by Gillian Holl
Globally a new movement referred to as “flight-shaming” has taken shape. People around the world are coming together to ask the public (and especially business travellers) to opt for other modes of transportation (like rail). Flying contributes to over 2% of the earth’s carbon emissions. Alternative eco-friendly ways of travelling in and around South Africa isn’t as developed as it is in Europe or Britain for example. That’s why SA Travel Industry started an initiative to offset carbon instead: by planting spekboom. A single hectare of spekboom can rid four tonnes of carbon from the environment per year. The Spekboom project aims to educate people on how planting enough spekboom can eventually make flights into and from SA carbon-neutral.The building and construction industry and its related fields contribute towards 23% of the world’s carbon emissions. It makes me wonder why a movement such as “building-shaming” isn’t making headlines too? Perhaps because all of us are guilty of this…
The good news is sustainable building innovations in this field can bring down emissions drastically.
Something that is trending on this front, especially in cities overseas, is the use of green roofs. In fact, in some cities this is mandated policy. While green roofs aren’t “new”, it is most definitely brilliant. Something that city dwellers, businesses, those with limited yard space and even homes with large green scapes around them should all consider equally.
Apart from cleaning the air and producing oxygen, vegetation on roofs also:
- Cool down the environment: Green roofs offer shade and encourages evapotranspiration, which lowers temperatures by up to 3% in urban areas, fighting the urban heat island effect.
- Reduce energy requirements: Cooler, more insulated roofs means a more sustained indoor temperature during summer.
- Improve biodiversity: Green roofs attract birds and insect species to our cities, offices and homes. Biodiversity has a fundamental role to play in the food we eat and the water we drink.
- Filter rainwater: Green roofs can filter pollutants and heavy metals rainwater.
- Protect roofs: A vegetation carpet on your roof can also extend the life of your roof by protecting it from the elements.
Greener buildings and homes also have a massive positive effect on our emotional and physical well-being. You can make a difference where you live and where you work, simply by researching ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Why not plant a spekboom?
At Veld Architecture, it is one of our core beliefs to design buildings that are more sustainable. From something as simple as building orientation to more complex strategies such as eco pools, green roofs and making use of recycled materials – we aim to make buildings more eco-friendly. Sustainable building is the future of architecture, and our firm would love nothing more than to make your project reflect this.
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