• The TI driver IC offers flexibility in a number of areas ranging from the output voltage to the LED strings to dimming controls. Indeed, the target applications with extremely high LED counts demand such flexibility.

    The output voltage to the strings, for example, can range from 12V to 95V. The range allows the driver to work with the large strings of individual emitters or the broad array of multi-die packaged LEDs that manufacturers such as Cree, Philips Lumileds and others have developed with varying forward-voltage configurations.

    The dimming implementation is flexible both in terms of how the dimming settings are conveyed and applied. Product designers can control dimming directly using a pulse width modulated (PWM) signal generated by a component such as a microcontroller. Alternatively, a design can use a DC voltage level to control the dim level. The third option is a digital transmission of a series of data bytes that convey the setting.

    The dimming commands can be applied universally to all six LED channels. Or a design can group channels into two sets of two channels, and two single channels and apply different dimming levels to each.

    While six channels is sufficient for most applications with LEDs getting brighter on an ongoing basis, a design can cascade multiple LM3463 ICs to drive even more strings. In such applications, one LM3463 serves as the master and settings such as dimming levels are then passed along to slave devices using the serial data control scheme.

    The LM3463 also includes a number of protection features including LED open- and short-circuit protection, over-temperature protection, and under-voltage lockout. Moreover, a global analog brightness control implements thermal foldback, and protects the LED strings from high-temperature conditions. The IC requires external MOSFETs to drive each string.

    Single channel driver ICs such as the new Allegro Microsystems A6211 can integrate the MOSFET and still offer flexibility in terms of output voltage. The driver IC supports output voltages ranging from 6V to 48V to supply varying configurations of LEDs in a single series string or multiple parallel strings.

    Designed for consumer, industrial, and architectural lighting applications, a single external current-sense resistor allows the driver IC to be configured for the LEDs and topology used in a specific application. The driver supports dimming via a PWM input.

    Moving to the opposite end of the driver IC spectrum, the new Diodes AL5812 IC supplies 150 mA of current and is optimized for use with the growing class of mid-power 0.5W LEDs. Diodes specifically targets applications such as signage and low-light SSL applications with the product.

    The 60W output would typically drive a single string of as many as 16 mid-power LEDs. Current is set via an external resistor. The driver IC does not support dimming. The design is optimized for a minimal bill of materials and low cost.


  • Human sperm have been caught twirling in an elaborate dance. A new three-dimensional imaging technique has revealed spiraling movements that had previously only been inferred from two-dimensional data.

    The study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describes the first large-scale, high-resolution recordings of human sperm in three dimensions, tracking more than 1,500 cells over several hours. Human sperm have eluded such detailed observation in the past. Their heads are just 3–4 micrometers long and can only be seen under high magnification, but the cells zoom around at up to 100 micrometers per second, ducking in and out of focus or darting out of range in an instant.

    “Our intention was to create something not bounded by conventional optics,” says Aydogan Ozcan, a bioengineer at the University of California, Los Angeles, who led the study. “This is the first observation of something that was entirely hidden.”

    The research team watched the wily sperm not with a conventional microscope lens, but with a light-sensing chip — measuring about 4 by 6 millimeters — placed underneath the translucent samples. A red light-emitting diode (LED) shines down on the sperm, forming a hazy shadow on the chip that follows the head of each cell as it moves horizontally. A second, blue LED illuminates the sperm from a different angle, casting shadows that change with each sperm head’s vertical position. Imaging cells en masse at about 90 frames per second allowed the researchers to characterize sperm movement more precisely than ever before.

    More than 90% of the sperm moved along slightly curved paths, wiggling their heads slightly from side to side. A small fraction — 4–5% — traveled in near-perfect spirals, forming helices between 0.5 and 3 micrometers in radius. Most of the helices were right-handed, but Ozcan says that it is too early to know whether this preference serves any physiological function.

    Susan Suarez, a sperm researcher at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, is curious about the significance of the swimming patterns. She hopes that the method can be used to study sperm swimming under a wider range of physiological conditions, including the pH and fluid conditions encountered by the sperm en route to an egg.

    Chip-based imaging could one day lead to cheaper and more portable ways for fertility researchers to look at sperm movement, replacing costly computer systems that analyze microscope images. But Ozcan says that his technique — which can be used only on translucent materials — could also be used to study bacteria and other swimming microorganisms.

    David Brady, head of the Duke Imaging and Spectroscopy Program at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, says that the sperm imaging is “a great demonstration of an application” in the growing field of lens-free imaging. Smaller and more powerful technologies have emerged in the past 5–10 years, he says, that have yet to cross over into mainstream experimental biology. The authors have come up with an application that will “get people talking”.

    Some sperm biologists think that the technique could also open up research avenues. “I’ve been trying to find a way to look at sperm — moving sperm — and this seems like it would be a good method,” says David Clapham of Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts. “The beauty of this is that it’s done so quickly and on so many cells at once.” However, Clapham says, the method tracks only sperm heads, so can’t capture the complex tail movements that are crucial to understanding sperm function — and dysfunction.


  • Ed Spoto helms Crossroads Audio, which provides many of the mics, PAs, lighting systems and rigs you see at local shows and festivals. Locally, his client list includes acts like Bowling For Soup, Erykah Badu, The Denton Blues Festival and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

    Nationally, Spoto, his wife Ashley (who runs the books and more) and the Crossroads crew have been involved in sound and lighting for Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits Music Festival and tons more. He’s a pretty reputable live recording engineer as well, and quite an irreverent critic with very eclectic tastes in local music, making for an interesting sit down.

    You’ve been known to say, “I hate people and I hate music.” True?

    To be fair, I do not hate people, just douchebag posers. And I don’t hate music, just the Auto-tuned songs. I used to be a runner for my promoter uncle in Tampa when I was 16. I learned pretty quickly to avoid being star struck! Seeing diva demands of has-been or never-were “artists” shaped my view of the industry.

    Your first live sound job in town was with Showco, and you hopped on some pretty big tours. You mind namedropping?
    Within three months of starting there, I was on tour with Soundgarden. By the end of the fall, I was on The Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge tour. I started working my way up the audio ladder: Tech, systems engineer, monitors and front of house. I’ve also toured with Live, James Taylor, The Moody Blues, Lisa Loeb, Carlos Santana, George Strait and the Dixie Chicks to name a few.

    I understand Lisa Loeb is one of your favorite Dallas artists. Are there any more?

    I’m a fan of the Freddie Jones Jazz Quartet, Lisa Loeb, and Rigor Mortis.

    You’ve heard an awful lot of local and national, acts live. What does music need more of? Less of? How about the local music community itself?

    No more whistling, no more Auto-tune and lots more melody. More CDs, less digital mp3 sound bites. Additionally, just as there are high schools with focuses on alternative careers and job training, there is a need for education infrastructure to create talented audio engineers. Emphasis needs to be placed on critical listening skills for engineers, so live mixes do not sound like mp3 recordings. With the amount of volume capable in today’s PA systems, an emphasis needs to be placed on quality and not decibel quantity. A third of all students entering college have permanent hearing loss. We need to save these ears!

    Speaking of schools, which ones taught you?

    I was raised in Tampa, and I loved tinkering with electronics and toys at a young age. My father brought home a reel-to-reel recorder from Vietnam filled with Joan Baez, Beatles, Kensington Trio, numerous jazz standards like Miles Davis. I went to Vanderbilt in Nashville and got an electrical engineering degree, fully knowing that I wouldn’t ever be an electrical engineer. After I graduated from Vanderbilt, I attended Full Sail in Orlando, and earned my associates degree.

    Do you still go to concerts on your own time? Do you even have any free time running a place like this?

    I don’t go to concerts unless I have a friend to see, really. It’s horrible to go to a concert with an audio engineer because all they do is mentally re-tweak the system instead of just sitting back and enjoying it!


  • His firm, Elder Trucking, owns a fleet of diesel-powered trucks, and in order to start those vehicles on cold winter mornings, Elder must heat the engine blocks every night. Imagine 30 electrical cords extending to 30 large semi trucks and charging a heating element in each motor, an element much like the one in your kitchen stove.

    “There are times in winter when those heaters are going every day and we’re probably over $2,000 [per month] in electricity,” Elder said, shaking his head.

    Last year, Elder Trucking joined the Garfield Clean Energy Challenge and, with the help of electrical contractor Charlie Terrell and Holy Cross Energy, Elder recently installed a timing system on his engine block heaters that should cut his winter power bills in half.

    “They’ll start at midnight and shut off at noon,” Elder said. “I’m hoping to get those bills down to three digits.”

    The project was finished last March, at the tail end of a mild winter, so Elder doesn’t yet know how much energy and money he’ll save. But he has other energy-saving factors in his favor.

    Along with the engine block heaters, he also made some energy-efficient lighting improvements, first to the exterior lighting around his property, then in the shops where his crew maintains and repairs the truck fleet.

    Elder Trucking has been around since 1996, hauling gravel, asphalt, water and other materials to build roads for the natural gas industry and serve the communities of Western Garfield County. He occupies a sunny, 15-acre lot near the county airport.

    Scattered around Elder’s office, shops and parking areas are 16 light fixtures that, until recently, contained sodium lights between 70 and 100 watts apiece. Those have been replaced with 13-watt LED lights that not only consume less power, but also emit a brighter and more natural-looking light.

    Inside the shops, Elder has replaced 400-watt floodlights with high-output T5 lamps that, like the exterior LEDs, give off a more pleasing light and use less energy. Unlike the old lights, the T5s switch on and off with no warm-up or cool-down time. And by using two separate switches, Elder can use all or half of the available lights at any time.

    Because of the brightness of the T5s, Elder was able to reduce the number of fixtures in his tire shop (a separate building) from nine to five, and the overall number of bulbs from 36 to 20.

    “They [the employees] like it better because they actually have more light,” he said.

    Between the exterior and interior changes, Elder expects to cut the lighting portion of his utility bills by roughly two thirds. The real savings, however, will come from the timers on the engine block heaters.

    Elder spent $13,000 on all his energy-efficiency measures, and thus far has received rebates from Garfield Clean Energy and Holy Cross for over $3,000. If the engine block timers save as much energy as they should, Elder will recoup his expenses for that project in less than a year.

    The lighting upgrades will take between eight and nine years to pay off, but Elder is already exploring ways to invest the savings in more energy-efficiency upgrades, including solar panels.


  • When Leo Villareal’s showcase opens at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art on the evening of Saturday, the only light in the darkened main gallery will flicker and glow from the artwork on the walls.

    For Villareal, light is both subject and material. A New York-based artist known for large architectural installations and hypnotic light sculptures, Villareal is in the business of transformation.

    Pieces like the 15-foot-wide “Diamond Sea” (2007) invite the viewer to linger in front of a mirrored wall populated with thousands of tiny LED lights, running in fast-moving, untraceable patterns. From 2010, “Amanecer” (which means “dawn” in Spanish) emits diffuse, pastel colors that recall Monet’s water lilies.

    “The works take on very different qualities,” said museum director Stephen Fleischman. “Some of them are restful, sort of transformative, contemplative …

    “Other works are quite high voltage, no pun intended. They dance across the surface and are quite chaotic, so there is a whole range of expressions there.”

    The show, called simply “Leo Villareal,” debuted at the San Jose Museum of Art in Aug. 2010. It has shown in Nevada, Kansas and Georgia; Madison is its final stop.

    For the show’s debut, Villareal described his artistic process for a video on the San Jose museum’s website.

    “My pieces are very open-ended,” he said. “I don’t know what they’re going to be when I’m making them … my goal is to create the conditions for something to happen.

    “You create the parameters, but then let it happen. You’re there to capture that moment of discovery.”

    Villareal, whose background includes found art, virtual reality and theater technical design, created his first light sculpture in 1997 at Burning Man, the annual art event in the Nevada desert.

    “The epiphany for me was that you can create a very potent work of art with a small amount of information,” Villareal said in the video. “The most inspiring thing about Burning Man is you ask someone, ‘Where did you get that?’ And the answer 99 percent of the time is, ‘Oh, I made it.’”

    Villareal’s installations draw the eye with seemingly random patterns created by complex mathematical algorithms programmed into Mac mini computers.

    Staring at “Diamond Sea” over several minutes, one sees patterns of light that resemble waves on the ocean, Doppler images of Hurricane Isaac, even the ghosts in Pac-Man.

    “He doesn’t want there to be any pre-established meaning behind anything. It’s really people coming to their art on their own terms.”

    Currently, Villareal is creating a piece for the 75th anniversary of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. The installation, “Bay Lights,” will span one-and-a-half miles of the bridge and include 25,000 energy-efficient white LED lights. It is expected to be complete in January 2013.

    Meanwhile, in Madison, MMoCA staff hope that Villareal’s work will appeal to everyone from math lovers enamored with the complex technology to young adults who stand transfixed by the moving lights.


  • Gurdon’s lighting design for MDNA necessarily develops around very specific needs of the show, especially taking into consideration the extensive choreography, the overall stage (designed by Mark Fisher and built by Tait Technologies), and the show evolution. “However, because the lead in time for this show was a lot shorter than normal, it was necessary for me to second guess a lot of this, as the show was still being developed long after the lighting design needed to be finalized,” Gurdon says.

    The performer herself, however, is always his starting point. “Everything is evaluated in relation to the requirement to ‘look after’ the star,” the designer says. “Beyond that, her shows are very theatrical, everything being there for a reason, and everything telling a story through costume, choreography, staging, and video material. The lighting treatment needs to be sympathetic to all of these aspects of the show, but underpinning everything is the music. The lighting needs to reflect and underpin the dynamic energy of the music, and sometimes that will trump any other consideration.”

    Gurdon’s rig includes 156 Clay Paky Sharpy units–”for their unparalleled efficiency ratio of size to intensity”–arranged in clusters to be used individually or grouped. Ninety-two PRG Best Boy 4000 Spot Luminaires were chosen “for their flat field, dynamic zoom range, flexibility, and fast and precise shuttering system.” These are used with 20 Philips Vari-Lite VL3500 Spots primarily for keylighting.

    Twenty-eight Robe Robin 1200 LEDWash lights are used in the audience and in limited positions on the stage. “I chose them for their brightness and zoom range,” says Gurdon, adding that he felt there were limited opportunities to make use of LED lighting in this particular design.

    “I like the lighting rig to be functional and non-invasive. Some LED units seem to be a bit too visible as modern lighting fixtures, which isn’t always the right look. For example, the Sharpy clusters were perfect to simulate the shafts of light coming through the window of a virtual gothic cathedral, but an LED unit would have looked completely out of place. I use certain lights again and again as workhorses for specific jobs and will adopt new technology only if it offers something better in its workhorse function than what I have used to date, rather than for intricate features which are often of little interest to me because they seem to be more about lighting as an end in itself. The Robins were great for audience lights, for their instant color-changing, and their brightness. They had a few quirky features which seemed quite cool for one moment, but which I would be unlikely to use very often.”

    The MDNA lighting rig, supplied by PRG, also includes five GLP Impression 120 RZ LEDs, nine Robe Robin 600 LEDWash units, and 38 Philips Vari-Lite V:3500 Wash units. Followspots include four Lycian M2s, six Strong Lighting Gladiator IIIs, and three Brite Box units. Control comprises three PRG V676 consoles, one V476 console, and 11 PRG Virtuoso Node Plus units, as well as three City Theatrical SHoW DMX systems and 11 PRG Series 400 Data and Power Distribution Racks.


  • If you poked around in a lot of homes here and around the country, you might fight old armoires sitting empty and neglected in the garage, or even at a garage sale.

    Those attractive pieces of furniture once proudly contained the family’s major TV, the cathode ray sets, the big bulky ones with square-shaped screens.

    Then came flat screens of all sizes, relegating the older armoires, lovely as they may be, to the dustbin of history, along with typewriters, 45-rpm record players and spittoons.

    Now, to the armoires’ rescue comes a Naples couple, Craig and Beth Boyce, who have created a mom-and-pop business bringing new life to old furniture — transforming the almost obsolete armoires into “Barmoires.”

    “We saw a need and decided to try to fill it,” Craig says, “in our own home.”

    When the Boyces moved to Naples from New England, they brought an armoire with them. But it looked out of place and didn’t hold the new high-definition flat-screen TVs.

    “I don’t know how the bar idea came to us, but we converted the piece into a bar and it looked great, partly because we incorporated the use of low energy-high output LED lighting into the cabinet.”

    They did the work themselves, painting and refinishing the wooden armoires, moving or replacing shelves, adding a wine rack, etc. They bought a few armoires cheaply and converted them.

    “We rented a booth at the Flamingo open air market in Bonita because we had four Barmoires and had to get them out of our condo. So, we used the booth as a showroom and that worked out great. Now we’re getting some retailers who are putting our finished products in their stores.

    “Our customers include people who don’t have bars and love these because they don’t take up much space.

    “I think Americans like armoires, grew up with them, had them in their homes. Some of them can be beautiful pieces of furniture.”

    The lighting in the Barmoires is a strong selling point.

    “We use blue lighting to highlight the wine storage area and white lighting for the workspace and task areas of the bar counter,” he said.

    “At night it all just glows. Some customers say they liked their armoires so much and are pleased to recycle them in this way.”

    The remodel effort started with removing the old Brenner’s storefront sign from the front of the building. Owners said that the project is in part  to help revitalize the downtown business community and modernize their building.

    “The overall vibe of downtown is changing and so we need to change too.” said David Fenderich, a part owner of the downtown location.

    Brenner’s said that the remodel project will include new signs, awnings, LED lighting and foliage on the sidewalk. They said that construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of October.


  • The problem in the past was the difficulty of installing LED Lighting and controlling it with anything other than a wall dimmer wired into the lights and installed in the drywall. Now, Solid Apollo offers solutions to make it easy to install LED Lighting Control Systems. Solid Apollo offers a selection of innovative products to assist consumers in bringing their LED Lights to life!

    LED Lighting is rapidly emerging as an important tool for all interior designers and lighting experts, as well as architects and contractors. With so many home owners and businesses installing LED Lighting it is very important to have control systems in place to get the maximum benefit from the limitless possibilities LED’s have to offer. LED Lighting Control Systems allow for total adjustability and customization. Solid Apollo offers the widest range of LED Lighting Control Systems.

    Having LED Lights that can be remotely controlled brings new and fascinating possibilities! In the past this was a difficult thing to achieve. Now, it gives anyone the possibility to have a customized and personalized lighting system that can be changed according to mood, weather, season or special occasion.

    LED Lighting can be applied anywhere: businesses like restaurants, bars, hotels & cafes, to outdoor areas like terraces, patios & plazas, even for the home and garden!

    Solid Apollo produces a 5 Zone Dimmer for solid color LED’s to facilitate the control and enjoyment of LED lighting. Without LED Lighting Dimmers, the LED’s are just static lighting, switched on and off but never utilized as the powerful lighting solution they were designed to be.

    With the 5 Zone Dimmer, it is possible to control all the different areas in a house, bar or restaurant with a single device!

    Each remote comes with a receiver and for each independent zone, another receiver must be installed. In this fashion it is possible to use one remote to control all the zones in an installation, up to five zones with unlimited receivers in each zone, assigning each zone a different illumination setting. It is possible with the Five Zone Remote, to also install solid color LED lights and assign a zone to add color to any space.

    An optional upgrade is to install color changing RGB LED lights and have total control over specific colors, brightness levels and effects. Such color changing effects are achieved by the use of Solid Apollo’s Color Changing LED Controllers. One of Solid Apollo’s newest products is the 4 Zone LEDwizard RGB LED controller which brings new possibilities by enabling users to personalize programs easily and adjust them to their preferred colors.

    Previously, basic RGB controllers did not offer any option to tweak or adjust any of the predefined color changing programs. In the past, the only options to make adjustments were pre-programmed into the remote with no option to change anything. If the program wasn’t there, it was not possible to add or change a new one.

    In the past, in order to maximize all adjustable options, high end and complex DMX Control systems were needed. Nevertheless these controllers required a great deal of understanding and programming to make it work correctly. The 4 Zone LEDwizard Remote Controller provides the user with an easy way to make any custom color and/or color effects and save it into the remote to be recalled as the need arises.


  • The lack of safety signs or tags, obstructed exits, improper use of electrical cords and the storage of flammable materials in inappropriate areas were common violations in these buildings.

    The 23-year-old County Courthouse on San Antonio Avenue did not pass inspections due to a missing alarm system tag and combustible material stored in a utility area, according to the document.

    Another county property that ranked unsatisfactory in the report was the MDR Building at 500 E. Overland. Electrical items appeared to be unsafe, the fire protection system was not working and there were issues with an exit, the report shows.

    The 911 Center was also in violation for not having a permit for flammable materials.

    The Plaza Theatre did not pass inspection due to combustible materials found in an exit and improper use of extension cords. The main branch of the El Paso Public Library had problems with the sprinkler and electrical systems, fire extinguisher tags were missing or expired, and the emergency lighting system needed to be tested.

    El Paso Museum of History at 510 N. Stanton did not comply with the fire code after combustible material was found in a utility area, the fire protection system was inoperative and there was a tag missing in the alarm system, the fire report shows.

    The El Paso Police Department property and evidence office at 617 Texas had issues with the sprinkler system, while the Central Regional Command failed inspection because inspectors were not able to look into the fire alarm panel, the report says.

    The fire inspection at City Hall was unsatisfactory because the sprinkler system tags were missing.

    Fire permits at the El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau were not up to date, extension cords were used instead of permanent electrical wiring, combustible materials were stored in a utility area, and sprinkler system tags were missing.

    The Chamber of Commerce did not have the proper exit sign required, while an assembly permit was missing.

    The Insights Museum at 505 S. Santa Fe St. did not pass the inspection because of problems with the electrical and sprinkler systems.

    The Tillman Building at 222 Campbell, owned by the city but managed by a nonprofit organization, had extension cords used instead of permanent wiring and the electrical junction box was not covered.

    The fire access of the old Federal Courthouse at 511 San Antonio was not the required size. In addition, the five-story-building does not have a sprinkler system.

    The inspection at the new Federal Courthouse on Magoffin Avenue was unsatisfactory because it did not meet requirements for fire department connection signs.

    Other government buildings that failed inspection were the U.S. Post Office at 219 E. Mills for not having the sprinkler or alarm system tags, and the Social Security Administration office at 600 Texas, which required emergency lighting and was missing an alarm system tag.

    The site assessment inspection at the Banamex building, 416 N. Stanton, where the Fire Department headquarters is currently located, was also unsatisfactory. The building is not a city-owned property.

    “Unsafe” electrical items, obstructed exits, and issues with the fire suppression system were found there, according to the report.


  • South Africa’s first “Green Street” upgrade project in a low-income area in Cato Manor in Durban has highlighted the significant cost savings and job creation benefits that could be achieved if the 3 million low-cost houses built since 1994 were retrofitted.

    The findings of a case study of the project, led by the Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA), show significant potential policy implications for the government, which plans to build a further 3 million low-cost houses by 2025.

    Sarah Rushmere, the head of advocacy and special projects for the GBCSA, said three key interventions stood out from the study and it would be cheaper to retrofit the existing low-cost housing with insulated ceilings, low-energy compact fluorescent lighting bulbs and heat-insulation cookers than building the next power station in the country.

    Each of the 30 households received an energy-efficient retrofit in the form of solar-water heaters, insulated ceilings, efficient lighting and heat-insulation cookers.

    Unsafe electrical wiring was replaced in the process, rainwater harvesting tanks were added and food gardens established for the production of home-grown food and a polluted nearby stream was cleaned up and indigenous trees and smaller plants and fruit trees planted.

    The Cato Manor Green Street retrofit, which involved 30 low-cost houses, has been nothing short of life-changing for its residents.

    Rushmere said some of the positive outcomes from the project included residents having hot water on tap for the first time through solar-water heating; a saving of up to 25 percent on electricity; improved water and food security through rainwater harvesting and food gardens; greater comfort through better insulation that reduced peak summer temperatures; and less need for fuels such as paraffin, coal and wood, which meant reduced health problems from respiratory illnesses and reduced fire safety risks for these homes.

    Rushmere said energy and water savings estimated at about R3 billion a year would be possible if retrofits similar to those done to these 30 houses were done for the country’s existing 3-million low-cost housing units.

    This money would stay in the pockets of residents and be retained in the local economy, she said. Rushmere added the electricity saving would amount to more than 3 400 gigawatt hours a year, equivalent to about a third of the electricity usage of cities the size of Cape Town and Durban.

    “For the purposes of generating revenue on international carbon credit markets, 9.72 million tons worth of carbon credits are possible,” she said.

    Rushmere said it was estimated that about 36.5 million days of work could be created by a retrofit programme for the country’s existing 3-million low-cost houses, which was equivalent to employing more than 165 000 people for a year of work.

    Bruce Kerswill, the GBCSA’s executive chairman, said the project turned an idea into reality on the ground through simple interventions that made an impact on greenhouse gas emissions and the quality of people’s lives.

    The project, mostly funded by the British High Commission, was completed shortly before the COP17 international climate change talks last year.

    A second phase of the project, involving the retrofitting of 26 houses, is expected to commence soon and be completed by the end of this year, will cost about R1 million and is being funded by the Australian High Commission to South Africa.

    Dame Nicola Brewer, the British high commissioner to South Africa, said the aim of the project was to demonstrate a range of socioeconomic, health and environmental benefits that could be obtained from sustainable design and resource-efficiency interventions in low-income housing.