Is government intervention hampering private investment into East-African renewables?

Many experts believe the contribution of governments within East-Africa is slowing the speed of growth in the renewable energies sector. Government involvement in the design, development and operation of mini-grids is deterring potential private investments; private investments into East-African renewable energies were predicted to surge in recent years but this has not been the case.
Experts from within the sector are pointing the finger at government agencies that are crowding out the developers using legal and political tools that are in need of reforms. Private companies have indeed shown an interest in investing but they have insisted the power and subsidies given to government companies need addressing if their investment is to be warranted.
Kenya’s ministry of energy has said that overall electricity access has increased within the country from 23 percent in 2009 to 50 percent in 2015; however, the unequal distribution of this electricity is still highly prevalent with much of northern Kenya still deprived of such resource. Regions such as northern Kenya have access of about 5 percent. It says eight out of the 20 poorest parliamentary constituencies “where 74 percent to 97 percent of people live below poverty line” are found in this northern region.
A number of renewable energies companies would happily address this problem, through investment into the northern and other neglected territories of Kenya, however, the unfair position of power given to Kenya’s Rural Electrification Authority (REA), just completely deters these prospective companies.

In countries such as Kenya, which has such vast areas which do not have access to any electricity, mini-grids are definitely a better option to grid extension; it provides better quality and more reliable electricity to remote areas.

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Africa is becoming a renewable energies headquarters!

The West-African country of Senegal has recently begun the construction of a major solar farm in the sub-Saharan desert, it is a 20MW project located in Bokhol and is called ‘Senergy2’. The project is estimated to cost $28 million and is going to be developed by French renewable energy platform – Greenwish Partners, which dedicates much of its work to sub-Saharan projects. Senergy2 was also financially backed by the Senegalese state; with financial support from the UK and Norway through their joint investment vehicle Green Africa Power, according to local news
When completed and operating at full capacity, it’s predicted that 160’000 people will have access to clean power, a move that will drastically increase the countries chances of 20% renewables by 2017. “With no energy, there can be neither growth nor development. With the Bokhol facility, we are now able to take a new step and Senegal comes unreservedly into a new, clean energy period,” said President Macky Sall.

Senegal is eager to attain a position as one of the continent’s leading countries in renewable energy production, as well as positioning itself as the leader in West Africa; currently, South Africa and Morocco are the flagbearers for the continent.

 

How drones are revolutionizing the construction industry

Drones have been one of the fastest growing phenomenon’s in the last few years, both in terms of private and commercial use. To be the expansion into context, back in 2012 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimated that by 2012, 30’000 drones will be operating in US airspace; at this current time (2016) around 2.5 million drones are operational in the United States, of which 500’000 are being used commercially. Unsurprisingly, the FAA has since revised their forecast and now predicts the country will have 7 million drones in the air by 2020.
Many believe drones are the next step in the process of the ‘industrial revolution’. Before the availability of the modern cranes and industrial equipment, we rely so heavily upon today, laborers would be forced to complete every single job on the construction site by hand. Jobs that today take months to complete would have in years gone by taken years, and in maybe 20 years time, the jobs we see today taking months could take weeks, thanks to the use of drones.
Assessing the earth for the foundations of construction is also something that a drone can be considerably more efficient for. Traditional land survey equipment gets the job done and provides accurate results, however, when the apt software is installed into a drone, it will also attain accurate result but it will complete the job in a time 85-percent quicker at a cost of 10 times cheaper than traditional methods.
Furthermore, the job a project manager is also made fundamentally easier through the assistance of drones. In years gone by builders manually assessed project dimensions, which would predominantly be unreliable, timely and costly.  By using drone data tools, the drone can automatically measure essential projects components, such as stockpile volumetric, whilst also sending instant feedback to the project manager who can begin analysis.
Drones are becoming increasingly common in day-to-day life but this is just for leisure, more importantly, drones are becoming more and more prevalent in a variety of industries but none more crucially than construction. Construction is an industry very much built on efficiency, in the sense of cost and time; hence the reason drones potentially have such a pivotal role to play, when the above reasons are taken into consideration.

You would be a brave person to bet against drones being a key player in the next industrial revolution.

THE NEW TOYOTA WOODEN CAR DESIGN

Toyota just announced that their new wooden car is going to Milan for Design Week in April. There are many things to love about it, starting with the electric drive train. The little two-seater is only ten feet long and 4′-10 wide, barely three feet tall. And there is no word about air bags or crush zones.

Toyota also is building it using traditional joinery techniques “Okuriari” that don’t use screws or nails.

In the press release, Kenji Tsuji, the Toyota engineer overseeing development of the Setsuna, said of his process:

“We evaluated various ways to express the concept and selected different lumber materials for specific applications, such as Japanese cedar for the exterior panels and Japanese birch for the frame. We also paid particular attention to the sizes and arrangements of individual parts.”

But what is most interesting is Toyota’s attempt at bringing back the attachment to cars that people used to have.

The decision to use wood—a material that is durable yet prone to change over time—reflects Toyota’s efforts to give form to the developing relationships between people and their cars. The Setsuna symbolizes how cars undergo a gradual transformation over the years, as if absorbing the aspirations, memories, and emotions of multiple generations of a family. With the Setsuna concept, Toyota is expressing the notion that, as a family accrues time and experiences together with their car, lovingly caring for it and passing it on to the next generation, that car will acquire a new type of value that only the members of that family can appreciate.

The car’s name—Setsuna, meaning “moment” in Japanese—was chosen to reflect that people experience precious, fleeting moments together with their cars. Toyota believes that, over time, these collective moments make their cars irreplaceable to their owners, and in case your family doesn’t keep good records, the car actually has a 100 year meter, that will keep time over generations”.

I do hope that they put it into production; it’s the perfect little car for the garages in all of our new big wood towers.

 

Source: http://www.treehugger.com (Lloyd Alter)

The Dumpster Project – Leaving in a Container

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image via en.wikipedia.org

Have you ever heard of ‘the Dumpster Project’? It is a project created by environmental studies professor and dean at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, Dr. Jeff Wilson. On February 4, 2015, Professor Wilson has moved to a dumpster container where he plans to stay for about one year. In his words, the Dumpster Project is ‘an experiment to test the absolute limit if you can be happy and healthy in a very small space’. Not only. According to the project website the purpose of this experiment is to experience an eco-friendly lifestyle that could bring benefits to a planet where the population is steadily increasing and living space decreases more and more year after year. In this regard, while the average dimensions of an American home are about 2,480 square feet, minster Wilson’s brand new house is 33 square feet big.

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image via laughingsquid.com

It is true that Professor Wilson will be living in a container for a year, but what is also true is that this container is modern and fully furnished. Indeed, it features solar panels to generate electricity, high efficiency toilets, a weather station, air conditioning, a sloping roof, locks and a mailbox. Of course, Wilson is not suggesting everyone to live this way, but it is proving that it is possible to live in smaller spaces. Moreover, through the Dumpster Project, his main goal is to encourage debates on sustainable way of living.

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image via wgrd.com

You don’t need to be so radical. Living in a container house can be much more comfortable and unique than you ever thought. At SMC we also deal with container houses. Visit our website and do not hesitate to make contact us.

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Stefano// SMC Editor

Why Containers work best as Apartments

Shipping container architecture has seen increased popularity over the years. This is largely due to the fact that containers are a much cheaper building system, as compared to conventional ways of building, and they are simple building inputs.

(image via http://www.containerhome.info)

Here are a few reasons why you need to build apartments with containers:

1. It takes far less time to transform a container into a living space! All it takes to have it from being the cargo carrier to being your comfortable home is, changing the floor, insulating the walls, and adding fixtures and windows. At SMC, we have specially made, pre-fabricated container houses which are fitted with plumbing, electricity and fixtures.

2. It takes less time to have the structure ready for people to live in, as opposed to building with bricks which are stacked one by one, a container is already a sturdy structure, thus, time taken to build from scratch is saved.

3. Containers used as apartments save a lot of land, as they can be easily stacked up to make an array of apartments. They are a perfect solution for housing in busy, overcrowded big cities and metropolis as they serve well to solve the problem of student housing and bachelor housing.

(image via http://www.tinyhouselover.com)

4.Container apartments help tenants to enjoy affordable rent! This is tangible reality can be seen here where container apartments were built up in London strategically for young people to be able to live comfortably and be can afford to pay rent. Since containers are a cheap input, hence the cheap rent!

5. Containers have high strength in their own structure, therefore it makes building with them very simple and more stronger buildings result. The high structural strength also enables homes to built in otherwise difficult-to-build areas such as wilderness homes and other adventurous types of homes.

So, why not reduce costs spent on building, while you save on construction time with container apartments? Visit our website to get more information about our container range, we are a leading manufacturer and supplier of containers in China.

Contact us for an inquiry or further assistance.  Stay clued up on our latest news and info by scanning the QR code below, or follow us on these social media:

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Lebo Seopane//SMC Editor

Credits: Google images, SMC website,www.inhabitat.com

Reducing Energy Consumption of Buildings

The “Trias Energetica Concept” suggest that we should first find a way to reduce energy consumption before developing alternative energy source, such as renewable energy. It is possible by avoiding waste and implementing energy-saving measures.

Energy efficient buildings are buildings that have the capacity to reduce significantly the energy used for cooling and heating the building (without considering the energy and the equipments that are used to heat or cool the building). Below we are going to show you the important points that help your building to be energy efficient.

1. Bioclimatic Architecture

This approach takes into account the local climate and environmental conditions in order to develop the best possible way to use environmental sources of energy. In order get the most benefit from natural sources, it is necessary to :

  • Have an efficient building shape : reduce the surface in contact with the exterior and the building, interior spaces are arrange according to their heating requirements
  • Have an appropriate techniques of enveloping the external of the building (use the correct colors and surface) from solar heat in winter as well as in summer and also to collect solar radiation (which acts as a “free” heating and lighting systems).

The graphic below shows  the impact of building shape on annual heating energy for a small building in a cold climate.

Graphic from www.buildingscience.com

2. Thermal Insulation

This technology has proven to be very efficient as it saves energy and also money. It is suited for cold places, as it keeps the building warm and reduce the energy needed for heating. It is also greatly efficient for hot regions, as it keeps the heat out from the building and reduce the need for air conditioning.

Check this website to see what sort of insulation to use.

Photo from www.homebuilding.co.uk

3. Air Tightness

Air leakages should be reduced at maximum in order to have a comfortable and energy efficiency buildings. During the design and construction stage, great attention must be invest to seal gaps.

Most existing and recently built buildings are far from being airtight and create financial and environmental costs. A “leaky” building needs more energy for heating or cooling and allow humid air to penetrate, degrading the structure of the building and the effectiveness of the insulation.

Image from www.corbwell.ie

4. Ventilation

This is a system controls the penetration of air through the building and allows to deliver fresh air and take out stale air in combination with the designed heating system and humidity control, and the fabric of the building itself.

To learn more of the importance of ventilation, visit this website.


Image from www.completecoolroofsystems.com

Shanghai Metal Corporation is an expert manufacturer and supplier in the production of building material. To help you build energy efficient building, we can provide you with our top quality materials, such as mineral wool for thermal insulation. We also accept any challenging construction projects and will be glad to help you. Visit our website to see more and contact us if you need further information. Also follow us on social media to discover and be updated of our new products.

Source and original article : isover
Featured image from : greenwizard

    

 

Ayu P.//SMC editor