Bold and innovative
Started in October 2013 as an after-school programme, it has evolved over two years into a fully-fledged school for 45 children, with plans to eventually accommodate 200 learners. Melanie Smuts, CEO and founder of Streetlight Schools, says, “I started Streetlight Schools to demonstrate that we have all the resources available to create a high-quality, innovative education system in some of our most under-served communities. And we can do so by being bold and innovative about how we think about what we need in education, from curriculum to facilities.
The location of the school at ground floor level, adjacent to an open-air courtyard, provides both passive and active surveillance for a safer learning environment in one of the city’s most underprivileged neighbourhoods. The goal was to develop an interactive learning environment by creating spaces that would enhance the Streetlight school curriculum, with an adaptive low cost built form merged with the requirements of a high technology learning model. The result is a multi-functional learning centre that implements green construction practices as far as possible.
“One of our design philosophies is ‘low material, high technology solutions’, meaning that the energy spent on a project should always be focused on finding innovative ways of using readily available, environmentally friendly or recycled materials in a way that minimises wastage.”
Collaboration and contribution
To date, the entire spend on the 1,200m2 project stands at about R1,5m. This has largely been made possible through donations of funds and materials; and the pro-active collaboration of consultants in providing pro bono professional services.
“Jeppe Park Primary is the first school in South Africa to apply for a Green Star SA rating,” he says. “Because of this vision, the innovative educational model, and the fact that the school will be a living laboratory for green education and construction in the same space, people have been very willing to donate materials and professional expertise.”
Material donations include reclaimed carpet flooring that was originally made from old fishnets; low-VOC paint; reclaimed tiles; and reclaimed insulation material (produced from recycled plastic fibre) for thermal and acoustic application throughout the build.
Sustainability in practice
Several innovative measures, employed because of the extremely low budget, contributed towards the Green Star SA rating, and significant cost savings were achieved by ensuring that the design was inherently materials-efficient. This included using dry-wall offcuts, recycled wooden pallets and reclaimed wooden flooring in the library construction; bricks and rubble from the demolition of existing internal structures to build a new entrance ramp and stairs; re-using broken and half bricks as paving; and using reclaimed corrugated sheeting as ceilings in the bathroom stalls. All new OSB boards in the atrium construction were placed to minimise offcut waste to almost 0%, and all timber support beams fit at standard length to reduce wastage to almost 0%.
As the school is located in Jeppe, which is an area with much recycling activity, most of the materials could be sourced locally within 200m of the site. In addition, one third of the total construction team that contributed to the build lives and works within the surrounding area.
Energy and water reduction
Energy reductions have been achieved by using low energy use fittings and Energy Star equipment, together with the metering of all major energy sources; and water reduction has been realised with low flow fittings and the metering of all major water fittings.
Nature forms a holistic part of the everyday life at the school. As well as indoor planting and a courtyard with recycled palette planters, the school has started growing vegetables to supplement the children’s lunches.
In addition to the future roll out of more Streetlight Schools, the vision for this particular site is that the Africa School of Excellence Senior School will move in next to the primary school in 2017, and that it will follow the same model of green construction practices.
“It’s been fantastic to work with the Streetlight staff, professional team and donors on this project – people who are dedicated to making a real difference through their commitment to quality education for all,” Gray concludes. “It’s also been a tremendous learning experience in terms of getting things done with few resources on the tightest of budgets. We’re looking forward to being involved with the vision and roll out of future Streetlight Schools in South Africa.”
JOBURG – The City of Joburg, the University of Johannesburg and Resolution Circle want Johannesburg residents to start thinking green … again.
It is the new year and a number of companies want to hear Joburgers’ solutions to the environmental problems facing the world – so they’ve wasted no time in launching the second season of The Green City Start-up competition.
South Africa is currently affected by a number of environmental issues including soaring temperatures as a result of global warming and the depletion of essential resources including coal and water.
The Green City Start-up 2016 is calling on start-up companies, SMEs, and partnerships to submit their ideas in order to improve the City of Joburg and create a lasting solution to environmental issues.
Interested companies can enter with a solution to an issue faced in any sector including energy, waste, water, transport and building.
Adjudicated by an award panel, applicants with the finest ideas will receive R250 000 to develop their idea further.
Mentorship will be offered by Resolution Circle, an integrated training, research and development ecosystem which designs innovative, commercial and technology-focused solutions, the University of Johannesburg’s technology commercialisation company and the incubation hub where the ideas can become tangible prototypes.
Ultimately, the winner could receive up to R1 million to turn their idea into reality and improve conditions in the city.
Last year, one of the finalists of the competition was none other than the Isabelo Smart Bench, a smart wi-fi enabled bench which provides free wi-fi in public spaces in African cities, which is now a successful idea that has been implemented in popular areas around Johannesburg, including Braamfontein.
“What we love about it is that people can sit down, charge up and freely access information and share ideas online,” said Louise Meek, the entrepreneur and founding director of Public Access Consulting, the company which created and developed the bench.
The City of Joburg is adamant to make the city as green as possible and your great idea could contribute towards the city’s vision.
MEDIA RELEASE FROM GROWTHPOINT PROPERTIES
Young environmental innovators from the University of Cape Town scooped both first and second prizes in the inaugural Growthpoint Greenovate Awards, which recognise innovation linked to environmental challenges.
The awards programme is an exciting initiative launched by Growthpoint Properties in association with the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) earlier this year. It is designed to inspire and encourage students of the built environment to discover, explore and invent ways to live more sustainably.
The Growthpoint Greenovate Awards was piloted at the University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Pretoria in 2015. For its premier programme, students were challenged to come up with ideas that would result in a research project that promotes a more sustainable built environment. Their projects could be applied to any aspect of a building – design, development, planning, construction, materials – anything that makes the way we live greener and our environmental footprint lighter.
Werner van Antwerpen, head of sustainability at South Africa’s largest JSE-listed REIT, Growthpoint Properties, explains: “Everyone is a winner when innovation for a greener, healthier, more sustainable environment is nurtured. The university students taking part in the Greenovate Awards, and the winners in particular, presented pioneering projects. Their smart and inspiring thinking shows how we can drive green building thinking forward, to ensure a better, greener future.”
The winners were announced at a gala dinner at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice Melrose Arch on 26 November 2015, with keynote speaker, well-known innovator and business leader, Michael Jordaan, who is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Montegray Capital. Groups from each of the participating university competed internally first, with the two top projects from each chosen as the six finalists.
The first ever winners of the Greenovate Awards are the UCT team of Rowan McKenzie, Dijon Ross and Miekie van der Merwe, with supervisor Saul Nurick. They focused on the role of the IPD Green Property Indicator in the South African property market.
This team of outstanding young green innovators took home R30,000 in prize money. They will also be fully sponsored to attend the GBCSA’s Green Building Convention in 2016. Here they will present their research project to property professionals and green leaders from around the country and across the continent. They will also be treated to green building tours to get an insider’s perspective on some of South Africa’s most innovative green buildings.
The UCT team taking second place, supervised by Dr Kathy Michell, comprised Alex Demetrious, Daniel Searle and Ken Toplis. They examined urban facilities management and the development of a sustainability rating tool for urban precincts. These students used the Central City Improvement District (CCID) of Cape Town as their case study. The team earned a prize of R8,000 for their insightful project, as well as tickets to the Green Building Convention in 2016. They will join the winning team on the green building tours.
The third placed group of young green thinkers came from University of the Witwatersrand. The team included Amy McGregor, Thabo Mthuthu and Wardah Peters, and was supervised by Dr Dave Root. This group of Wits students researched an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) Framework to improve sustainability and green building practice in the construction industry. They won R2,000, tickets to the Green Building Convention 2016 and a place on the green building tours.
Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA, who was also one of the competition judges says: “The award entries were all of an outstanding calibre. They show an exciting new wave of green thinking. Equally inspiring is the exposure that the many property, construction and quantity surveying third year and honours level students are getting to green building principles as a result the Growthpoint Greenovate Awards Programme. By learning about green building and sustainability early in their careers, the positive impacts this next generation of property professionals will have on our urban environment will benefit all South Africans hugely.”
Wilkinson was joined on the judging panel by Neil Gopal, CEO of the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA), Moeketsi Thobela who is CEO of the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) and Technical Director for Buildings at Aurecon, Martin Smith.
For Greenovate Award participants the benefits go well beyond winning a prize. The programme provides students with an opportunity to work with leading green building thinkers in Greenovate workshops with industry professionals.
Van Antwerpen says the success of this year’s competition will see the awards programme becoming much bigger in coming years. “Based on the positive response from the universities, this programme to recognise and encourage environmentally innovative thinking among South Africa’s future property leaders is poised to grow.”
Ultimately, the Growthpoint Greenovate Awards programme will be made available to all universities in the country with the appropriate built environment faculties.
Growthpoint Properties Limited
Werner van Antwerpen, Head of Sustainability
Tel: 011 944 6282
The United Arab Emirates likes to be first when it comes to amazing feats of construction and technology, and architecture in Dubai is constantly pushing the envelope. The world’s tallest building already towers over Dubai’s skyline, and now the city is planning to build the world’s first fully 3D-printed office building. It’s a cool, space-age structure that will save a bundle on construction costs and material waste.
The office building will take just a matter of weeks to construct. The overall structure won’t be that big in terms of scale, covering just 2,000 square feet (186 square meters), but it’ll be huge for the 3D-printing history. The building will be the world’s first fully-functional 3D-printed office building, and will serve as operations headquarters for the recently opened Museum of the Future, which is located nearby the building site and also features 3D-printed components. The office building will be printed one layer at a time by a 20-foot-tall 3D printer, and then assembled onsite. What’s more, all of the furniture, fixtures, detailing, and structural components will also be 3D-printed, making this endeavor the most ambitious 3D-printing project in architectural history.
The project represents the combined efforts of Dubai and WinSun Global – a joint venture between Chinese 3D-printing technology firm WinSun and international investors; leading global architecture and engineering firms Gensler, Thornton Thomasetti, and Syska Hennessy are also involved in the delicate process of making 3D-printed architecture history.
Related: The World’s first floating private islands get the green light in Dubai
Although 3D-printed building technology is still somewhat new, many in the industry are looking to 3D printing to speed up construction times, lower costs, and reduce material waste. Production times can be cut by as much as 50 to 70 percent, while 3D printing can reduce labor costs by 50 to 80 percent, according to experts. These techniques can also eliminate up to 60 percent of construction waste, making 3D printing a viable environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional building methods.
Planners haven’t announced when the 3D-printed office building will be constructed, but since the whole process will only take a few weeks, we hope to hear it will happen soon. Check back for updates, as we’ll definitely be watching this historic project closely and curiously.
The University of Cape Town is building a new lecture space that can accommodate 400 students in one auditorium.
The highly anticipated state-of-the-art building will help with the courses with a large number of enrolled students. The construction of this new lecture theatre started in November last year and is expected to be completed by April next year.
The lecture venue will be constructed on the vacant site south of the Humanities Graduate School building.
In keeping with the building’s aim to get a four-star green rating, the demolition of the existing house there included the recycling and rehabilitation of what was demolished.
Besides the venue supplying a new 400-seater lecture theatre it will also be a much-needed social space and a gateway to the southern end of the university campus.
The venue will include outdoor and indoor social spaces. It will also accommodate video recording of lectures for remote learning, video conferencing allowing four cameras, showing of full-length films from a single data projector and voice reinforcement for presenters
Chris Briers, director of projects and capital works, properties and services, says the lecture venue, an auditorium, will announce the corner of University Avenue.
Not only will this new lecture theatre benefit the students, it will be a bookable venue for use by others.
It is expected that the venue will be fully operational by the start of the second semester in July next year.
This venue is additional to the pool of venues and does not replace any venue.
“The construction of it was recommended early in 2010 as an urgent need was identified for a lecture venue to accommodate courses with large enrolments, without the need to split the courses,” added Briers.
Though a lot of work needs to be done, nothing will affect the environment and not a lot of changes will be done.
However, the trees that fall within the footprint of the new building will be impacted. All yellowwood and wild olive trees will be retained. Large exotic specimens, such as London planes near the old South bus stop, as well as the oak tree that resides on the corner of University Avenue, will be kept.
Thirteen new indigenous and exotic trees will be planted. This proposed row of trees might edge the southern boundary of the new lecture building on Madiba Road.
Nine trees that are on the alien invasive list will be removed. Nine more exotic trees will be removed, including eucalyptus, avocado and cypress trees.
One large indigenous wild peach tree will be removed, as well as a large coral tree. Although the coral tree may be viewed as valuable, it is too close to the wild peach tree and the new building footprint. A specialist has suggested that the tree has a wide branch structure and its branches and roots are intertwined with other trees and would therefore not be successfully relocated.
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Internationally renowned architect Tye Farrow told an audience in Sydney, Australia recently that there is a connection between architecture and health. “What if our health became the basis for judging every building and every public space?” he asks. “What if each of us – every person, everywhere – asked, ‘Does this place cause health? How does it make me feel?’”
Farrow lists 5 attributes every architect should have firmly in mind when designing a building:
- Nature: Incorporating materials that grow naturally and that let in natural daylight as it moves with time have been proven to stimulate the brain.
- Authenticity: Usiing designs that draw on things we know and stimulate our memories.
- Variety: Buildings don’t all have look the same. They can express the aspirations of the organizations they are built to serve.
- Vitality: Designs should come alive and activate spaces.
- Legacy: Creating designs that make a lasting contribution.
If the industry understood the health-causing potential of every building, every public space and every home Farrow says, then “dreary design and merely functional places would become unacceptable. Instead, people would expect optimistic design that encourages social interaction, pride in community identity, connections to nature, cultural meaning and a positive legacy.”
Farrow advocates for designs that focus not just on a sustainability, such as a building’s carbon footprint, but also on whether a space “causes health”, or allows people to thrive mentally, socially and physically. Farrow refers to those factors as “salutogenic” elements.
He points to the South Africa Health Center (right) which takes the shape of South Africa’s national flower, the Protea, and therefore serves as a metaphor for hope, healing and renewal. “One of the team’s goals was to demonstrate what can be done in a tangible way to move beyond minor improvements in achieving a healthier population. On a global scale, the design will serve as a ‘leapfrog model’ that opens the eyes of decision-makers,” Farrow explains.
In recent years, expectations for environmental impact have been expanded to include awareness for how physical surroundings affect our state of mind,” he said. “We believe that sustainable building objectives must embrace human health issues as well as environmental effects. This means that the public should expect design to make a holistic, meaningful contribution to their lives.”
When it comes to design of outdoor spaces Farrow says, “A walkable neighborhood…..has potential in enlivening a suburb, but distance, safety and access aren’t the only ingredients for a successful recipe – it also requires streetscapes that are not boring and repetitive but which attract local residents.
“This requires thinking about the visual and physical qualities that motivates people to create thriving spaces.” He points to New York City’s Highline Park (right) as an example of healthy design. The park is built on top of an unsightly railroad trestle that used to bring freight trains into Manhattan’s West Side.
One Farrow creation the embodies all of his design ideas is the tree house shown below that Farrow Partners designed for Eterra Resort. Who wouldn’t want to cozy up inside and feel at one with nature?
Source: Green Building Elements
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The Passive House Institute is known to have one of the strictest energy-efficient building standards in the world. What does it take to build your own Passive House, and how can you do it with healthy, high-performance materials? This is the second of a three-part series on the challenge of building a certified Passive House without foam or other harmful materials. The challenges are numerous—from sourcing materials to making it as airtight as possible, and keeping an unseasoned team (and myself) on task. For healthy materials, simple substitutes for traditional products are not only typically easy but also cost effective. Take a look at what it takes to build a Passive House in the Colorado Rockies.
Carefully keeping the surrounding Ponderosa Pines safe, which provide critical shading in the summer, we dug out a foundation stem wall and crawl space, a design that is critical to the foamless flooring insulation system. Not only does this minimize the concrete use but 20 percent of the cement was replaced with fly ash.
To do air sealing right you almost have to find religion and be obsessed with making sure that every place where two building elements come together is properly sealed, well before they’re covered. At the foundation, we applied a plywood “seat” for the I-joist to sit on and a similar detail happened at the wall-to-ceiling connection. Because the walls will be very well insulated, we used vapor open materials for air tightness so moisture does not build up in the wall over time. The air barrier is closer to the living space so water will not condense on it if it gets really cold outside. The ceiling and North wall were wrapped with Intello—a “smart” membrane that changes its vapor profile depending on the relative humidity.
Why is air tightness such a big deal? Passive House requires a leakage test of .60 ACH at 50 Pascals or less because leakage is a fundamental way a building loses energy, and allows mold-making, rot-inducing moisture into a wall. The building’s airtight layer is done so we can test it before we install windows, insulation, and all the other stuff that can cover a potential problem. We hit a respectable .45 ACH at 50 Pascals, or roughly the equivalent of 8 square inches of total opening in the entire envelope.
Next, it was time to make the insulation layer. The primary insulation material is Applegate cellulose, sandwiched with Roxul mineral wool batt on the inside and Drainboard on the exterior. We started with Larsen Trusses—basically a ladder like frame made from 2×3 supported by plywood scraps and wrapped in weed fabric to hold the insulation. The Larson Trusses were screwed to the exterior wall to make large bays, and a 2.3/8″ layer of drainboard was then attached to that. After not finding a competent contractor to insulate the bays with cellulose, I purchased a machine and got dirty, learning the ins and outs of properly filling a 24″ wall cavity so the insulation won’t settle over time. Overall, we installed 1100 25-lb bags of the stuff, which is just about an entire semi-load. The best part is the insulation is all recycled from nearby Denver and produced only 100 miles south. The mineral wool board, on the other hand, had to be specially made and shipped from a factory in Canada.
The Intus windows come from Lithuania, in their own container. While less than ideal, the cost and performance are untouched by any American window manufacturer. They swing inwards and can be placed so the exterior frame can be over-insulated to reduce heat loss through the frame. The PVC windows also are the largest compromise by far from my unhealthy materials list because it is highly toxic to manufacture and very hard to recycle.
Another vital Passive House technology is the Heat Recovery Ventilator. This technology uses two fans: one to extract bad air, and one to provide fresh air. A heat exchanger keeps the energy in the building, and if hooked up to an earth tube the house can be naturally cooled in the summer. The unit I selected was the first in the US from a Czech Republic manufacture called Air Pohoda. It uses an a stingy 32 watts in regular mode (important for being off grid) and is over 90 percent effective at reclaiming waste heat.
In the meantime, the energy model seemed to go haywire when new climate data was entered. I find some interesting issues when I went sleuthing for what happened. Finishes such as siding, drywall, finish plumbing, and electrical all have to be installed—the punch list never seems to end. In the last installment of this series, I’ll discover if it’s possible to live in a house in Colorado in wintertime with no working heat, and after doing the Passive House Planning Package software modeling for myself I get a huge surprise. We do the final blower door test with fingers crossed, and I decide to submit to the Passive House Academy for the German certification and forgo the Passive House Institute US certification. Ironically, I was the first to report on the US-German split in 2011, and that news became a very personal journey.
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A home that comes close to being Net Zero is highly sustainable just based on that alone, but Reclaimed Modern house designed by architecture firm Dwell Developments goes a step further, as it is also constructed from reclaimed wood, concrete and metal. It is located in the Columbia City area of Seattle, Washington.
The Reclaimed Modern home measures 3,140 square feet (290 square meters), has four bedrooms, a separate garage, and a spacious rooftop deck. It was built primarily from materials with a high amount of recycled content, while they also reused lots of materials collected from demolition sites of older buildings.
These repurposed building materials include metal and wood from a deconstructed barn in the nearby Willamette Valley. The corrugated metal they collected from this barn was turned into exterior cladding of the house, as well as to build the garden fence. The overhang above the rooftop deck was made from repurposed barn wood. The builders also used repurposed concrete for the pathway leading to the home, and they reclaimed this from a removed public sidewalk.
Reclaimed Modern home is fitted with a 7.29 kW rooftop mounted solar array, which the designers hoped would be enough to give this home a net zero level of energy consumption. Since it has only been lived in for a short time, there is no actual data to show whether they have succeeded. But the home has a HERS score of 15, which is excellent and the designers are also planning on adding another 4 kW of solar panels , which should bring this score to 0.
The builders also applied Enviro-Dri coating to the exterior of the home, which forms a weather-resistant barrier and seals the building against moisture. The home was also fitted with triple-glazed windows, while a blower test revealed wall airtightness to be at 2.5 at 50. The house took nine months to complete and was finished in October 2014.
Source: Jetson Green
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The Passive House Che has recently been built in a forest in Romania and is currently still being evaluated to receive the Passive House standard certification. As such, it is of course equipped with all sorts of sustainable features, which also include an indoor lawn. It was designed by the local firm Tecto Architectura.
The main aim of the project was to create a sustainable, two-story home which would blend into its forest surroundings. The house is bigger than one has come to expect from a sustainable building, and measures 2,700 square feet (250 square meters). The living quarters are built around a central courtyard, which is where the interior lawn is located. Over this lawn hangs an aptly named “net-lounge”, which is basically a large net hammock suspended over the courtyard where the inhabitants can relax. The home was also fitted with large floor to ceiling windows and doors which let in plenty of natural daylight and offer great ventilation.
Source: Jetson Green
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