Other Features > Opinion, research, Special report, Urban
Urbanist Rashiq Fataar from Our Future Cities explores how cities can move towards environments that promote real innovation in public spaces.
The new WELL building standard guides the way towards supporting employee wellbeing and shows how workplaces can improve health and wellbeing. Investing in the health of employees can yield a valuable return on investment since employee salaries are a significant cost of doing business.
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.
Climatic region maps are key to efficient passive building design. Two recent innovations redefine and update existing climatic maps for South Africa, and provide support for design using innovative building technologies.
Water is vital to life, yet it is often taken for granted. Many city dwellers don’t know where their water comes from or where it is disposed of – until something goes wrong. With threats of drought, water restrictions and “watershedding”, it’s worth reflecting on best practice for water management in building design.
Far more potable (drinking quality) water is used in buildings than is needed, highlighting that there is room for water use within buildings to be better managed without compromising creature comforts.
The measure of business success is changing. ‘Innovation darlings’ Uber and Airbnb prove this – a taxi company that owns no vehicles and an accommodation giant that owns no property. Innovation is not always reinventing the wheel. It calls for experience and expertise, and sometimes the biggest disruptions come from fixing a problem or improving something well-established at the right time. Where do we stand in South Africa, and what is the reality for green entrepreneurs in terms of challenges and opportunities?
If the vision for Two Rivers Urban Park is realised, this complex but promising concept will showcase a new, integrated way of building cities.
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.
Renewable energy advocates are determined to make good on the missed opportunities of the 2008 energy crisis and see renewable energy play a more dominant role in South Africa’s energy mix. The marriage of technological know-how and financial expertise is ensuring this happens, and doing away with the common objection that renewable energy is “too expensive”.
Floor and wall finishes rival ceilings and partitions for the greatest use of a single material (by area) within an interior fit-out. Some of the most significant environmental gains can be won through careful consideration of the floor and wall surface treatments.
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