Sanral unveils green head office

first_imgThe South African National Roads Agency’s new head office in Pretoria. (Image: Green Business Guide) MEDIA CONTACTS • Green Buildings Council of South Africa  +27 21 659 5990/1 RELATED ARTICLES • IDC fund helps companies go green • First CT homes to feed power to grid • Nedbank achieves carbon neutrality • Green valley lives up to its nameRay MaotaThe South African National Roads Agency Limited’s (Sanral) may be in the news for reasons many residents of Gauteng province would rather forget, but staff at the parastal’s head office in the capital city of Pretoria have reason to celebrate.The head office – on Schoeman Street – has been given a Green Star rating by the Green Buildings Council of South Africa (GBCSA), making it the first state entity in South Africa to achieve this.The four-star rating received is defined as “Best Practice” in the rating system. The GBCSA is an independent, non-profit organisation that was formed to lead the transformation of the South African property industry to environmental sustainability. According to the organisation, buildings are responsible for a third of all carbon emissions worldwide.But this building by a government entity demonstrates the country’s commitment to achieving its set results of reducing carbon emissions by 34% by 2020 and 42% by 2025.The agency of the Department of Transport has come under fire over the last few months for its installation of a system of e-tolls on some of the country’s highways.The end of April was scheduled for the start of the operations of the tolls, but a court interdict stopped the implementation, at least temporarily.The complaints from the public and civil society groups have focused on the two main issues of pricing, and Sanral’s non-consultative approach.How the ratings workTo achieve certification, building owners submit documentation to the GBCSA, who then employ independent assessors to look into the submission and score the building.The building is then given one of three ratings: four-, five- or six-star.Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA, said: “We would like to offer our congratulations to Sanral, the Department of Transport and the South African government for this ground-breaking achievement as the first parastatal building in South Africa to achieve a Green Star rating.”Green Star SA rates buildings on nine categories – eight of them environment-orientated, including indoor environmental quality, energy, water, materials and emissions, with the ninth category being innovation.“The Green Star SA rating tool sets out specific targets (credits) in each environmental category, and buildings are awarded points for each credit that they comply with. The total points will determine the building’s Green Star SA rating,” said Wilkinson.How Sanral’s building worksThe building includes a green roof planted with water-wise succulents, solar-generated hot water for a fresh air heating system, and a two-layered facade that increases natural light and views whilst decreasing heat build up.“Energy is a major focus, and as such, points earned in this category carry significant weight in the Green Star SA rating tool. Projects are rewarded for reducing their energy consumption. But there is a wide number of other initiatives that go into a rating,” said Wilkinson.Also in the building’s features is a specialised outer shading layer, which provides essential sun screening.The air-conditioning system consists of two air-cooled reverse cycle chillers with a combined capacity of approximately 75% of the peak building design cooling load.In summer these chillers produce ice in the evening that helps with cooling during the day and in the winter; they run as heat pumps to meet the heating requirements.The building team for Sanral included Activate Architecture; Koor Dindar Mothei Quantity Surveyors; Plantech Electrical and Mechanical Consulting Engineers; Civil Concepts and the project manager and principal agent, Rouillard Consulting.“Green building offers one of the simplest, most immediate and cost effective ways to reduce human generated carbon emissions – it is essentially the ‘low hanging fruit’ – and it is through the efforts made with buildings such as the Sanral office that South Africa will begin to move towards our commitment of reduced carbon emissions,” said Wilkinson.Encouraging companies to go greenLate in 2011, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and German development bank Kfw launched the R500-million (US$64-million) Green Energy Efficiency Fund.The IDC is a national development finance institution set up to promote economic growth and industrial development.The fund provides loans with favourable terms for small to medium-sized enterprises that use energy-efficient equipment and technologies, reduce emissions and use renewable resources.To qualify, companies have to have a turnover of R51-million ($6.6-million) or less, hold R55-million ($7-million) in assets and employ no more than 200 people.Green universities tooHigher education and training minister Blade Nzimande launched the African Green Campus Initiative at the University of Cape Town in the Western Cape on 21 April 2012.The initiative aims to promote environmental sustainability and climate change-mitigating projects at college and university campuses around the country.“This initiative comes at the right time as issues of environmental sustainability and climate change have come to occupy centre-stage in our country and globally,” said Nzimande at the launch.“It will provide awareness and capacity development training for students and staff who will then be required to initiate green campus programmes and champion projects that will promote environmental sustainability.”last_img read more

Africans doing business with Africans: conference explores continent’s trade potential

first_img23 May 2016A range of challenges must be overcome to ensure better trade and investment between African countries, as well as with the rest of the world. This was one of the conclusions of a panel discussion led by Dr Petrus De Kock, Brand South Africa’s general manager for research, at the Tshwane International Trade and Infrastructure Investment Conference (Titiic) held at the city’s CSIR International Conference Centre last week.The panel included Thomson Wilks Attorneys director Safiyya Akoojee, Portia Gumbu-Dube, head of business development at the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa, the Department of Trade and Industry’s chief director for Africa Lerato Mataboge, and Catherine Grant-Makokera of Tutwa Consulting.In his introduction, De Kock highlighted research indicating positive trends in African trade, particularly the dynamic growth of trade and investment between the Middle East and Asia region and African countries on the continent’s eastern seaboard.He also drew attention to the latest Ernst and Young (EY) Africa Attractiveness Survey, which revealed a huge boost in foreign direct investment (FDI) into traditionally small markets such as Rwanda – recent host of the 2016 World Economic Forum on Africa – and Botswana.South African remains the top destination for investment, according to the EY survey, with Tshwane playing a vital role. The city ranked first for South Africa, out of 74 African metropoles, in the 2015 MasterCard African Cities Growth Index, thanks to its robust infrastructure investment and the access it provides to government structures.The panel was asked to offer workable ways to solve challenges to ensure these rankings were maintained and improved, across the whole continent.Lerato MatabogeThe DTI’s Mataboge said there were three main problems facing intra-African trade: lack of infrastructure, fragmented markets and inadequate diversity of industries. But, she said, solutions were being explored in partnership between private and public enterprises, including the DTI.The DTI, she said, worked with three key pillars to find solutions:Further integration of free trade between more African countries by reducing red tape. This meant more efficient border control processes, visa regulations and trade permissions.More cross-border infrastructure development, including improving road and rail systems.Building more capacity in regional and urban industrialisation, where municipalities were well positioned at micro level to engineer ways of doing business.The Trade Africa programme, a DTI initiative, is currently working to grow and strengthen bilateral trade between African countries. Mataboge said the ultimate goal was to involve all African countries, not only the larger regional players, in the continent’s economy. Vital to this was to inspire confidence in emerging economic players on the continent.Portia Gumbu-DubeGumbu-Dube of the Export Credit Insurance Corporation offered an innovative way to improve efficiency of cross-border trade in Africa. There should be an emphasis, she said, on language and cultural skills training, to supplement conventional trade, law and economics education. Graduates and new entrants into business in Africa should be proficient in the language, and have good knowledge of the culture and history, of countries they want to trade with. This would help them gain an upper hand in the market.Improved technical knowledge, particularly in new digital technologies, should also be ingrained during tertiary education. These were the kind of soft skills needed to complement the harder, more traditional business skills that lead to success, according to Gumbu-Dube. “We need to educate each other on how to do good cross-border trade,” she said.Catherine Grant-MakokeraAs a director at Tutwa Consulting, one of the Africa’s top trade consulting firms, Grant-Makokera emphasised the importance of cross-border trade facilitation – essentially helping all parties speak the same business language. Differing trade and business processes drove up costs and inhibited the production processes, reducing profits and jobs.Trade in Africa, she said, should not be done in isolation. Infrastructure should be uniform and automated across the board as “one line of communication that helps neighbours communicate and trade more effectively”.The key to this was more robust interaction between public and private enterprise, not only making mutually beneficial policies but ensuring these policies are properly put into practice.Safiyya AkoojeeA director at Thomson Wilk Attorneys, Akoojee outlined the role of international trade law and corporate litigation in improving trade between African countries. One challenge, in her experience, is that there was no longevity in investments. There had to be more security and assured confidence from partners in Africa to inspire international investors. Professional auditing and good legal assistance were key to making that happen.Akoojee agreed that there had to be more cultural understanding between African partners. While English remained an important business language, French- speaking Africa held a lot of potential for more business, so understanding the history and language of these territories would be an advantage. She added that conferences like Titiic were great opportunities for businesspeople to find out what was going on at grassroots level across the continent, with the added benefit of finding new opportunities to invest in projects.De Kock explained that there were more avenues for business to speak to governments about investments, to build and sustain strong relationships through individual business chambers or each country’s trade missions.The Titiic conference also included presentations on global trade and investment trends by Gaung Zhe Chen representing the World Bank, and thoughts on Africa’s business trends at ground level from CNN’s Africa business correspondent Eleni Giokos.SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

Magic Beans Grow Portable Social Networks

first_imgFacebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… dana oshiro Tags:#NYT#social networks#Social Web#web#Web Development Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Much like the original premise of Ning, Social Beans simplifies the creation of community websites.  However, since it is a portable format, a Social Beans site is not locked in to a single provider. In addition to the Grou.ps platform, the 0.1 version works with MediaWiki and WordPress. A Drupal plugin is also expected for October 2009. At this point, Social Beans is extremely experimental and while it’s an interesting concept, the group’s fate lies in 2 simple questions: Is it an easy enough template for non-technical users to adopt it? And perhaps more importantly, will developers build engines to run it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos You’ve seen the calls for open identity standards and data portability. Well, Social Beans aims to create standardized “skeleton portability” across social media publishing platforms. What is “skeleton portability”? According to co-founder Emre Sokullu, “Comments, forums, wikis, blogs, rating systems, tagging, sharing and bookmarking are all common social features of today’s networking sites”. Despite the fact that these are all common denominators of the web, developers continue to hack together their own proprietary implementations. Says Sokullu, “Social Beans aims to standardize a syntax around common social features including users, profiles, avatars, roles and news feeds.” For developers, it’s a pact for “development portability” or the agreement to follow the same rules for compilers. Related Posts A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

Skout’s Location-Based Dating: The Quest for Love and Profit

first_imgdana oshiro Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Less than a decade ago, online dating was by no way considered mainstream. Not only were you judged for putting your profile up on a dating site, but your choice of site between Lavalife, Match and Nerve Singles told others whether you were there to date, get married or make friends with benefits. Today, location-based dating sites are quickly gaining ground. With the increasing mainstream acceptance of services like Foursquare and Gowalla, new opportunities within the dating space have emerged. Forget badges and points, geo-locational apps already have the power to promise you love. ReadWriteWeb caught up with Skout CEO Christian Wiklund. Last month we covered Wiklund’s transition from building a location-based network to a dating site. When asked how proximity-based dating is different than regular dating he explained, “With mobile location-enabled dating sites we can make serendipity happen. Skout cares about ‘when and where’ you are. We refrain from matching singles on 100+ dimensions or requiring you to fill out pesky forms. This is about the conversation that you have with a person, similar to how you would engage a potential love interest in real life.”Wiklund’s casual approach to dating takes into account the context of a place coupled with looks as being key connection indicators. Essentially, if you find someone attractive and they hang out in a place you hang out, then you can contact each other and meet up. He is so sure that users will find others, that this Valentine’s Day he’s offering premium members a money back guarantee if they don’t find a date for Sunday. Then again, what sad soul would be bold enough to ask for their money back?Nevertheless, the fact that Wiklund’s site is already charging for services like unlimited chat, premium placement and unlimited browsing access, shows a stark mind shift between dating and general apps like Gowalla and Foursquare. Those using Foursquare might not be willing to spend freely on virtual gifts or currencies, but even ten years ago, dating site users were used to the idea of winks, flirts and chat at a premium. This fact, coupled with the biological urge to mate, means that dating might turn out to be among the most lucrative categories for geo-locational services. Tags:#Features#start#startups Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Gmail Wiretapping Case Will Continue, Judge Rules

first_imgTags:#gmail#Google#privacy How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo… Related Posts Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for …center_img brian proffitt Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Susan Wojcicki, senior vice president of Ads and Commerce for GoogleEven as Google celebrates its 15th birthday today, a new court ruling finds that Google’s practice of searching email accounts to come up with keyword-based targeted advertising may be violating Federal and California wiretapping laws.The ruling from US District Judge Lucy Koh is part of a pending class-action suit that accuses Google of wiretapping every time it scans users’ Gmail accounts to look for keywords that it can use for ads within Google services. Koh’s ruling was in response to Google’s motion to dismiss the whole case before it even got started.Google’s motion was based on two arguments: that there was no actual interception of user’s messages because there was no interception “device” used, because the “reading of anyemails would fall within the ‘ordinary course of business’ exception to the definition of device. The second argument was that Gmail users knew what they were getting into when they signed the Gmail terms of service.Koh wasn’t buying what Google was trying to sell.In the exception argument, Koh used precedence to establish that a process used in the “ordinary course of business” does not mean every process can be used—only the functions that are only necessary to the transmission of email.“Google’s alleged interceptions are neither instrumental to the provision of email services, nor are they an incidental effect of providing these services. The Court therefore finds that Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the interceptions fall outside Google’s ordinary course of business,” Koh wrote.As for user consent, Koh did not believe that Google had done an adequate job spelling out the email scanning practice in its Terms of Service and Privacy Policies. And non-Gmail users were getting their emails scanned without any say in the matter whatsoever.Koh’s ruling is not a declaration of guilt. It merely states that the plaintiffs in the case against Google do indeed have an effective enough argument so the case won’t be dismissed before it even goes to trial.Google is expected to appeal this ruling on its motion to dismiss. If that appeal fails, it will seriously hurt Google’s defense that scanning emails for keywords is a normal part of how it handles email delivery.If, ultimately, the plaintiffs win their case against Google altogether, the impact could be huge: while it is not clear how much specific revenue Google gets from email-based advertising, eMarketer estimates that Google holds a total of $34.5 billion of the $104 billion digital ad market in 2013.If any significant share of that revenue comes from Gmail ads—and given Gmail’s 425 million-plus users, that seems likely—losing this case could be a big blow to Google’s revenue stream.Image courtesy Reuters/Stephen Lam.last_img read more

Invisible VFX: The Art of Compositing

first_imgVisual effects should be so subtle that you think they’re real.Top image via Roy Peker.This must-watch video from Roy Peker is a great example of the power of VFX. Honestly, you just have to watch — and then watch it again.You’ll notice how Peker and the many artists who worked on the video used compositing techniques like rotoscoping and matte paintings to create realistic 3D environments — so well done, many may have missed the VFX from the beginning of the video.Image via Roy Peker.Within the last decade, the term VFX has become a negative buzzword. Each year, grandiose summer blockbusters  unveil more and more computer-generated characters and locations. We’ve gone from supplementary, computer-generated animals to a full-scale army of CGI apes. In the ’90s, vehicles often got digital facelifts for sci-fi features, and now tools like The Mill’s Blackbird can create any car at any time.The reason why we think CGI is bad is because we only see bad CGI. —Freddie WongWhen you hear negative opinions about visual effects, it’s because the effects are too obvious. They ruin the suspension of disbelief and pull you out of the film.The Hobbit received intense criticism for overusing VFX. This may be because mythical creatures are inherently fantastical and will always look surreal. However, I was thoroughly surprised to learn that K-2SO from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a full CG character. Azog from The Hobbit on the other hand? Well, I was looking for a video game controller to defeat him with.Images via LucasFilm and New Line Cinema.Recently, fans of Blade Runner rejoiced over the news that the sequel, Blade Runner 2049, was going to rely on practical effects first, only resorting to computer-generated effects if necessary. Blade Runner works so well with retro “futuristic” art direction and props and set design that paradoxically look outdated. CGI doesn’t work well in this manner. The online reaction to the lack of VFX was overwhelmingly positive — as many believe VFX ruins movies. But that’s certainly not the case.If you have ever felt like VFX is killing modern cinema, I encourage you to at least watch this video essay from the team at RocketJump Film School. Freddie Wong and crew explain that there are plenty of good VFX — we just don’t see them. What are your thoughts on VFX? Love ’em or hate them? Let us know in the comments below.last_img read more

I Am Not Your Prospect

first_imgTonight, I did something I rarely do. I stepped foot in an office supply store. My daughter wanted a fancy planner, and I needed some new highlighters for books I am reading and documents I need to review. Naturally, I only like one pen, some sort of Uni-Ball gel pen, so I picked up a pack of those and a pack of assorted colors (even though I have no idea when I will ever use them.)My daughter couldn’t find an acceptable planner, but she did find Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (which upon reflection, might have been more important to her).As we were checking out, the nice gentleman behind the counter asked me if I had a rewards card. I said that I did not and, naturally, he pitched me. Did I know that I could save on every transaction? Did I know that I could collect points that can be redeemed for merchandise in the store?I explained that I visit an office supply store on the same frequency of occurrence as Haley’s Comet passing Earth.Undeterred, the cashier, acting as salesman, adjusted his approach. Was I aware that their program was free? Had anyone informed me that there was no card necessary; I could simply register with my phone number? Politely, I told him that I understood, but I wouldn’t find any value in the program. As what he tried thus far hadn’t worked, he went to time as my likely objection. Did I know it only takes a minute to sign up?This is a mistake that salespeople make, but in this case, the cashier was trained to pursue an enrollment, and he did his best. But as my daughter was with me, I continued to say no to teach her an important lesson. No matter how persistent someone is, you do not have to agree to what they ask you to do. No matter how polite they seem, you have no obligation to agree to what they ask of you to be polite. If someone refuses to take no for an answer, they are not being polite, and you can stick to your no with no apologies.And here is a lesson for at least 14 salespeople who have communicated with me through email and LinkedIn over the past two weeks. Not everyone is your prospect. A pulse and blinking eyes are not enough to make someone a prospect. What makes someone a prospect is the fact that you can create value for them—and that they will perceive what you sell as value, even if they say no.There is no reason to assume that a LinkedIn profile is an indication that one needs a mobile application, a responsive website, better SEO, Oracle Java developers, or lead generation services (all of which I have been offered in the last two weeks). If you sell consulting services, pitching me and sending me a link whereby I can schedule time on your Calendly or TimeTrade link is to misunderstand prospecting altogether.I may not be your prospect. You may not be mine either.last_img read more

10 months agoWolves confident deal for Chelsea striker Abraham will get all-clear

first_imgWolves confident deal for Chelsea striker Abraham will get all-clearby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWolves are confident their deal for Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham is on.The Mirror says Wolves have made the England striker a prime January target and are keen on taking the 21-year-old from Stamford Bridge in a potential £18million deal.Abraham has starred for Aston Villa on loan in the Championship this season, scoring 16 goals in 20 games.Wolves officials have been working to ascertain whether Abraham would be eligible to play for the club this season, having already featured for both Villa and Chelsea. He also featured in a Premier League 2 match against Derby County, leading to questions over his eligibility.But Wolves can cite precedent, such as Liam Walsh, who played for Birmingham City, Bristol City and Everton’s U-23 side last season, but whose switch to the Robins was allowed by the FA – without help from FIFA. TagsTransfersLoan MarketAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

a month agoRangers boss Gerrard: I don’t bother with Heskey interviews

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Rangers boss Gerrard: I don’t bother with Heskey interviewsby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveRangers boss Steven Gerrard is unhappy with former Liverpool teammate Emile Heskey after comments on his managerial credentials.Heskey suggested this week that it was easier for Gerrard and fellow managers to land a top job because of his skin colour.Ahead of his side’s Europa League clash with Feyenoord, Gerrard delivered a withering response to his former teammate.“I don’t have anything to say on that. I don’t really look out for any interviews that Emile Heskey does,” the Rangers boss said.Gerrard and Heskey played together for club and country and were part of the Liverpool side that won the treble in 2001. last_img read more