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Deciphering Desalination

As conventional water resources are strained to meet the growing national demand desalination is increasingly being explored as an alternative. Severe drought in the Southern Cape between 2009 and 2011 fast-tracked the successful development of small municipal desalination plants to remove salt from seawater along the Garden Route. But to date, no large-scale desalination plants have been developed, largely due to high capital and operating costs. The evolution of technology and cost improvements are, however, positioning desalination as a strong future contender for South African coastal cities.

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Singular focus – Sasol place

Sasol’s new headquarters in Sandton provide unified premises for 17 of the company’s former buildings across Johannesburg in one dynamic sculptural groundscraper.

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Power Struggle – Understanding SA’s nuclear and renewable energy options

To encourage a broad understanding of comparisons between nuclear and renewable energy generation options, it is important to review the basics.

The key difference between nuclear power and renewable energy options is that nuclear uses highly concentrated energy, the release of which must be extremely carefully managed. Renewable energy, on the other hand, is dispersed and requires infrastructure to collect. This has led to a widespread perception that renewable energy is insufficient to support industrialised society, regardless of the actual extent of the resource potential, which far exceeds what humans could use. A study of the availability of solar and wind resources in South Africa by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) shows how the country could supply double its current electricity use from wind and solar power.

A difference that receives a lot of attention is that renewable resources are variable, with availability at any particular time depending on the weather, while a nuclear power plant is ‘inflexible’, being designed to run continuously.

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Multi-functional roofs

From solar panels and rainwater collection to wind power and rooftop gardens, roofs are steadily becoming more than just a shelter from the elements. Harnessing the elements and putting them to functional use, a roof is now an essential, integrated part of how homes and businesses function in the long term, and a platform for an off-grid solution.

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Driving the change – Dorah Modise

There is a new captain in the driver’s seat at the Green Building Council South Africa. With her impressive track record, Dorah Modise brings tremendous experience and a fresh perspective to navigate the changing landscape ahead.

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Beyond Buildings: Street level thinking in Braamfontein

New and proposed developments to the east of Braamfontein in Johannesburg are attracting investment and residents.

Two major routes form the focus of Braamfontein’s new energy. The first is the highly-anticipated north-south connection along Rissik Street between Park Station and its related transport activities, and the planned future Metro Centre Precinct. The second is the proposed pedestrianisation of Juta Street, from its eastern point adjacent to the M1 freeway through to Rissik.

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Innovation in public spaces

Urbanist Rashiq Fataar from Our Future Cities explores how cities can move towards environments that promote real innovation in public spaces.

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Blythedale Coastal Resort

The vision for the new Blythedale coastal resort, a luxury development on KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast, is centred on imvelo, a Zulu word for a collective responsibility for protecting the environment and living sustainably.

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The house that Bernelle built

A beautiful timber house, perched atop a hill, is an integral reflection of owner, Bernelle Verster’s passion for water and nature. The house, which has a nautical feel, cascades down the steep site like falling water.

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Unconventional building blocks – Delft ECD

In Delft, an impoverished township on the outskirts of the Cape Flats, local government is changing its approach to building early childhood development centres with a pioneering project showcasing a hybrid of natural building methods and up-cycled waste materials.

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