unit has 144 square feet and the 40 ft. unit has 300 square feet of living space. The 20-foot JagPods are easier to transport and maneuver, with prices starting at $30,000. The 40 ft unit offers greater value and more space, starting at $60,000. These units include solar panels.

What size will the solar power system be for a Jagpod, in watts?
2-4 panels, with each panel being 235 Watts, plus the mounting array, inverter, controller and 27 volt battery bank.

Will there be any energy storage?
Yes there will be energy storage to eliminate the unpredictability of energy off the grid.

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Is a Jagpod intended to be grid-connected or off-grid?
Both. Some of our customers will buy units that will be near a utility grid and it makes sense to connect them to it. For customers that live off the grid, we’ll use the standalone solar system.

Is your target audience in the US, abroad or both?
Initially, we are targeting customers in the US but our long-term goal is to sell units internationally. We have a global solution for third world countries that solves its housing needs. The JagPod can be built in 90 days and deployed anywhere in the world.

Does a Jagpod come with a warranty, and if so, what is it?
The JagPod carries a 10 year structural warranty. It offers great resistance to natural disasters, including resistance to winds of up to 100 mph.

Some shipping containers people buy for homes are used and need to be cleaned, sanded and painted. Do you take care of that for each one or your containers or do you sell brand new ones?
Yes, we do. We use both used and new containers for building the JagPod. Used shipping containers are certified that they are structurally sound, cleaned, sanded, and painted. Used containers are an excellent source in that we’re extending the life of the shipping container.

Can single Jagpods be easily joined to double the interior living space?
Yes, JagPods can easily be joined together to add more livable space to the home. It really depends on how much money the customer wants to spend.

Why are you launching a container home product with solar power…have you observed demand for it?
This is a fulfillment of a life-long dream of mine that started in college. Traveling to Ghana, West Africa, and seeing the need for structurally sound housing motivated me to find a solution. For the past 20 years, Europe and Asia have led the world in building container home projects. Within the last 5 years, projects in the US have taken off. Wherever an emergency disaster occurs, we would like to make JagPods available to help solve these housing problems.

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Innovative project uses energy efficiency to help the unemployed

Residential energy is saved and vulnerable gain skills through behaviour change project.

With a quarter of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK coming from the residential sector, there’s a need to find new ways to help households reduce energy use. While some of this is related to building condition and type, much is related to the way people use energy. In the last two years we have been working to tackle this issue in Wiltshire homes, and meanwhile provide a social benefit.

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The project, Achieve, began life in Frankfurt five years ago to address the combined issues of high fuel costs and rising unemployment. In Germany if you’re unemployed the state covers your energy bills, so an idea was born to tackle both issues at once. Achieve trains and supports the unemployed to provide energy advice directly to vulnerable consumers – often their peers – in their homes, resulting in saved energy, changed behaviours and meanwhile helping people reintegrate into the job market.

At Severn Wye Energy Agency, an independent charity and not-for-profit that promotes sustainable energy, we spotted the potential and with European funding partnered with Wiltshire Council to run a series of training programmes. The programmes provide advice to residents struggling to pay energy bills and, meanwhile, the local unemployed to gain valuable new skills. To date we’ve trained seven advisers, helped more than 200 families and, as a consortium, reached over 1,700 homes in France, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Germany.

Gary Hardman of Trowbridge, who first became interested in Achieve through his local Job Centre Plus in the summer of 2012 has now undertaken more than 100 visits, and said: “I had never thought of working in this area, but I’m finding it really exciting and I have already found loads of ways to save in my own home.”

Achieve involves two free home visits. During the first, the trained advisers assess the home including bills and areas where energy is being wasted. This could include: the use of tungsten or halogen lighting, appliances routinely left on standby, or draughty doors and windows. The adviser then assesses which of a number of simple energy-saving devices may offer the greatest benefits for the household based on their current energy tariffs, and critically what this will mean for them in financial terms. On the second visit, the adviser installs the most appropriate devices and presents a report outlining their findings – including the time the original investment will take to be repaid to the household.

Key to the design of Achieve was that we did not want to rely completely on the ability of people to make long-term changes to their behaviour in order to make savings. Rather, we wanted to show people some small savings that they could make by installing simple devices. Through this, people are educated about the cost of specific appliances and will motivate others to go further with their own behaviour change.

One particular device that has proved successful in the savings reached and in its acceptance by clients is the retrofitting of halogen down lighters with LED equivalents. Having limited funding, we were usually only able to install one or two bulbs – an array typically has between three and five bulbs, and some households have more than 10 50-watt bulbs. This gave the client the opportunity to test the technology and to consider the return on further investment. During return visits we were pleasantly surprised to find a number of clients, despite their limited budget, had invested in further LEDs.

We also focused on highlighting the cost of appliances on standby, such as obsolete and unused video-players costing over £30 a year. While the savings are quite modest for individual modern appliances cumulatively they can soon add up. Where funding prevented us from installing a device, we were still able to translate the energy use into monetary terms for the resident, and it is this translation that we believe is key. Combined with educational material and remote support, we caught resident’s interest and have seen them take further energy-saving steps themselves.

In some cases the project has been able to go further and help households to access funding toward heating and insulation measures. One client in Melksham commented: “Top service. Thanks to your report, our housing association funded our switch from Economy 7 storage heaters to full gas central heating, making savings of about £45 a week.”

Climate change discussions and calls to reduce emissions will only go so far, and with so many people. But innovative projects like Achieve demonstrate how behaviour change can be achieved through tailored advice and a focus on the bottom line.

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Source: theguardian


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World’s Largest Solar Glass Envelope To Supply Electricity At Copenhagen International School

Dubai-based Emirates Insolaire will supply about 12,000 solar glass panels to the Copenhagen International School in Denmark, boosting the facility’s production of clean electricity.

Emirates Insolaire produces and distributes colored solar glass and colored PV modules using what is called Kromatix technology. This technology allows solar PV to be integrated into the architectural design of all types of buildings, opening opportunities in terms for building aesthetics coupled with enhanced energy savings.

Demonstrate and sell product over three busy days

The company indicates it is expecting sales of 50,000 square meters of solar panels and 10,000 pieces of colored PV modules during 2016. The reason? This particular colored glass can enhance the effectiveness of solar panel.

“KromatixTM patented technology provides colored solar glass for both photovoltaic and thermal solar panels. The KromatixTM technology has been developed in close collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology [EPFL] and offers the only attractive alternative to the black and dark blue panels, without compromising on the performance, efficiency or architectural designs”

Construction for the school is now underway, with work expected to be completed in June. This project follows a memorandum of understanding signed between UAE and Denmark to boost cooperation in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability.

The solar glass system should produce about 300 MW/h per year, a total which is more than half of the school’s annual electricity consumption

In January this year, Emirates Insolaire presented its Kromatix colored solar panels and photovoltaic modules at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi. According to the manufacturer, Kromatix modules are capable of generating 170 to 190 watt per square meter for roof or 110 to 130 watt per square meter for facades.

Last year, Emirates Insolaire completed three colored solar installations:

  • 12 kW project on the façade of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s (EPFL’s) ELL building in Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 24 kW BIPV system in Basel, Switzerland
  • Solar thermal project in Satteins, Austria

Speaking with pv magazine, Rafic Hanbali said the completed projects demonstrate the advantages of the Emirates Insolaire’s BIPV solutions, such as less demand on horizontal required space.

“The same installed power would have required, if installed only on the ground or on a roof, an area 3 to 4 times larger,” said Hanbali. “This is, in addition to aesthetics, [demonstrates] the considerable advantage of our technology for the cities, which cannot offer enough ground and roof areas for their energy needs.”

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Source: greenbuildingelements

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