Other Features > Material, Special report
The use of insulation in South African buildings was not very high until five years ago, when new building regulations forced the building industry to take a closer look at it. Although producing materials that serve a sustainable purpose, insulation manufacturers could do more to incorporate sustainability into their overall operations.
Of more than twenty different types of earth construction techniques, rammed earth has been lauded for its durability, sophisticated environmental performance and striking earthen beauty.
As South Africa experiences increased pressure in terms of airspace in current landfills, the lengthy time required to license a new landfill, and the types of waste that can legally go to landfill, business opportunities are opening up in the waste economy. To tap into it, we need to see waste as a resource, not an environmental burden.
Green building is a space of innovation, and in its pure form, sustainable practice encourages the growth of micro-economies, both on-site and around the development of new technologies.
But in South Africa, for those who have innovated ways of building with natural materials such as stone, clay and straw-bale, the path to certification is a difficult one, and one that small-scale operators and start-ups often have not been able to survive.
Light Steel Frame construction has been used in the US, Europe and Australia for decades and the increase in its application in South Africa has been phenomenal. There is also growing interest in light steel frame as a viable eco-friendly building method in the wake of a recent local study that indicates considerable energy savings for heating and cooling, compared with an identical conventionally-built heavy masonry building.
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