Category Archives: sustainable

Hemp, hemp, the wonderful plant, the uses and the South African status thereof

-hemp-plant

image via wikipedia commons

We are rather fond of this plant. The non-psychoactive Cannabis species.  Sustainable.  Food, clothing, ropes, building – the list is long. Some history and uses of industrial hemp here, and more about the nutritional value of the seeds here – vegans take note.

The South African legal situation and business model regarding growing hemp appears to be in need of clarification. See here, here (.pdf) and here is more rather useful information.

hemp-leaves

image via wikipedia commons

Fortunately the plant has a champion in Tony Budden (Nominative determinism anyone?) of Hemporium SA. The site has an on-line shop and plenty of excellent information.  Inhabitat interviewed him, and here is more. We also enjoyed  this site. Find plenty of video goodness here about  building with hemp.

Is wood the greenest building material?

wood is sustainableTreehugger has a rather interesting article that takes another look at using wood as a building material.

With links in the article to Discovery News, Future Science, and a press release from the University of Washington  and self-explanatory graphs, it seems that there is not much  information that Mrs Green needs to add here.

A quote to take away: The authors propose ” growing wood as fast as possible, harvesting before tree growth begins to taper off and using the wood in place of products that are most fossil-fuel intensive.”

Clean water harvested from fog

In a mountainous area of South Africa’s Limpopo Province, water is harvested from fog-bearing winds.

The Tshiavha Primary School, with the aid of Liesel Dyson and researchers fromharvest-water-from-fog the University of Pretoria and the University of South Africa, has built a six-metre high net that traps 2,500 litres of water per day.  Tshiavha’s elevation faces the fog-bearing winds off the Indian Ocean which is several hundred kilometres away.

Three six-metre-high wooden poles are set up nine metres apart, and water drops are caught by a double layer of 30 percent shade cloth draped over steel cables that are stretched horizontally between the poles.  The water is collected in a gutter than runs along the bottom of the shade cloth and this channels the water into a storage tank.  Read more about it here.

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.