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1st Sep 2022

Architect Africa Online

Africa's Leading Architecture Aggregator

Do it right, do it green, get it done

Team Mahali’s entry at the Future Energy Festival in Cape Town specified Thermguard’s cellulose fibre insulation.

A raft of building regulations were implemented in South Africa, aimed at ensuring the performance of materials and systems are used to achieve the reduction of the energy/carbon footprint of buildings, helping to attain global greenhouse gas emission targets to which SA is a signatory.

So, exactly what impact does this have on green building and its implementation on new builds and also retrofits? When it comes to achieving energy efficiency (and hence reducing emissions), there is no question as to the importance of passive climate control measures. They represent a once-off investment for a new build, or a retrofit done on demand to get immediate and effective energy saving and interior climate comfort for building occupants. Fitting of thermal insulation provides just such an opportunity, says an established natural products insulation supplier, Thermguard SA.

Here are some questions for the architect to ask of the insulation systems supplier prior to specifying a thermal insulation product:

Does the product and its installation contribute to a building’s qualification for a high level Energy Performance Certificate? Is the installer wised-up as to the requirements of this new building standard and do they have a plan for this?

  • Does the product add virtually nothing to the embedded carbon/energy footprint of the building as built? This requires that the manufacturing process be as low carbon and use as little water as possible at the place of manufacture.
  • Is the material being considered based on sustainable sources, for example timber, is it manufactured locally, leading to a lowering of its carbon footprint delivered on site, or is it imported?
  • Is the product compliant with the requirements of SANS10400-XA; and will it further comply with the enhanced requirements of the 2021/2022 version of this standard?
  • In cases of a retrofit, does the installer know what R-value is required under the building regulations and does that person have a solution to meet it?
  • Finally and very important: does the contractor install what the design calls for and is the installation neat and tidy without any spots left bare, allowing the escape or entry of heat?
  • Circular economy: Does the product support recycling during manufacture and at its end of life?

The above boxes all ticked will enable the professional to assess who is greenwashing and who is genuinely able to meet both climate and occupant comfort goals at the same time. “Thermguard cellulose fibre insulation is professionally installed and ticks all the above boxes with confidence,” says Eric Quarmby the CEO of Thermguard.

Case study: ‘Future Energy Festival’ Clean Green showhome

A collaboration between the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) and the City of Cape Town’s Future Energy Festival, the design called for a net zero carbon home for display and exhibition purposes. The challenge was to create this ‘mobile’ unit for a total construction cost of only R180 000. The unit also needed to be designed to be assembled on site in two days and should be easily constructed and deconstructed using simple fixings and flat pack, modular design elements. Transporting of the unit also needed to be considered.

The design for the net zero carbon home incorporates solar power generation, energy efficient appliances, passive cooling, rainwater harvesting and an edible food garden, according to the GBCSA press release.

Team Mahali, a group of recent graduates and young African professionals from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, designed the sustainable showhome.

A number of system suppliers ‘pitched’ to be included in this build, but in the end the net zero requirement and professional installation service offered by Thermguard resulted in the company’s cellulose fibre insulation being specified to facilitate passive control of interior climate.

The housing unit consists of two recycled shipping containers that are shielded from direct sunlight by a porous latticework of recycled wooden pallets, which allow the movement of air but provide shading to the walls. The unit is covered by an elevated IBR steel roof suspended over each container and interconnected by an array of PV panels which also allows the free movement of air. However, each container is highly effectively insulated inside the wall cavities and above the ceiling by Thermguard, who developed a special delivery process to get product in situ in the most energy-efficient way.

Syndicated content from Leading Architecture & Design


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