ArcVera Renewables’ new permanent office in Cape Town strengthens operations in Southern Africa

ArcVera Renewables, a leading provider of consulting and technical services for wind, solar and energy storage projects, has set up a permanent office and new subsidiary company in Cape Town, strengthening its 6-year local presence to offer and meet the growing renewable energy ambitions of South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. This move underpins South Africa’s growing importance as a strategic market for ArcVera Renewables.

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Zolani Mahola leads ocean activists in beach clean-up for Ocean’s Month as marine plastic pollution becomes serious issue

Eco-activists, personalities and conservation influencers came together for a beach clean-up at Muizenberg, Cape Town, last Friday, June 18, joining Corona’s international movement to fight marine plastic pollution in recognition of Ocean’s Month.

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Construction of R16bn Cape Town CBD precinct well on track

Cape Town’s largest and most ambitious sustainable mixed-use development, Harbour Arch, is steadily taking shape on the city’s foreshore, with construction having commenced back in January last year.  In recent months, motorists passing the site at the eastern side of the city would have noticed the development, in particular the residential towers, rising above the construction site inching skywards. 

“Construction is well on track at what is set to be an iconic landmark that will feature a world-class live, work, and play precinct within the city’s CBD,” says Nicholas Stopforth, Managing Director of Amdec Property Developments. 

The development currently sits at around 25 metres above ground level, and can be clearly seen rising above Table Bay Boulevard. Concrete and structural work on the 3-level basement, ground and first two floors have been completed and the contractor is moving ahead with brickwork and the installation of services.  Floors four to six are also moving ahead at pace. 

According to Stopforth, the transformation of what has been an uninspiring site characterised by vagrancy, warehousing and light industrial, into a safe and enjoyable community-focused environment, heralds a new era of urban living for the CBD.

“Our main contractor, WBHO, is managing the site with great efficiency, and we remain on schedule for completion of Tower One Harbour Arch in May 2023,” says Stopforth. “On any given day we have around 300 workers on site, all of whom are screened and sanitised in accordance with Covid-19 protocols.”

Once Harbour Arch is complete, these six residential towers will sit above landscaped public spaces lined with shops, restaurants, cocktail bars, two Marriott branded hotels, offices, gyms and the like. With scenic views and modern, luxurious finishes, apartments in Tower One are largely sold out, with only a few remaining for sale. 

The concept of development as a vibrant 24-hour precinct for diverse communities is in line with property trends driving urban densification developments that have a positive fiscal impact. Bringing together residential properties with work and lifestyle elements, such as shopping facilities, hotels and restaurants, means that Harbour Arch promises to become a new centre of activity in Cape Town’s CBD – so bringing new business and work opportunities to all Capetonians.  

According to Stopforth, “It is not by coincidence that we have joined forces with WBHO as our main construction partner. The fact that WBHO is a Level 1 BBBEE company reflects our commitment to creating an environment that can be beneficial to South Africans from all walks of life.” 

The building of the precinct will provide around 20 000 jobs and many thousands more will be created upon completion via retail, extensive hospitality services and the sophisticated security services.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has in many respects changed the way we live, blurring the lines between work and play, highlighting the necessity for community and connectivity. Mixed-use developments like Harbour Arch are perfectly placed to satisfy this kind of lifestyle because they are designed to offer dynamic, safe, sustainable environments that combine commercial, retail, leisure, and residential components,” says Stopforth. 

“While it’s been a buyer’s market for some time now, mixed-use developments like Harbour Arch remain in high demand. All-inclusive precincts make it easier for people to live close to where they work. The move from suburban to inner city living makes good financial sense if you factor in escalating traffic and sky-rocketing petrol costs. Less time spent commuting not only reduces traffic congestion and carbon emissions, it also allows people to live healthier, less stressful lives,” he concludes.

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Kirstenbosch strives to save rare and endangered Silver Tree

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, in collaboration with the Botanical Society of South Africa, Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), FABI (Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), has launched an innovative project to save an endangered tree which only occurs naturally in a tiny area of the Cape Peninsula.

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My Clean Green Home: Call for partners

The City of Cape Town (CCT), with support from the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), have co-created a design competition for the ultimate “clean green home”.  This competition is targeted at students and professionals of the built environment and forms part of the Cape Town Future Energy Festival, a series of virtual event experiences designed to include all Capetonians in the city’s future energy story.

The virtual festival runs until January 2021 and will culminate in a physical event in the first quarter of 2021 at which the winning My Clean Green Home design will be constructed and displayed. The brief is to design a net-zero carbon unit for display and exhibition purposes. 

The Future Energy Festival is seeking project partnership and support in the means of building materials, appliances, furniture, and building-related services to support this unit being fully realised. A net-zero carbon building is defined as “a building that is highly energy-efficient, and the remaining energy use is from renewable energy, preferably on-site but also off-site where absolutely necessary, so that there are zero net carbon emissions on an annual basis”. 

Quantities of materials will be finalised in December once the design is completed. Closing date for project partnership submissions is 30 November 2020. Project partnership terms will be concluded by 30 January 2021 when the construction of the My Clean Green Home will be completed. 

Project partners will receive the following marketing opportunities:

Association with the Cape Town Future Energy Festival and net-zero carbon design:  

An opportunity to showcase your product and align your offering with energy-efficient and net-zero carbon goals.

Physical display opportunities in the unit itself: Each project partner will be given a space of 1 x A3 (portrait orientation) on the display unit near where their product is being used to educate the reader about the product and advertise your company. Include links & QR codes. Project partners are to provide their own artwork printed on card and laminated. Final artwork is subject the festival organiser’s approval. In addition, there may be a project partner wall as part of the unit, pending final design, and space allowances.

Acknowledgement and thanks in My Clean Green Home communication on the festival’s digital platforms, including the website and social media channels (at least 2 social media posts acknowledging all project partners) and any other My Clean Green Home communication material that is developed.

Please see the list of items below and get involved by completing this form

We are seeking project partners and support in supplying the following items:

  • Roof sheeting
  • Guttering & downpipes
  • Insulation to walls & roofing
  • Ceiling boards
  • Sisilation Roof timbers (structural timbers & battens)
  • PV Panels & battery pack Geyser / Solar water heater
  • Light switches & wiring
  • Indoor lights – LED Outdoor lights – LED / solar
  • Sanware: taps Sanware: shower rose & base
  • Sanware: sink & basin taps
  • Sanware: toilet Plumbing services
  • Electrical services
  • DB Board
  • Doors & windows (timber option)
  • Doors & windows (aluminum option)
  • Glazing to doors & windows
  • Sanware: kitchen sink & taps
  • Joinery: Kitchen countertops
  • Joinery: Bedroom
  • Joinery: study/utility cupboard
  • Joinery: kitchen
  • Appliances: Fridge
  • Appliances: Washing Machine
  • Appliances: Stove (gas) hob & oven
  • Appliances: kettle / toaster / microwave
  • Water tank & reticulation
  • Walling boards (internal)
  • Walling/cladding (external)
  • Floor boards
  • Fireplace Paint – low VOC
  • Carpets/flooring
  • Floor & wall tiles & adhesives
  • Recycling Bins
  • Composting bin
  • Washing line
  • Furniture: Couch, table, chairs, bed, bedside table, cupboard, bedside light
  • Veggie boxes & soil
  • Plants
  • Fencing & latte  

More on The Cape Town Future Energy Festival in +Impact 0.8 (page 86):

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2021 Conference Topics Announced for Africa Energy Indaba

The Africa Energy Indaba will host the continent’s leading Energy Conference from 2 – 3 March 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa.

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Cape Town flower season is upon us

Spring is just around the corner, a time when Cape Town’s spring flowers are showcased across the city. The flower viewing period only lasts for a short window between now and the end of September. The City encourages residents to visit the City’s nature reserves over the flower season. Many of the reserves boast beautiful blooms annually.

A number of City of Cape Town nature reserves blossom with flowers such as the Cape White Daisy, Vygies, Gazanias, Pelargoniums, Arum Lilies, Kelkiewyn, Viooltjie and Bobbejaantjie to name a few. Many areas across the city are already covered with spring flowers, but the City reserves are truly worth visiting as these conservation areas offer the perfect spots to enjoy these sights while exploring the rest of the natural beauty showcased at the reserves.

The City of Cape Town manages 21 nature reserves in Cape Town – many of which are in very close proximity to urban areas. Residents are spoilt for choice with access to reserves located right on their doorstep.

‘With the recent rains Cape Town has been receiving, we can expect a show of blooms across the city this year. Our reserves are rich in vegetation and animal life and I believe many Capetonians have not yet discovered these magnificent reserves. If a road trip to view this year’s blooms are not on the cards, I encourage you to seriously consider one. The City nature reserves boast beautiful spring flowers each year and residents should not miss out on the spectacle.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt, said that one of the areas she enjoys visiting during the flower season include the Coastal Hiking Trail that is part of the City’s Blaauwberg Nature Reserve. 

“This area showcases spectacular flowers each year. Many of our reserves have hiking trails which offer visitors and residents an opportunity to access certain parts of the natural environment which they may not have been exposed to before.”

She added that another favourite place to visit is the City’s Bracken Nature Reserve in Brackenfell.

“One is sure to come across the bright coloured blooms while taking a stroll along the reserve’s pathways,” said Nieuwoudt.

It should be noted that the best time to view flowers are in the afternoon when the sun is out. Any time between late morning and 15:00 is advised, while the sun is still high in the sky.

Visitors are also reminded to please wear a mask to cover their nose and mouth at all times, to wash their hands often with soap and water, or to use hand sanitiser, and to observe the social distancing that is required in terms of the Covid-19 health and safety protocols.

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City landscaping project wins overall award at SALI 2020 award

The Hout Bay Dune Project, managed by Vula Environmental Services, a contractor appointed by the City’s Environment Department, has won the country’s top award for excellence in landscaping. It also won three gold awards in three categories at the South African Landscapers Insitute’s (SALI) annual ceremony. The event was held virtually on 31 July 2020. 

The Hout Bay Dune Rehabilitation Project was entered into three categories, namely, specialised landscaping, water-wise landscaping and environmental landscaping. The project received a gold award in all three categories.

These awards made the project eligible for the Trophy of Excellence as well as the South African Landscapers Institute Shield for Excellence in Landscaping, the overall award, for the best project in the country.

More than 100 projects were submitted for the various categories from all over the country.

Vula Environmental Services is a principal member of the South African Landscaping Institute. It entered the project for the award in terms of the membership criteria. The entrants were monitored continuously for the quality of work.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt, expressed her excitement for this achievement. She further commented that the project could not have reached its goals without “adaptive management.”

Nieuwoudt further explained that it was the combined approach of sand removal, wind net installation, marram grass planting, dune thicket vegetation planting and seeding, selective irrigation and intensive maintenance that was key to establishing a stable dune system. 

“This is the true epitome of strategic leadership and value for money. I also want to commend the EPWP for the groundwork. This project would not have been possible without their contribution,” explained Nieuwoudt.

The EPWP workers have since secured contracts until the end of December 2020, a Plant Production learnership, NQF level 2, as well as various other short courses in financial planning, life skills, basic computer skills and Small Business Enterprise.

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Dam levels rise after Cape Town storm

Cape Town’s dam levels have drastically increased thanks to the recent “storm surge”. There has been a substantial increase in the Cape’s dam levels during the last seven days. The levels had increased to just over 4%. At this time last year, the dam levels stood at 61.8% total capacity. 

The Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste, Alderman Xanthea Limberg, stated that this increase in the dam levels has been a relief considering the dry to start to the Winter season.

Limberg added that residents should continue to be cautious about their water consumption. 

“Although there is currently no reason to be concerned about our immediate water security (provided current restrictions are adhered to), we should not forget the very valuable lessons learnt about the finite nature of our most precious resource,” Limberg said.  

Cape Town dam levels as of 20 July

According to the City of Cape Town, the dam levels had increased to more than 77.2% total capacity. At the same time last year, the dam levels stood at 61.8% total capacity. 

As a result of the heavy downpours, the reservoirs in the wider Western Cape region had risen by more than 50%. The Clanwilliam Reserve had almost doubled its volume from 29% to 52%. The Theewaterskloof levels had risen by 10%. 

Cape Town’s storm sweeps through the city

What would become known as the “Cape Town storm” wreaked havoc through the mother city. Incidents of heavy flooding in the streets, gale-force winds, snowfall, and large ocean swells were reported on Monday, July 13.  

The Minister for Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, Anton Bredell, had urged residents to stay indoors or to at least limit their travels through the province. 

“While the storm is still ongoing, we urge the public to continue to limit movement around the province. This includes staying away from beaches and promenades and other waterways as much as possible. Conditions along the coastal areas are expected to see storm surges and wave heights of up to 12m in some areas,” Bredell said.

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Helpful tips to reduce your electricity bill

For many households, winter is usually an expensive time of the year when it comes to electricity costs. Most households tend to spend more on electricity during winter, but there are many cost-free ways to save.

Monitoring monthly energy consumption is one-way customers can save significantly. Whether a credit metering or a prepaid meter is used, know the tariff and keep track of how much electricity is used. It is important to be mindful of seasonal differences too as most homes use more electricity in winter.

Water-wise tips to save electricity

The biggest potential cost saver is the geyser.

Turn it off and only turn it on an hour or two as required per day. Turn the geyser down to 60°C. Turning your geyser down from 70˚C to 60˚C will see a 5% reduction in your hot water electricity bill.

Use less hot water. Tackle excessive use with more efficient habits:

Do not let the hot water run unnecessarily. Use cold water to wash hands instead of hot water. Use a basin plug when washing.

Shower instead of bathing. You will save up to 80% in water and use five times less electricity than heating bathwater if you take a short shower.

Electricity saving tips around the house

  • Dry your laundry using sunshine where possible and try not to use the tumble dryer. For rainy days, use drying racks indoors.
  • Replace regular bulbs with energy-saving ones, such as LEDs, that use six times less electricity.
  • Seal gaps around windows and doors to keep heat from escaping and cold drafts from breezing in.
  • When you switch off appliances at the wall, you could save up to 6% more electricity. Pull out the charger from the wall too, this adds to your savings.

Use a stove plate that’s most similar to the size of your pot.

An electric stove uses up to 40% of its heat when the pot is too small, which means you waste electricity. If you own an insulation cooker, bring your food to a boil then place it in there. The retained heat slow-cooks, saving up to 60% on energy.

Use warm water bottles instead of electric blankets to help keep electricity costs down.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change, Councillor Phindile Maxiti said that reducing a household’s energy does not have to be an expensive endeavour. 

“Making smarter energy decisions not only saves money each month but also helps in our collective efforts to reduce the impact of climate change.”

It is important to note the City’s new financial year starts on 1 July 2020, with associated small but necessary price increases.

The City will resume residential meter-reading at a lower Covid-19 restriction level. When the actual billing resumes, customers could, however, see an increase in electricity usage, as more people were home during the National Lockdown period. This increase could reflect on municipal bills, but using electricity smarter could help households reduce the impact of higher bills too.

Consider switching to prepaid electricity, as prepaid metering will allow for easier monitoring on a month to month basis. With real-time awareness of electricity usage when using a prepaid meter, customers could see substantial drops in their energy consumption.  

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