Why do it?

With some extra effort on our part our homes can provide us with a space that connects us to the pleasures of the natural world, keeping us in touch with the seasons and providing our families with a buffer against our fast paced lives. Eco-friendly homes are cleaner, more cost effective and more fun. They use less, do more, last longer, support your local community and help you to connect with the natural world. In the past 200 years the world’s population has increased from 1 billion to 6 billion people, and we are no longer predominantly rural communities but city livers who travel frequently. We consume vast quantities of fuel, natural materials, generating pollution, litter and waste on an unbelievable scale. As innocent t as our homes might seem, they are responsible for over half of the consumption and also harbor the causes of many diseases and illnesses. What makes an Eco Friendly home? Ecology is the study of how all living and non-living organisms interact with each other in eco-systems, while Friendly refers to good humor and a balanced state of mind when interacting. Ecofriendly can be defines as homes that consider the environment, our families and how it interacts with its surroundings, both immediate and far-reaching. In practice an ecofriendly home is one that questions the traditions of conventional construction, asking how can we tread more lightly on our natural resources and do it better? Making use of non-toxic materials that are easy to reuse, or recycle, a home that contains long lasting, multi-functional furniture; uses energy efficiently so it is cheap to run & is designed with natural lighting in mind. Simple measures like changing standard light bulbs; switching to gas; installing rainwater catchment systems; choosing wooden floors from responsible forested projects will save costs on monthly bills and give Mother Nature the break she so desperately needs!

The costs of ignoring the signs from the natural world are very high, but the personal cost of making changes to our own lives is relatively small. People and organizations are willing to help us make the changes, while governments are transforming policies to bring the green agenda to the top of the political pile.

We have approached Pam Golding Estates to conduct a green-evaluation costing on our home, as building a family green home is an investment with the potential to be evaluated at more that an normal home of the same size and finishes. We are all aware that there are some costs in going green that are more expensive, but if we can also understand that it is a better investment, more people will be enticed to go the planet friendly route.

A green-star evaluation will also accompany the home listing the materials and construction processes and providing an international recognized Rating.


Riaan & I made as many changes as possible I our current home, I refer to these changes as ‘green accessories’ that everyone people can install in their homes, saving money and starting on the path to become eco-friendly planet dwellers, but addressing the insusualtion aspects of your home’s structure and architecture is vital, which is the prompt for Riaan & I to build a bio-climatic home from scratch.

South Africa has pending new legislation that address the countries energy crisis and encompasses all new developments, commercially and residential, called SANS 204, which are architectural green guide-lines for consideration depending on the climatic zone you fall into. We are building in Muldersdrift which falls under Climatic Zone 1 – a temperate, interior climate. Sans 204 will not be used as is currently written – the efficiency requirements are being improved upon and written into the new National Building Regulations which should become law in the near future.

Our starting point was to find the right professionals that understood how to execute green building practices, and it is not good enough to just understanding the concepts on paper, ask for his architectural resume and previous green building experience. When interviewing architects and construction companies be clear on what you wish to achieve and how extensive you wish your green thinking to be implemented. Our choice was Anthony Papageorgiou Architects, who is a member of the SA Green building Council, to design a climatically responsive house broadly considering the sun, choice of materials, ventilation and recycling. These critical interventions can be applied to any conventional house regardless of stylist constraints. Your architecture should be considered holistically with cost effective construction and long term running costs kept in mind.

We looked long and hard to find the best possible building company, and Accolade Construction, listed with the SA Green Building Council, was our choice. From clean building site practices, to local and environmentally sustainable materials to insulation knowledge on which suppliers can deliver what, is vital advice to have as you tackle your dream home. Keith Van Der Linde, the CEO of Accolade told me at the on-set of construction, “green building is about equal parts science and ethics, but mostly it is about common sense!”

The building should be oriented with its major axis facing +/-15 degrees of north. As a rule of thumb, to ensure an adequate amount of passive winter heating, the northern glazing component required in latitudes similar to Pretoria for an optimum solar efficiency of 50%, is around 19% of the floor area. Light defines space and we felt it vital to understand how we can bring more natural light into the house and use artificial light more creatively and economically.

In the homes design, Anthony made use of thermal mass combined with envelope resistance to heat and general air tightness, all ultimately helping to reduce severe temperature deviations in the indoor climate of the building.

Rooms that require allot sunlight and lighting should be given façade preference. Uninhabited rooms like bathrooms can be located on the interior of the building or in less light exposure positions. Your architect must consider the geometry of spaces, whereby deeper rooms require larger windows for daylight penetration, more so than shallow rooms. Vertical windows allow for more daylight than similar horizontal windows placed at the same height.

According to law, naturally ventilated buildings should have an openable equivalent of at least 5% of the floor space. In warmer climates this can be increased to 10%. The ability of a buildings envelope to withstand air movement is vital for its comfort levels and energy efficiency. Careful detailing, the selection of components and a high level of build quality can be used to enable the occupants to regulate air movement and flow. The more airtight a building is the more humidity could become a problem. Breathing wall designs and absorptive materials such as plasterboard located on interior surfaces can help to regulate humidity.


Half of the energy consumed in the home is used for heating but with careful consultation with your architect a good design can half your heating costs. In cities the best heating to have are gas fired ones, never use electricity for heating unless it comes form a renewable resource like the sun, as it creates 3x as much carbon dioxide. Open coal or wood burning fires are also less efficient not to mention polluting, so avoid these as well. The best eco-option is solar panels which will be discussed in detail later in this synopsis.

Just like a warm coat a home needs to be well insulated with tight-fitting openings. The cost of insulating your home will depend on how it was originally built. Simple techniques such as roof insulation will pay back in a year or two, while major renovations like double glazing will take longer to recoup. The benefits in terms of comfort, energy saving and ecological responsibility are well worth considering, as we have done.

The performance of a building is partly determined by the properties of the enclosing envelope. A U-Value is the thermal conductance of a material and inversely an R-Value is the thermal resistance. In general the best

solution is a LOW U-Value and a HIGH R-Value, preventing heat gain & loss from outside to inside the home. Ask your architect to consider thermal mass which are the components of the building used to store heat in winter and coolness in summer so that savings can be made in the use of mechanical interventions needed to equalize day / night temperature fluctuations.

Creepers and vegetation close to the envelope help increased the size and stability of the external air film adjacent to the outside walls increasing the home’s R-Values (thermal resistance).

The primary rule of thumb is to insulate not only the ceiling, a common practice in construction, but to address insulation in the floors and walls. In our chosen climatic zone of Muldersdrift, SANS 204 recommends 40mm thick polystyrene built into cavity walls and flooring – creating the ‘cooler box’ and airtight effect for your home structure. We approached the company SAINT GOBAIN to assist with providing the materials for wall & floor insulation, and found the service and green knowledge to be extensive and all encompassing. Insulating your walls can reduce your heating bills by up to 30%, and while not an environmentally benign process, the resulting reduction in heat consumption and energy expenditure make it a good long-term option.

The building of our bio-climatic home has ignited an exciting first in South Africa, with SWARTLAND Window frames. Up till now, we South Africans could only buy double glazing windows framed in aluminum, but metal is a poor insulator. It is pointless having double glazing glass and insulated walls, floors and ceilings when heat is being conducted outwards thru the metal window frames. Through this project Swartland have research and created a design of double glazing window frames using timbre – a renewable natural resource that is planet friendly as forests provide oxygen while trees are growing. These windows are now available for purchase as of January 2010.

Bear in mind that nothing is truly green; it is about educating yourself on asking the right questions to the company concerned. Yes, wood is renewable resource but it is one of those natural resources used at a much faster rate than it grows. Reducing the number of trees on earth affects air quality and has an influence on global warming. Use as little wood as possible; use recycled timbre or make sure that the timbre you do use comes from an ethically managed plantation which only releases timbre at the same rate that it is being produced.

Very innovative timbre alternatives are being developed today, such as composite wood made from reclaimed hardwood sawdust, and plastic formed from the plastic waste-stream. Riaan and I have chosen to go for roof trusses from MITEK made from recycled aluminum – we have chosen metal versus timbre roof trusses, as they are light gauge steel and require just one drive to site for delivery, plus the factory is near the site location reducing the carbon footprint of MITEK’s delivery.

To justify the energy and materials that go into construction, a green building has to be built to last. It should use materials with low bodied energy (ideally recycled or reclaimed), that can easily be reused, and waste should be minimized during the construction process. The structure should be strong, resilient and adaptable to changes of use over time.

Building this same bio-climatic home will be a different experience in 2 years time, as the South African construction industry rushes to catch up with international norms. To build our average bio-climatic family home, we have worked with current available materials that are accessible to everyone.

We have chosen face brick from COROBRIK – baked clay just like our forefathers were living in. And investigating the green practices of the company like rejuvenation of quarry sites, usage of rain water catchment & recycling programmes in their factories to ethical employee practices. Delivery and packaging have been primary in Corobrik’s green drive, by eliminating plastic to wrap the bricks in and rather just making use of simple box package straps.

Which in Michelle Garforth-Venter’s world of conservation, comes with a red alert warning: please cut the ‘round’ shape of the plastic box package straps on delivery before throwing away, as these package straps kill

thousands of marine animals every year. The animals swim into the ‘round’ and as the animal grows the package strap will choke them, as they do not have hands to remove the noose from their necks. We have removed straps from shark’s in KZN to seals in Alaska – a painful and prolonged death that can be avoided just by breaking the round shape of a box package strap.

From a concrete perspective, LA FARGE is a company that are all about sustainability, which means surviving and thriving without damaging Mother Nature, being responsible thinkers in how we are using natural resources. La Farge cement is based on using fly-ash – which is a waste product from burning coal. And the ethic is to reduce their use of non renewable resources, reduce carbon emissions during manufacture and cut back on what is being sent to landfill sites. Named on the list of Global 100 most sustainable corporations in the world, we have been really impressed with their commitment to changing the traditional way of construction. I’m often asked about why we did not build with hay-bales and car tires, and our aim is to build a family home that is accessible to all South African’s in terms of materials currently available for purchase. Straw-bale buildings from wheat, oats, barley & other grains boast super-insulated walls. Properly constructed and maintained, straw-bale walls covered with stucco exterior and plaster interior prove water-resistant, fire-resistant and pest proof, but at this time the option is simply not available. There are alternative building materials that are becoming more mainstream as the market gets turned onto the values of green building practices like, steel frame housing with Hemp insulation and new tech boards, polystyrene bricks filled with concrete (that uses fly-ash which is a by-product of burning coal) and plastering sand bags. But remember, we are choosing to build in a fashion that is accessible to everyone – a green family home that you can start building tomorrow.


The building lifecycle from construction to demolition is responsible for 40% of the energy consumed in a country. To save us money and the to ease the nation’s electricity burden, we are making use of solar water heating and photovoltaic panels, to get us off-the-grid.

There are 2 main ways of harnessing the sun’s energy and both options are available in South Africa: solar thermal panels absorb heat which is stored as hot water, and photovoltaic cell panels (PV’s) convert sunlight into electricity. Our bio-climatic home is entirely off-the-grid, and we will be installing both options through a company named SAFRELEC. We have done extensive research and our choice of SAFRELEC is due to their being able to offer clients payment structures, so Riaan & I are able to take whatever our monthly payments are to Eskom and covert this rather to paying off our own sustainable home investment. A good decision both for the country and for the environment, as Eskom are not able to sustain the increased power needs of a growing population, without contemplating the building of yet another nuclear power station.

We have provided a flat roof space on both the house and the garage, and will be planting veldt grass under all the panels to ensure they function at optimum productivity. If the panels are laid on a hot surface they are up to 35% less effective, hence growing a base that will absorb heat. A turf roof is the best insulation and this is one of the roofing finishes that will be highly encourage in the estate we are building at – Le Jardin.

The payment structures work in the following way: if the customer wants to rent a 150 litre Solar Water Heating System, the normal retail price with installation costs included will be about R 13400, with the rebate from Eskom set at R4900 and it is clear from the below calculator that the monthly rental will be R531.71 over 36 months, R445.68 over 48 months and R396.37 financed over 60 months. In most cases the customer’s electricity costs incurred by the current electrical geysers are far more than the monthly rental that will be payable if a SWH system was financed this way. As from April 2010 with the expected 35% increase in electricity prices, the monthly rentals of a financed SWH system will be by far cheaper than the customers electricity costs incurred by a electrical geyser.

Every day 8, 000 times more energy than we currently use reaches us from the sun!

Only around 40 million homes worldwide currently get hot water from solar thermal panels, but considering one of the major advantages of thermal and photovoltaic’s is to bring improved living to remote communities that are not linked to a supply grid, this is the perfect solution for our country. Both Riaan & I are motivating government to make solar energy a prerequisite in all new RDP developments.

We are proudly off-the-grid, and would ideally also like to be taking care of our black-water (sewage processing) – but it is too complicated at this time and we will tackle it on the next house. From the estate developer’s side: regarding the balance of services, council would not not allow the estate to treat our own black water on such a small scale. As the Estate has a council connection and with all the legislation controlling this, centralized processing is easier.

However, when you see in what bad shape some of the municipal plants are, it makes you wonder, so Avianto is currently investigating the concept of treating the sewage for the further proposed phases of the estate with anaerobic digestion and using the methane produced from this to generate the power required for the proposed new spa at Avianto. Generating electricity by running a gas turbine produces hot water as a by product, this is normally a waste byproduct discharged via large cooling towers but with onsite treatment, this hot water is great for use in the spa complex.

Out of Interest, one of the worst municipalities in SA is in Kimberley, adjacent to Kamfers dam where the critically endangered lesser flamingoes are breeding – only one of 4 sites in the world where this rare bird can be found. Raw sewage has been running into the waterway for the past 2 years, despite Carte Blanche (M-Net) and Wild Ltd (SABC 2) running stories about this dire situation.


Energy efficient bulbs have come a long way, they are green, clean and last up to 6, 000 hours, and this is in comparison to 1, 000 hours with an incandescent bulb. But whether you are choosing LED’s or CFL’s you will save a significant amount of money on your home energy bill.

90% of all households use incandescent or tungsten bulbs. These consume a quarter of all the electricity needed in a home, yet they produce 9x more heat than light, making them little more than efficient electric heaters that also happens to glow a little!

CFL’s or Compact Fluorescent bulbs last 6x longer, and they might initially cost a little bit more, but changing just 1x 60W tungsten bulb for an equivalent CFL can save you R14.19 per month, R50.27 a year, and R251.35 over it’s lifetime. Changing just 1 x 60W tungsten bulb will reduce carbon emissions by 185kg’s and changing just 1x 60W tungsten bulb will reduce mercury released into the environment by 40%.

Bear in mind that CFL’s have a minuscule amount of mercury vapor inside (about the size of a pin-head) which is only released if broken, so when disposed of, the mercury will contaminate our water table. I suggest when the CFL bulb is dead; make sure you recycle it by placing it in a zip-lock bag and disposing at a suitable recycle station. LED’s do not contain mercury.

In our new house we will be installing a combination of both, as LED’s are now available in a warm light, which is ideal for accent lighting and lasts 10 times longer than the CFL’s. The LED’s come with screw bases and pin bases, perfect for primary light fixtures and track & recess lighting, plus LED’s have dimming devices attached. CFL’s start almost instantaneously and have color rendering similar to tungsten bulbs so that they generate a warmer light instead of the traditional blue, cool light. They fit most light fittings but very few are suitable for dimmers, so it is best to use a number of small light fittings around a room to create pools of light that suite the mood.

Energy-saving bulbs can replace just about every light in your home including tungsten halogen spotlights, down-lighters & dimmable varieties. When researching our options I was blown away by the available range – there are small & big round bulbs, squiggly bulbs, exterior and an interior bulb, the list is endless and suitable for placement throughout your home. In my research EUROLUX have the most extensive range available.

By changing your home to CFL’s and LED bulbs you will not only create amore attractive and varied home, but will also reduce your electricity bills, prevent the manufacture of energy consuming conventional lightbulbs and reduce carbon dioxide output from power stations by around 1, 500kg’s per year. But however you light your home, always turn off the lights when they are not needed.

In June 2007, an estimated 2 million light bulbs were turned off around London, showing how much energy is wasted by leaving lights on. In 1 hour about 750MWh was saved – enough to run 3, 000 TV’s for a year. In 2009 for the first time, South Africa joined the world in turning off the lights for an hour in the Earth Hour initiative, and the same black out will take place in 2010 – join in and turn off air-conditioning systems in hotels, primary lights in big buildings and small homes.


Our inspiration has been born out of spending time in wild spaces and realizing the Planet is in a desperate situation, we asked what we can do to make a difference. It has resulted in an entire revamp in our lifestyle and the building of a home.

Riaan discovered a company in Cape Town, OXYGENICS that have a very effective energy-saving shower head, we have installed them in the current home we are living in, and the showerheads have contributed to a monthly saving of around R600 on our current Eskom electricity bill. A traditional showerhead uses 25 liters of water per minute, and the OXYGENICS one uses only 9 liters per minute without reducing the power of flow. The feature I like most is that the showerhead has a small lever that enables you to turn off the flow at the head to shave your legs or wash your hair, and this does not have to be done at the taps, interrupting your hot water supply. Think of all the liters of water you waste, and in effect your hard earned salaries, buy letting the water run while you do these mundane tasks. And the same goes for something as simple as not letting the tap run while you brush your teeth, a glass of water is more than enough to swish away the plaque.

Correct water pressures and use of water meters allow a more accurate monitoring of water consumption in a home. The correct placement of water heating systems can virtually eliminate water wastage from people waiting for water to get hot. Where this is not possible, correctly insulating hot pipes will reduce wastage. The other option is to keep a well placed bucket near the shower and allow the cold water to run into the bucket as the water warms up. This water does not get wasted down the drain but can be thrown over your vegetables.

Also assisting us with monthly savings is a the small but effective geyser wise – a gadget that is installed on home / business geysers that allows your water to be heated up only during peak hours, but does not go down to zero in between, as more energy is required to take it from zero to an effective temperature of 55 degrees Celsius. By using a geyser wise you can choose when you want your water to be warm, and can even turn the geyser off when departing for holiday, and via your cell phone re-activate the geyser so that by the time you arrive home the water is heated and ready for your hot shower.

Another water enhancing trick is to build with permeable paving, the usage is preferable as it will prevent huge run-off into municipal storm water systems which are costly to expand and maintain. Rather allow the rain water to naturally seep down to water-table level. We have made use of a permeable concrete mix for our drive-away (permeable has to do with the ratio / mix of cement), and the Estate will also be doing so in the primary thorough fares to ensure as little run-off and water wastage as possible. In our current space of domestic bliss we removed all thirsty exotic plants (and re-versioned them by donating to the complex gardens) and replaced them with an indigenous selection for the Gauteng region featuring

drought resistant aloes and thorn trees, and it was amazing, within 24 hours, we had visiting birds, bees and butterflies! It was a conscious decision on our part to give biodiversity a helping hand and bring wildlife into our garden. All suburban gardens are an incredible haven and vital network for wildlife in major cities. Animals and eco-systems have lost feeding and breeding sits as a result of intensive farming that makes use of pesticides, & unthinking city developers who do not build with the environment in mind. Creatures like bees, moths & butterflies, birds and frogs rely on our gardens for their survival. Even if you only have roof space or patio space available, consider growing flowering plants and creepers in pots to provide a source of nectar for insects and invertebrates. We have provided nectar-rich flowers for insects and their larvae to feed on, and bark for insects to live in and lichens and mosses to grow on. A layer of leaves at the base of trees provides the perfect environment for slugs, snails and spiders – and the birds are grateful for their daily supplement feed of seed and fruit scraps.

I am bursting with excitement of taking it one step further in our new home, and we are choosing to have only a single round patch of green grass for aesthetic jolt, with the majority garden planted with wild flowers and veldt grasses typical to the Muldersdrift area. A large vegetable garden, fruit trees and a drip irrigation system will also be included. Riaan’s favorite is training a fig tree against a wall, so this fruit producing tree will become a feature, along with gape vines, apple trees and apricot trees.

The complex Le Jardin are making all pavements frog friendly by ensuring the pavements are low enough to hop up on, and in keeping with this we are going with open palisaed fencing creating free-movement pathways so frogs can hop from garden to garden and not be restricted by sheer walls. Frog populations in South Africa are in dire straights with extinctions happening on our generations watch and building with declining species in mind is vital for population growths. After all, when was the last time you lay in be at night and heard the melody of frogs singing?

We are also building a natural pond or pool that has a specialized filtration system that means we do not have to make use of any chlorine or salt chlorinators. The water is pumped through 3x wetlands created on the property, with a UV Light in the pump that will kill any bad bacteria. The water is so clean that you can swim in it and drink it, and we will establish a wet garden in and around the pond’s periphery with reeds and water lilies. Bear in mind, we are building in a green complex and our stand is only 1, 500 square meters – not a huge area, and again, we are creating green living that is accessible to everyone.


Our bio-climatic home has both rain water catchment systems & grey water recycling. Since 1950 the human population has more than doubled and its water use has tripled, while the amount of available freshwater has stayed almost the same. Making sure that everyone has enough clean, safe drinking water is one of the biggest challenges we face in a fast developing South Africa. A house with a 100msq of roof space and an annual rainfall of 500mm has a rainfall harvesting capacity of around 50, 000 liters. A house with grey water systems will consume 50% potable water, and flow reducing valves on taps (6 Liters per minute) and showerheads (9 liters per minute) can further reduce this amount. The instillation of water-saving toilets is also a pre-requisite when building new.

Grey water piping comes from all our showers and washbasins and is processed thru a BIOLYTIX system that employs thousands of composting worms to eat or recycle any hair or debris that will be present in the water. The worms act as filters and the water will be pumped for usage into the indigenous garden and for washing cars. It is vital to only use biodegradable bath and shower products that are chemical free – and the top 3 dodgy chemicals to avoid at all costs are Parabens, Phthalates and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). Unfortunately the most questionable are the most widely used, these chemicals are estrogen mimickers manifesting with birth defects, skin irritations like eczema and links to cancer. Experts say that currently we are exposed to 500 times more chemicals than our forefathers were in the 1940’s.

It is not advisable to hook your dishwashing machine or kitchen basin to your grey water system, as there are fatty food particles from cleaning plates that will wash into the tanks, and become smelly. There are other more effective ways to process food waste or wet waste, through composting wormeries, interior composting bins and In-sink-erators (food grinders installed in your kitchen sink) that are available in South Africa as part of the green accessory range I have prior suggested.


Worm composting is also known as vermiculture and worms are king in our home, not only working in the grey-water system but also working for the garden. The unlikely house-mates provide essential garden and home services in return for their favorite meals of butternut and egg shells. Our pet invertebrates filter the water in grey-water systems by eating debris like hair and skin flushed from shower & bath water. Fresh food waste like carrot tops and tomatoes ends are used in the wormery bins to generate a ‘liquid gold’ – worm pee to spray over your vegetable and herb garden, lessening the need for pesticides. Our composting worms in the wormeries really do not like lemon or citrus fruit, proteins or diary from meat, fish to chicken, no garlic or onion either. So make sure these food scraps never get tossed into their bin, like salad that has been dosed in oily dressing, only fresh vegetables and fruit peels.

Not just any worms are used, Red Wrigglers or Kariba worms are the preferred composter species – and you might ask why not the common earthworm? Earthworms are great burrowers and excellent soil aerators but will not digest organic matter and leave behind worm castings, which is what we want.

You can use your compost immediately or store it for use next season. The compost can be directly mixed with your potting soil or garden soil making nutrients available to plants. Or use the compost as a top dressing for in-door plants. Make sure that you do not dig the working worms out of your womery when lifting compost, keep the composting worms in the bin, and not in your garden as they will die quickly, being eaten by birds, drying out in the hot SA sun – remember they live in top soil unlike earthworms that will burrow deep.

To use the liquid gold (or worm pee), simply add a ratio of 1 – 2 of worm pee to water, and spray on your plants you normally would. The resulting mix provides great extra nutrients for your plants growth – our spring onions are the size of leaks thanks to worm juice!

Our Rain Water catchment system has been created by my handy D.I.Y husband, Riaan, after a process of elimination. He has chosen to make use of 3x 5, 000 liter Jo-jo tanks that are re-enforced on the inside with galvanized piping, so that the pressure of the outside soil does not collapse the plastic structure. The rain water tanks will be buried in the ground and not elevated as one often sees in farming communities. Our architect, included in the plans, that all down pipes from the house gutters are connected to flow under ground to these Jo-jo tanks. Remember to include grey water systems in your brief to the architect up-front.

The house will be a show house from May 2010 (when building is completed) till January 2011, when we will officially move in. The reason for this is to have the home as a place of demonstration and education for those who are inspired to do the same.


No soil has been removed from our site, when we dug the foundations; we retained all that soil on site and will be using it as top soil when we start landscaping. The sand in the area / development is also going to mixed with cement to plaster the interior walls and some exterior walls as visual highlights, it is a lovely red clay soil that will mix up into an interesting color base.

The majority our the site is veldt grass which cannot be transplanted but will be retained where possible and replanted from seed in areas were retention is not achieved. The sensitive indigenous features have been identified and excluded from both individual and estate development and will become part of the green

spaces surrounding all the stands. These green belts within the Estate are not your typical large grassed invasive kikuyu parks but rather a combination of a heavily indigenous-treed walkway, indigenous plantings, veldt grass and of course a few large play area’s grassed with an indigenous grass. The river area is seriously invaded by exotics and the developers will be rehabilitating this beautiful feature.

Rainwater collection is compulsory for all homes in the development, it not only makes sense for the home owner to irrigate with this free water, and it also reduces the run-off into the rivers attenuating the flood peaks. Current SA legislation requires developers to put in retention ponds to achieve this storm water attenuation but it’s far better first filling rainwater tanks where it can be reused for irrigation and topping up the pool.

We started construction in August 2009, and are planning to be finished by May 2010. Accolade Construction has taken up the challenge of green building and in fact are 2 weeks ahead of schedule. We plan to move in at the end of 2010, offering the house as a place of education for others who are interested in following suite.

The bio-climatic home will become the location for green workshops on a weekly basis, to share the learning and knowledge gained during the process of building, and guiding as to green lifestyle tips and skills.

The Love & Mortar Home Décor and Interiors: a contemporary interpretation of French Provençal

LOVE & MORTAR is the exciting new 30 part half hour reality/documentary series featuring South Africa’s favourite eco-couple, Michelle and Riaan Garforth-Venter in their quest to build their ultimate green home. In this television first, the couple invite you, the viewers, into their lives, revealing how they juggle their busy careers and schedules, all with the daunting task of building and furnishing their first bio-climatic family home.

The series intercuts between reality and documentary styles, educating the audience about alternative building choices and eco-friendly lifestyle options maximising entertainment and green learning.

The design of the interiors:

Sustainable design is the art of designing physical objects and the built environment to comply with the principles of economic, social, and ecological sustainability. It ranges from the microcosm of designing small objects for everyday use, through to the macrocosm of designing buildings, cities, and the earth’s physical surface. It is a growing trend within the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, engineering, graphic design, industrial design, interior design and fashion design.

The needed aim of sustainable design is to produce places, products and services in a way that reduces the use of non-renewable resources, minimizes environmental impact, and relates people with the natural environment. Sustainable design is often viewed as a necessary tool for achieving sustainability. It is related to the more heavy-industry-focused fields of industrial ecology and green chemistry, sharing tools such as life cycle assessment to judge the environmental impact or “greenness” of various design choices

The role players for décor and interior design of the Love & Mortar home:

Caroline de Freitas, Sublime Interiors

Owner of Sublime Interiors, Caroline de Freitas, achieved her higher diploma in Interior Design from the Calder School of Interior Design and has been in the industry since 2001. Sublime Interiors has a signature style that comes through in all the projects they undertake, always working on the brief supplied by the client with the end result reflecting not only the client’s lifestyle but personality as well. Sublime Interiors has done numerous homes both locally and abroad and the themes have varied in accordance to the client’s briefs and lifestyles.

Will van der Watt, Ideate (ID8) Interior Design

Will van der Watt studied architecture and graduated in 1997. Will worked for an architectural practice in the Eastern Cape before moving to Johannesburg, to work for Manas Design & Detail as junior interior designer. He later moved to the project management department after studying Project Management and headed up the project management division before leaving to join IN2 Construction.

At IN2 Construction he was responsible for the architectural design and project management for up market residential developments in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. Will spent a year with Stefan Antoni Architects in Cape Town before joining Aurelio Cimato of CM Architects Incorporated where Will has been for the last five years.

Heading up ID8 Interior Design as a branch of the well-established and published CM Architects Incorporated, with partners Aurelio Cimato and Adriano Moroldo.

“Design is not a profession, it’s a lifestyle” – anonymous

Will and ID8 have designed a selection of contemporary and custom furniture for the Love & Mortar home in conjunction with Caroline de Freitas to showcase both Riaan and Michelle’s unique styles and passions.

Why we picked ID8:

Green thinking is about looking at the ‘cradle to grave’ history of the product – ID8 manufacture in Johannesburg, reducing the distance that the pieces have had to travel to the home, in turn reducing the cardbon footprint of the piece of furniture – ID8 also specialise in Bamboo and Steel. Bamboo is a renewable resource and steel is recyclable. All glues used on the furniture are formaldehyde free and all stains are water based.

Block and Chisel

Over the last 18 years, Block & Chisel Interiors built a reputation as one of Cape Town’s most prolific and respected interiors stores.

Their Wynberg Village store offers a unique, retail experience, weaving together different room settings that meander through a beautifully restored corner cottage. Local or imported – from Europe, The East or Africa – you’ll want to take the entire shop home with you, as it is! But that’s not all; we’ve also opened up our ‘Warehouse’ at 26 Estmil Rd Dieperiver. ‘The Warehouse Experience’ offers rows and rows of product – chairs, tables, cupboards, beds, bedsides, lights, accessories – the thousands of items are almost endless. In September 2007 they opened their Knysna store, located at 11 Clyde Street, just off the Main High Street. The store follows the same theme and outlook as the Wynberg Village store, providing access to those who live along the Garden Route, from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth. By far the largest Block and Chisel store is the Johannesburg store which opened in June 2008. The store offers a high-gloss, lacquered look with opulent chandeliers, lamps with crystals and Venetian mirrors, suited perfectly for your lavish and charismatic lifestyle. Block and Chisel invite you to come and experience this stores sensational products and fabulous ambience, and be inspired to create lots of charm and interest in your own space. Throughout, there is still one common denominator that remains – the product is classic, sophisticated and unique, and Block and Chisel customers still continue to arrive in their droves, to roam the vast warehouse space in pursuit of something interesting and different.

Block and Chisel are supplying some of the French Provençal pieces that will give this home’s French Provençal feel.

Why we picked Block and Chisel:

Block and Chisel work with reclaimed furniture, as well as pieces that are beautifully manufactured that will last you a lifetime. Again, distance that the furniture has had to travel has been taken into account, and all pieces were manufactured in Johannesburg thus reducing the carbon footprint of the pieces chosen for the home.

Peter JA Stuart

Peter J.A. Stuart (Pty) Ltd is a major importer of high quality furniture. They specialize in chairs, tables, consoles and cabinets. The company is over thirty years old, and has built a respected reputation for offering quality products to the South African market. The company offers a vast range of over 3,000 products, giving our client’s the largest range and choice in South Africa. They have branches in Durban and Cape Town, and distributors in Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein. They have a factory linked to their main warehouse, which offers a wide variety of staining options for our clients. You simply choose a chair or table in the raw, and they stain it in a colour of your choice. They also upholster our chairs to your specification.

Why we picked Peter JA Stuart:

Although some items in the Peter JA Stuart are imported, a large number of the items are only completed once in South Africa – the frames for the chairs arrive without upholstery and stains and these pieces are completed according to the client’s specification – again all pieces chosen were manufactured in Johannesburg reducing the carbon footprint of the piece. Fabrics chosen are also the better choice, going for natural silks (silk being a renewable resource) and leather.

High Thorn

High Thorn’s products are often inspired by traditional African designs and adapted to suit a contemporary style. They pride themselves on our originality and uniqueness.

Each product is hand-made by a group of men and women in Pietermarizburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The employees at High Thorn are encouraged to take responsibility for each order that is allocated to them and we hope that this responsibility will transcend into their daily lives. The beadwork is done by a team of previously disadvantaged women who are usually the sole providers for their families. The organisation is structured in such a way that the ladies work for themselves. It is headed by an extremely talented woman who gets satisfaction out of helping people learn how to help themselves.

Why we picked High Thorn:

The items selected from High Thorn are not only truly African but make use of natural materials such as leather and invader wood. Through these pieces we have been able to give back to a community and empower people.

Milk Deco – contemporary furniture and décor for the nursery or children’s room

Milk Deco supplies a unique contemporary range of baby furniture, toddler furniture and accessories all designed by Candice Brophy of CB Designs. She studied Architecture at Wits University and when she became a mother she saw that there was a gap in the market for modern, functional and eco friendly baby furniture. And so she began designing!

Milk Deco strives on its designs being unique and in line with international standards. We want to create unique nursery’s that are baby friendly, affordable and that parents enjoy, since they will be the ones spending a reasonable amount of time in them! They also do their best to create ‘green’ designs that are environmentally friendly! They use a combination of Eco board, Veneers and solid wood. Their paints are lead free and non toxic and cots are all designed with safety as a number one priority!

Our linen is 300 thread count 100% white cotton with embroided themes on it. We supply everything from duvet covers, bumpers to fitted sheets. Some of our ranges are Baa Baa Black Sheep, Dandelions, Whimsical and circles.

We also have mohair and wool baby blankets out patch style blanket is made with mohair and bamboo fibers and is an extra large baby blanket meaning it can be kept and used into adulthood.

Our stuffed felt animals are handmade by one of our designers, Nazreen,they are about 25cm tall and will give any nursery great character.

We deliver throughout South Africa using a reputable logistics company who’s pricing is reasonable. We prefer to ship items assembled and crated.

All our furniture is designed to be flat packed for easy shipping.

All players and pieces have been selected in accordance with the following criteria:

 Sustainability

 Use of renewable or recyclable materials

We are available on site on the 28th and 29th of June 2010 from 08h30 to 15h30 to view the property. Please contact Lance Liebenberg on 0741809620 or Bronwyn Lapperts from the PR Team on 021 419290 to set up a meeting.

For all Media and interior & décor enquiries please contact

Lance Liebenberg Publicity, PR and Marketing Setsebi Productions Email: lance@setsebi.tv Office: 011 023 9101 Mobile: 074 180 9620

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