14 August 2014 The government is to partner with the mining industry to further improve the housing and living conditions of mine workers in the country, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe announced on Wednesday. Addressing the third annual Mining Lekgotla gala dinner at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg, Radebe commended the mining sector for working with the government to convert single-sex miners’ hostels into family units. “We believe that this work should be continued with a clear vision of making these family units even more liveable and homely,” Radebe said, adding that mining, as a key economic driver in South Africa, should result in the creation of sustainable communities. “It is envisaged that government will drive the process of improving living conditions for mine workers, with financial support from mining houses.” He also challenged professionals in the mining sector to consider teaching mathematics and science to disadvantaged communities as part of their overall contributions to the development of mining communities. Radebe said the government would also be developing a mining industry initiative as part of Operation Phakisa, the recently launched South African version of the “Big Fast Results” methodology successfully applied by Malaysia, which aims to fast-track the delivery of priorities outlined in the National Development Plan. “We will be planning this Operation Phakisa [initiative] in consultation with all the key stakeholders, including the Chamber of Mines and organised labour.” Mining, Radebe said, remained key to South Africa’s economic growth, with an estimated total contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), including indirect and multiplier impacts and sectors that rely on mining activities, ranging between 15% and 18%. “It remains a critical source of investment. As a proportion of total gross fixed capital formation, mining’s share was at 12% in 2012,” he said, adding that mining commodities accounted for 46% of exports in the fourth quarter of 2013, while downstream mineral-related manufacturing exports account for another 14%. Radebe said the role of mining had been clearly defined in the recently released Medium Term Strategic Framework, the document that will guide the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) over the next five years. “The NDP [National Development Plan] envisages a vibrant economy, which still has the mining sector playing a crucial role. This includes exports and foreign direct investment, production of commodities for energy and/or manufacturing, beneficiation and procurement.” Source: SAnews.gov.za
After a decades-long career in high-end, single-family renovation and construction, and a relatively new business providing consulting and certification services for the same market, I recently became involved in several multifamily projects. Starting with National Green Building Standard (NGBS) certification on a market-rate apartment building that was completed in 2010, I am now in the early stages of LEED certification for several affordable projects throughout the southeast.First off, let me say that it is very exciting to see how much affordable housing is being built to green home standards. It appears to me that between various incentives available, and housing authorities recognizing how sustainable building can positively affect the long-term value of their properties, that high-performance housing is well entrenched in this sector. This is reinforced by current statistics from LEED for Homes showing that over 50% of their certified units are in the affordable sector.So What’s The Problem?For those of you who follow my other posts on this site under the Green Curmudgeon banner, you must be thinking, “when will he start whining about something?” Patience, gentle readers, we will get there soon enough.It is always been interesting to me to compare different projects and how they score in various rating systems. Since most green building programs provide significant incentives for density and location in walkable communities, multifamily urban projects tend to start out with a point advantage over less dense, more remote projects.The NGBS project was a 282-unit, eight-story concrete and steel-framed building. Since I was brought in fairly late in the process (just before insulation, actually), there were challenges in obtaining the certification. Budgeted for fiberglass batt insulation, we spent many weeks training, inspecting, and retraining their installers to aim for Grade 1 installation quality.Now anyone who has read my recent post on batt insulation knows, I am not a fan of batts, regardless off what they are made out of, and my experience with recent projects has done nothing to change my opinion.A Recurring ProblemThe same problem came up recently on another project, this one 100 units of affordable duplex gut renovations in Macon, Georgia, home of The Allman Brothers and Little Richard, among notables. This project, known as Felton Homes is an interesting project, consisting of a neighborhood of slab-on-grade, solid brick 1940s era buildings that are being gutted, slightly expanded, and completely remodeled.All the homes are planned to be certified as Energy Star, EarthCraft House, and LEED for Homes. Although I submitted my proposal for LEED certification months before, I was not brought in to start the process until the first building was just about ready for insulation, which leads to the first concern.The existing brick walls are being coated with 1½” of high-density spray foam between furring strips on both the interior and exterior, and the roofs will have low-density spray foam applied to create conditioned attics — both very good decisions. But here’s the rub — for some reason, they specified fiberglass batt insulation in the new exterior wall sections, of which there are very few. And to add to the problem, these walls are framed with metal studs, providing an excellent thermal bridge in the walls.Our first site inspection led to removal of every batt (thankfully not too many in this case) to point out gaps and compressions, and extended discussions with the project team about proper installation. Of course, the cost to upgrade to a spray or blown-in product came it too high to change, but they are still in negotiations on that subject. This is an example where a generally very well designed and specified project could have been even better had energy and green building consultants brought in early in the design process rather than as an afterthought.Anticipating a problemOn yet another project, 18 affordable townhomes in Chattanooga, Tennessee, also scheduled for LEED certification by myself and Abe Kruger of Kruger Sustainability Group, we were brought in towards the end of the design process, just as documents were being released for bids.In our discussions with the architect, we expressed our concerns with batt insulation, but they made it into the specs. Now, as construction is just getting ready to start, we are in discussions with the contractor and his insulation subcontractor about Grade 1 installation. While this quality was written into the specifications, it appears that the installer doesn’t really understand what it takes to achieve it, we are advising them to anticipate having to remove and reinstall most, if not all, of the batts for the first few buildings unit they get it right, and we are urging them to upgrade to a blown or spray product. It will be interesting to see how this resolves itself.Wasted Breath and Good DecisionsSometimes I feel like I am wasting a lot of breath going over the issues with batt installation with project teams, but in the case of Felton Homes, the day after we left the job site, I was copied on an e-mail from the project manager, directing his supervisor to remove the batts and install spray foam on the first two units in order to get ready to hang drywall. When the added cost of the spray foam was weighed against schedule delays, it came out the winner. Once I clearly communicated to the project team how difficult it would be to get Grade 1 quality, they made a good field decision.Interestingly, Grade 1 insulation is not a specific requirement of LEED for Homes, while it is necessary to achieve EarthCraft House Platinum level certification.Overall, I am heartened by the amount of high-performance affordable housing currently under construction and renovation. I appreciate the opportunity to work on these projects, offer my expertise, and help make them as efficient as possible, all while working within budget constraints. I’m looking forward to seeing upcoming projects break ground, and, hopefully, work on many more in the future.Closing moteAn introduction is in order: Carl Seville, GBA’s Green Curmudgeon, joins Amy and Peter on the Green Communities blog. Welcome aboard, Carl!
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Speaking to Boria Majumdar in an exclusive, Suresh Raina showcased his singing prowess. He sang ‘ek ajnabee haseena se’ from the Rajesh Khanna, Zeenat Aman starrer ‘Ajanbee’.Suresh Raina made his Bollywood singing debut with the movie, ‘Meeruthiya Gangsters’. The film realesed in September of 2015 and was inspired from the high number of extortion caes in Merut. The name of his song was ‘Tu Mili Sab Mila’, which has 950,171 views on Youtube. Ravindra Jadeja also showed his ‘sword dance’ , which he pulls out every time he reaches a milestone when batting.