• 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.


  • Many applications in the area of functional printing are still little more than visions for the future. Printed, intelligent surfaces called touchcodes that Heidelberg will be showcasing in the Innovation Gallery in the form of interactive printed ID cards with an integrated electronic structure are one example of an application that has already reached the market-ready stage.

    Placing a touchcode card of this kind on an iPad opens an app or web browser that offers access to specific content. The card therefore serves as a copy-protected license for electronic information in protected or closed applications, for example, thus building a bridge to mobile terminals. Unlike conventional QR codes, there is no need to take a photo using a smartphone. The touchcode acts as a paper key and is simply placed on the display. Heidelberg is presenting this touchcode technology in cooperation with Printechnologics GmbH from Chemnitz.

    Another example of an intelligent surface is a film-based lighting element that takes the form of “printed light”. The lighting effects of printed OLEDs (organic LEDs, light-emitting diodes) can be applied to folding cartons either as a surface area or as an informative detail in the form of numbers, text, or logos. Printed electronics in print products thus constitute the lighting elements of the future.

    Yet another new application from Heidelberg is the “Smart Shelf”, which delivers ideas for the packaging shelf of the future. In this case, both the folding carton and the surface of the shelf are equipped with printed electronic components to communicate the fill level of the shelf, for example. This technology can also be used with point-of-sale applications for interaction with the customer.

    Printing on any surface - including 3D
    The “Decorative printing on any surface” section of the Innovation Gallery will give interested visitors the opportunity to discuss possible applications for printing on any curved surface. Although the development from 2D high-productivity industrial printing to 3D is still in its infancy, work in this area has already begun. The focus here is on how everyday objects such as furniture, sports goods, and toys, and industrial products such as architecture and facades can be decorated with customized and reversible designs.

    Surface drying and digital imaging
    The “drying and structuring surfaces” section of the Innovation Gallery is devoted to new dryer technologies and systems, including energy-efficient UV LED dryer modules and a laser drying technology that heats only the ink and not the substrate, which is advantageous from a process engineering perspective. The major benefit is that it is possible to dramatically cut the waiting times between press and postpress.

    The display also features a visionary laser module concept that enables the partial drying or structuring of surfaces. This digital multi-channel module opens up further potential future applications in the area of digital imaging.


  • Three years ago, Charlestown Wine and Spirits owner Jonathan Maldon wondered if he could keep his family’s third-generation business afloat by going green.

    Today, he wants to share the news with other small business owners that it is not only possible, but profitable.

    “We have reduced our energy costs substantially, we no longer rely on fossil fuels, and the bottom line has been a whole lot rosier,” said Maldon. He will join project manager Andrew Baer and architect Megan Moynihan of the Charlestown architectural firm Oyster Works in a presentation, “Charlestown Wine and Spirits: Case Study in Sensibly Green Architecture,” on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the former Industrial Trust Company building at 10 High St.

    The program is sponsored by the Westerly Land Trust and the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce.

    The event will focus on how small businesses as well as homeowners can take a “sensibly green” approach to construction projects, with details on the energy efficient systems and technologies, and how investing in these and other eco-friendly strategies can save money.

    “The sensibly green approach emphasizes energy efficiency, while at the same time creating buildings that are thoughtful and beautiful,” said Baer. These goals are achieved by unique project designs that orient buildings to optimize solar warmth, natural light and ventilation while creating tightly sealed structures, cooled and heated by energy-efficient technology.

    The Charlestown Wine and Spirits construction project, completed in May of 2011, included installation of three 450-foot geothermal wells that heat the building in winter with groundwater sitting in the earth at a constant 50 degrees. Heat generated by the store’s beer coolers is captured and channeled into the system, while a computer-controlled LED lighting system uses 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, and monitors energy consumption.

    Saving money while saving the environment might seem incompatible, at first, according to Baer. He said that the liquor store project cost an additional 11 percent over the cost of normal construction in energy-related improvements.

    However, in the long run (four to five years on average) those additional costs will pay for themselves in terms of savings and return on investment.

    “We are using 67% less energy than comparable stores according to U,S, Government Energy Star figures,” Baer said.

    At the March 22 presentation, Maldon plans to discuss what prompted his decision to go green, while Moynihan will review her architectural plans for the building, with its classic New England barn-like design. On the operation side, Baer will describe how Oyster Works opted for specific energy efficient systems and prioritized the use of local companies and suppliers for the project. The panel of speakers also hopes to guide business owners and the public through the maze of “green” products and systems currently on the market.


  • After the Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) revolution in Kerala, another energy saving initiative, Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs would be installed in all the street lights in Kerala.

    As part of the initiative, a technical specification would be issued by the Energy Management Centre (EMC). To study the specification, a pilot project would be implemented in 65 areas in all the Corporations and municipalities.

    EMC director Dharesan Unnithan said that tenders have been floated for the pilot project and several prominent companies have expressed interest in the project. Samples have been given by these companies and it is in the process of finding out the energy saved by the LED bulbs and the light produced by the device.

    “The samples will be tested and it will be installed in the KSEB poles within two months. The functioning of these street lights would be monitored by EMC and it would finalise a technical specification,” he said.

    The specifications would be issued within six months which would be given to all the local bodies in the state. The conversion of the conventional street light system to LED will take place in a phased manner.

    In the first step, 100 LED bulbs would be given to each local body which will be installed in selected streets.

    After the installation, the monitoring process will be conducted mainly on the intensity of light and its effects in the long run.

    When a government agency like EMC comes out with the specification it will be easy for the local bodies to implement the project. The LED concept would help in reducing the power consumption along with the duration of the device which can have life of 50,000 hours. It is pointed out that LED bulbs could save more than 50 per cent of the consumption when compared to ordinary tube lights.

    Here at Core77, we’ve been anxiously anticipating the rise of new lighting forms that embrace and highlight the strengths of CFL and LED bulbs. It’s great to see that we’re not the only ones…Dwell magazine welcomes Spring with their first annual Light and Energy issue.

    Inside the pages of this month’s issue, we not only see innovative examples of energy-efficient LED lamps and pendants, but we also get a brief history of the lightbulb from Edison to the shuttering of GE’s last American incandescent bulb favtory. Considering that “nineteen percent of the world’s energy use goes towards keeping it bright,” it’s a relief that designers are stepping up to the plate and taking on this challenge in style. Here’s an exclusive preview of this month’s lighting picks with Dwell senior editor, Kelsey Keith:

    The primary focus of our April Light & Energy issue is how energy usage has rapidly changed in the past ten years, and will continue do so as incandescents are completely phased out by 2015.

    For our product coverage this month, we took a different tack: I wanted to highlight the design of the newest, most groundbreaking lighting on the market. (Half of which, not-so-incidentally, are using LEDs in place of traditional bulbs, in a few cases even mimicking the old fluorescents.)


  • led light 07.12.2011 No Comments

    Sri Lanka: Orange Electric, a Sri Lankan electrical and lighting products manufacturer and exporter, has invested US$ 500 000 in a joint venture to set up what it describes as South Asia’s first compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) recycling plant.

    The facility, located in Sri Lanka and registered under the name of Asia Recycling, represents a partnership with Nordic Recycling AB of Sweden. It has a stated recycling capacity of up to 30 million bulbs per year, encompassing both CFLs as well as more conventional fluorescent tube lights.

    Capacity is nearly three times greater than annual domestic CFL usage. Outlining future plans for Asia Recycling, which has its sole facility at Homagama South, Pitipana Rideemulla, Orange Electric’s Managing Director Kushan Kodituwakku has indicated that Sri Lanka is just the first step for a venture which hopes to build similar plants in India, Singapore, Malaysia and China. He has also revealed that, in three to four months from now, new recycling technology and machinery will be introduced, and that existing machines will be sent to India.

    Mr Kodituwakku also points out that the country’s Central Environmental Agency is bringing in new legislation regarding the disposal of light bulbs, as well as associated tariffs in this regard. And when this legislation comes into effect, recyclers will also benefit from the added revenue stream, it is noted.

    According to a statement, the recycling processes used translate into a recovery rate exceeding 95%. Nordic Recycling’s founder Per Kristoffersson explains that mercury is integral to electric bulb production. ‘It can only harm if it’s not properly being disposed, and through these recycling measures close to 100% mercury is recovered,’ he has commented.

    Some 10% of vodka bottles in Sweden are made with recycled CFL, he adds.

    The lamps will be replaced with energy efficient alternatives like compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), energy saving halogens and LED bulbs. CFL’s themselves are up to five times more efficient as they need around five times less energy to generate the same amount of light when compared with traditional incandescent bulbs which waste 90% of energy as heat.

    “Homes are currently dominated by incandescent bulbs, and approximately two third of the world’s lighting solutions in use are based on old, less energy efficient technologies”, says Paolo Cervini – General Manager of Philips Lighting Middle East & Turkey. “Making a switch to energy efficient lighting solutions is simple and easy, with a remarkable effect.”

    “Philips is aware that significant savings can be made in terms of energy consumption, carbon emission and costs by switching to energy efficient solutions, therefore, we continue our unilateral phase-out of incandescent lamps and simultaneously educate the public through different initiatives on the benefits of the switch,” he adds.

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