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Green buildings should surround us

World Green Building Week, which runs from 26 September to 2 October, prompts a rare reminder to take note of the walls, windows and floors that surround us. A worthwhile exercise, as the construction industry presents one of the biggest climate change mitigation opportunities we have. Buildings consume one third of the world’s energy and are responsible for one fifth of global emissions.

“There is a misconception that brick and mortar signifies top quality, comfort and stability. In reality, brick buildings are expensive, energy and resource inefficient, and water and labour-intensive to construct,” says John Schooling, MD of green construction and renewable energy group STAG African.

Construction science and technology has long surpassed the need for brick and mortar infrastructure. The Innovative Building Techniques (IBTs) that are replacing them are not a compromise on quality or comfort – in fact, they offer better temperate control, cleaner and quicker construction and they last just as long.

Since 2008, STAG African has pioneered the use of IBTs for the construction of student residences across the country. Able to reduce the cost to universities of building residences by up to 13% and construction times by 40%, the STAG African method is attractive to budget-strapped institutions facing a critical shortage of on-campus accommodation.

It is the company’s commitment to student lifestyle and comfort that drives their success, however. “While materials are key to changing the way we build – lowering environmental impact goes beyond recycled steel frames and cladding. Quality design is key,” says Schooling.

The orientation of a building, for example, plays a significant role in its environmental impact. Optimum design that takes location, sun exposure and wind direction into account can reduce or even eliminate the need for artificial temperature control. A smartly designed roof can catch rainwater and well-designed plumbing allows for grey water collection and re-use.

Schooling believes that buildings shape the way we live and that green construction fosters the environmental consciousness; “Experiencing the comfort of a naturally ventilated, premium-temperature space that has been created out of largely recycled materials, caring for an indigenous and water-wise garden – these are experiences that shape the students that live in green residences.”

The time is right to start inspecting the construction sites dotted throughout our cities and commit to building offices, homes, hospitals and schools that not only offer comfortable living and work spaces, but also a deliver on the need to protect and preserve natural resources.

 

ENDS

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Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:

Emma Proctor

emma@be-cause.co.za

021 447 1082 / 073 930 4412

 

On behalf of STAG African:

Director: John Schooling

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