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Zero carbon for new buildings in SA cities

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Residents and businesses moving into new buildings in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Tshwane will soon enjoy lower energy bills, and will generate less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reducing their climate change impact.

High-efficiency energy performance requirements are being developed for all new buildings in these leading cities, thanks to their collaboration in the C40 Cities South Africa Buildings Programme. The ambition of the programme, launched this week in Tshwane, is to make zero carbon buildings the standard practice across South African cities.

The energy used to power, heat and operate buildings accounts for more than 25% of the GHG emissions produced by South African cities. Therefore, action to make buildings more energy efficient has huge potential to reduce GHG emissions. More than 70% of South Africans are expected to be living in cities by 2030. With growing urban populations comes increased demand for housing, commercial buildings, office space, schools, hospitals and other buildings. Ensuring these new buildings meet high-efficiency energy performance requirements will be crucial if cities and South Africa as a whole will deliver on its commitments to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Representatives from ten cities across C40’s global network have gathered in Tshwane this week to exchange best practice on building energy efficiency. The cities outside South Africa include, Boston, Chicago, Copenhagen, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro.

“South African cities are already seeing the effects of climate change, from the drought in Cape Town to the threat of rising seas and flooding in Durban,” said Mark Watts, Executive Director, C40. “Fortunately, mayors of these great cities are taking ambitious action today. Given the urgency of the climate threat, it is critical that all new buildings are constructed to the highest levels of energy performance. The bold leadership of these four mayors is setting the standard which the entire world can learn from. “

The Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Cllr Solly Msimanga, has fully embraced his role as the Mayor of the country’s “Green Capital” and his duty to put sustainability into practice as the foundation of responsible leadership. “Expect to see major shifts in our urban landscape through the C40 Cities South Africa Buildings Programme enhancing our Green Buildings Programme. Accelerated uptake of all available greening criteria will be the order of the day starting off with our very own infrastructure. It’s no coincidence that our municipal headquarters, Tshwane House, is a five-star Green-Rated building.”

“We are committed to making eThekwini Municipality the most caring and liveable city in Africa by 2030. Providing sustainable, accessible and energy efficient buildings is just one way we are delivering that commitment for our citizens. Our city contains some of the world’s leading experts on energy, building regulations and green buildings, and as such we are working hard to document our further learning during this programme to share with other C40 cities around the world.” said Mayor of Durban, Zandile Gumede.

The City of Cape Town is one of the leading cities in South Africa and globally in actively addressing climate change,” said Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille. “We recently adopted a Transit-Orientated Development Strategic Framework, to address the apartheid legacy of spatial inequality, high urbanisation rates and to improve the cost effectiveness of public transport. Our participation in the C40 South Africa Building Programme is a significant opportunity to enable the City to support lower carbon new build in infrastructure provision, energy efficient building design and clean energy supply and significantly reduced transport demand.  Through the programme, we aim to develop and begin implementing more ambitious new building energy performance requirements that will build the path to a resource efficient, carbon neutral and climate resilient city by 2050.”

Since 2007, more than 230 buildings have been certified to the Green Star South Africa sustainable building rating system, developed and managed by the Green Building Council South Africa. The C40 South Africa Buildings Programme will support cities to move sustainable, energy-efficient new building to scale to become the new standard practice.

C40, in partnership with Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA), will support the four cities through locally employed technical professionals. City officials will be able to share knowledge and collaborate with cities outside of South Africa, facilitated through C40’s global city networks. This exchange will bring best practices in energy efficient building policy and practices to the four cities as well sharing these with other cities in South Africa. The C40 South Africa Buildings Programme is funded by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and is part of the Building Energy 2020 Programme.

Cllr Msimanga is delighted that the conference is being held close to home, in fact within the green-rated municipal headquarters, and trusts that the event is a great success. “This conference must serve to harness participating cities’ collective energies to transform our urban environments as we intensify the urgency of climate action.”

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro matches camera benchmark record

A benchmark by DxOMark sees the triple-cam handset tie with the P20 Pro for best smartphone camera on the market.

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has come out top in a camera benchmark test that assesses all aspects of smartphone camera performance.

DxOMark, which conducts rigorous hardware testing and is trusted as an industry standard for image quality measurements, has just released the results of its in-depth analysis of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone camera. 

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the Chinese manufacturer’s latest top-end device. Building on the P20 Pro’s camera technology, the Mate 20 Pro comes with a Leica-branded triple-camera setup, but swaps its stable-mate’s monochrome camera for a super-wide-angle module, offering a 35mm-equivalent focal length range from 16 to 80mm—the widest of all current smartphone cameras.

The handset is in direct competition with the Apple iPhone XS Max, the Google Pixel 3 XL, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, among other. How does it fare?

“With a total photo score of 114, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro ties the record-setting score of its cousin, the P20 Pro,” says DxOMark. “The overall Photo score is calculated from sub-scores in tests that examine different aspects of its performance under different lighting conditions.”

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro achieves a photo score of 114 points. In stills mode, the Mate 20 Pro’s triple camera captures images with good target exposure and a wide dynamic range, recording both good highlight and shadow detail even in difficult high-contrast situations. Noise levels are well under control down to low light levels, and the camera’s white balance system and colour rendering settings produce a pleasant colour response in almost all circumstances.

At 97 points, the Mate 20 Pro is very close to the best for video as well, thanks to a fast and smooth autofocus system with good tracking performance, accurate white balance as well as pleasant colour rendering, and low levels of noise, especially in bright shooting conditions. Our testers also liked the exposure system’s ability to adapt quickly and smoothly to changes in illumination.

It was not all good news. DxOMark also had some criticism for the device.

Click here to read about the drawbacks of the Mate 20 Pro camera, and other positives.

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SA car wins
Dakar Rally

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The final stage of Dakar 2019 drew to a close at the bivouac in Pisco, Peru, and saw Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel bring home their South African-built Toyota Hilux for an historic victory. Not only was it a first win for Toyota, but it was also the first petrol-powered car to win the Dakar in the South-American era.

The Qatari driver ensured his French navigator, who turned 43 years old on Thursday, 17 January, received a great birthday present, when the pair arrived at the final time control of Dakar 2019 with teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in close formation. The two Toyota Hilux crews completed the entire stage together, as De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz waited nearly 55 minutes for the leaders to start the stage, in order to shadow them to the finish.

The emotions bubbled over for Team Principal Glyn Hall, who found himself without words as his two crews drove into the media area after the time control. “This victory was long overdue,” he finally managed, before being swamped in a sea of well-wishers.

The winning driver, however, was much more vocal: “We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team. Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA led Dakar 2019 from the first to the last stage, with Al Attiyah/Baumel drawing first blood, before handing the mantle to De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz during stage 2. But then a disastrous Stage 3 saw the Qatari retake the lead – a lead he didn’t relinquish despite some of the toughest stages yet seen on any South-American Dakar.

“When we first heard that the rally was going to take place only in one country, we were skeptical,” said Hall after regaining composure. “But the organisers made sure that this year’s race will long be remembered as one of the toughest tests in the last decade.”

Al Attiyah / Baumel’s victory at Dakar 2019 means that Toyota Gazoo Racing has now won both of the world’s toughest automotive races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the DakarRally.

Click here to read Glyn Hall’s comment on winning the Dakar Rally, as well as the rankings.

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