Category Archives: eco-friendly

Living buildings

Living BuildingVia GreenMuze – “Vancouver’s VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre will be the first building in Canada to have a living building certification when completed.”

As well as various other requirements, living buildings need to use zero net energy and water for one year in order to qualify for the certification.    It’s scheduled for completion in March 2011.

Big City Buzz – urban bee-keeping in Paris

bees in parisSomething that I had not yet contemplated  (via Treehugger and the BBC ).

Paris has been a pesticide-free zone for 10 years.  There are over 400 bee hives in the city.

It seems that these urban bees are very happy indeed. They have a far lower death-rate (3 – 5%) than their country cousins (30 – 40%).  Their honey yield is almost double.  Biodiversity also has a role to play – urban honey made in Paris contained more than 250 different pollens. Honey from the French countryside can contain as few as 15 or 20 pollens.  Sweet stuff …

Vertical self-watering rain harvesting garden for small spaces

Vertical garden self wateringDo you want a herb garden on a small patio or balcony that will water itself?  This would work – a  living green vertical wall.

I found it at Treehugger. It can harvest rainwater from a gutter down-pipe and the built-in tank can be topped up during dry spells.

Michael Tampilic  won a prize with his Vert Rain Terrace at the Rocket 2008 industrial design show.

Treehugger has an article on it here. We intend to experiment with ways and means to design and construct these delightful green walls.

Cold beer and ice for the G&T’s are mandatory off the grid

When living off the grid in the Klein Karoo on off the grid livinga part-time basis, this is non-negotiable.  Yes – he’s my real cousin and and he’s married to Cathy. I’ll start at the (almost) beginning, a year ago. John writes:

“I’m constructing the super-insulated coolbox of all super-insulated coolboxes, ever, is that cool or what? This one should keep ice for a week in full Karoo sun. It’s all in the thermodynamics, or rather, the lack of ? Thermo’s will not Dynamic into my beer, is the plan, which is important after digging pipe trenches.

Whooo hooo, tank delivered, water reticulation plan designed, now I is a-shoppin’ for pipe fittings and valves and other farmer-type stuff ! Who wants to ride shotgun to the farm? No canopy … if no human comes, Ushki (the dog) gets it ! A free night at my 5 trillion star bush camp ? going going… ”  I, for one, want the coolbox plans.

It’s Arbour Day – plant a tree!

Spring fever? 2010’s Tree of the Year is the Fever Tree (Acacia Xanthophloea). yellow fever tree It grows near stagnant water where malaria mosquitoes breed – hence the name.  Fever trees occur in low-lying swampy areas, margins of lakes and pans and along river banks. They attract a lot of bird species which make their nests in them, especially weavers. Fever trees grow at a phenomenal rate making it a favourite choice. Due to the invasive root system it should not be planted near buildings or paving.”

Yellow fever tree foliageYou’ll find a list of Trees of the Year both past and future (1975 to 2020)  on this page on Forestry South Africa’s website and further info on the tree itself on this page.

The Joburg website has a page with all the activities taking place over Arbour Week in Johannesburg and  more rather interesting information too. Right. Sun-hat on. Spade in hand.  Heading for the garden.

Happy Spring Day to all in the Southern Hemisphere!