‘Urgent response needed’ The “green” economy must form part of South Africa’s development and job creation agenda, President Jacob Zuma said at the launch of the COP 17 flagship solar power plant in Hazelmere, KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday. In the country’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010) – a 20-year projection on electricity supply and demand – about 42% of electricity generated in South Africa is required to come from renewable resources. Zuma said the African continent was abundant with renewable energy sources that needed to be harnessed in building an inclusive and sustainable economy. “We have spoken a great deal about using cleaner sources of energy. Today we reaffirm that commitment and determination to move towards a low-carbon economy.” The plant is a result of a partnership, incorportating a skills development component, between Soitec and the Ethekwini Municipality. “If we do nothing, climate change will leave us with uninhabitable wastelands and socio-economic disasters,” Zuma said. The President called on experts attending the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 17), currently underway in Durban, to help South Africa explore the possibility of scaling up its renewable energy option in its energy mix. “This renewable energy project also confirms our view that we cannot separate climate change responses from our goals of pursuing development and poverty eradication,” he said. “Pursuing the green economy must be linked to our overall agenda of pursuing employment creating growth, and inclusive growth that improves the lives of our people.” Zuma said the world had gathered in Durban because of the realisation that an urgent response to climate change, which also affects South Africa, had to be reached. He said the COP 17 flagship solar plant had to improve the lives of the people of Hazelmere and its surroundings, by creating job opportunities among other things. 5 December 2011 Source: BuaNews
It remains to be seen which part of the exhibit “Climate Change: The Threat to Life and a New Energy Future” will make the bigger impression on visitors to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History: its exploration of changes to the earth’s oceans, ice sheets, land mass, weather patterns, and atmosphere, or the accompanying 2,500-sq.-ft. house that will be built to the Passivhaus standard on the museum grounds.More likely than not, “Climate Change,” a touring exhibit scheduled for display at the museum from July 23 through December 31, will leave many people thinking seriously about ways we can improve stewardship of the earth. But many of those same people also might be so impressed with the comfort, quiet, and performance of the Passivhaus home – which will be on display from June through September – they’ll never again be satisfied with a home built to code.That, at least, was one of the reasons for including the Passivhaus standard prominently in the display, said Evalyn Gates, the museum’s director.“I want to bring something in that really gets people’s attention and gets them thinking differently,” Gates told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.“If we could go to scale with this our dream would be that it creates an employment base for people,” added Chuck Miller, a partner at Doty & Miller Architects, which designed the house, known as SmartHome Cleveland.SmartHome’s journeyGates asked that the house be designed to fit in architecturally with homes in some of the city’s older communities, and Doty & Miller complied. Functionally, though, the plan is to incorporate all of the insulation, airtightness, HVAC requirements, and, when the house is moved to its permanent location after September, siting strategies needed to aim for certification by Passive House Institute U.S.The exterior wall system of the two-story three-bedroom house will feature structural insulated panels and provide, at a minimum, thermal resistance of R-55, according to the Doty & Miller detail drawings shown above. The second-floor ceiling will be insulated at least to R-75.The Plain Dealer notes that the house will be relocated to a neighborhood known as University Circle, in northeast Cleveland, where it will be sold for between $300,000 and $400,000 – a substantial discount from the expected $525,000 cost of the project, which was funded in part by a $40,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation, a museum-program investment of $250,000 that will be recovered upon the sale of the house, and a number of sponsors.Meanwhile, “Climate Change,” which was organized by the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with the Cleveland museum and several partners, will continue touring after it closes in Cleveland. The exhibit first opened at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City, in October 2008.