Tag: solar energy


2017’s Interesting Energy Innovations

Just as 2016 was a landmark year for renewable energy, 2017 looks to be even more important for this growing industry. Innovation is going to be the renewable energy trend in 2017 and we are likely to see some very interesting developments that will have the power to change the way that we look at energy. Although change is happening slowly, the world is making a commitment to Going Green more than ever before. We are becoming more educated about the damage that has been inflicted on our planet and we are becoming more aware of the consequences of doing nothing.

One positive that we can take from Going Green is that we are being forced to be creative with our energy and this means that more exciting projects are being developed.

Today, there are plenty of great ideas floating around, waiting to be turned into real-life projects that have the ability to transform all of our lives. There are some ideas that are too risky to consider at the moment, too drastic to implement while there is still time to heal the earth.

But while some ideas are still just concepts and some that are many years away from being developed into a reality, other safer ideas are closer to being realised.

But 2017 is the year that revolutionary ideas that can be put into practice are likely to come to life.

Projects to look out for in 2017

Recycled water

Grey water systems are great for watering gardens and washing cars, but it is of course not safe to drink. Until now, the idea of generating purified water from sewerage sludge has not only been unfeasible but not wholly supported by communities and investors.

When Bill Gates drank the first glass of distilled water using the Omniprocessor, people were sceptical but when looking at the science behind the processor responsible for generating this water, the idea takes on a whole different shape.

Sewer sludge is boiled and the water vapour is removed from the solids. The solids are burned which turns to steam and in turn, helps to generate electricity. This electricity keeps the system functioning without taking power from the grid and any excess power created is sent back into the community. The water vapour is sent into a cleaning system which purifies it into the cleanest water your will ever drink!

This processor is ideal for developing countries that still lack access to clean running water and stable electricity. The small processor can also become an income generating project for developing nations!

Clean water for African communities is becoming a reality, especially with the advancements in 2017
Clean water for African communities is becoming a reality, especially with the advancements in 2017

Carbon capturing cement

The process of replacing the fossil fuels which are being used in infrastructure is a slow one and this is because fossil fuels have a devastatingly long lifespan.

Carbon capture is the process of removing carbon dioxide from the air and reducing the amount of carbon that is a big cause of global warming. This process is guaranteed to change the transitions that the planet is making towards reducing emissions.

While we have already found a way to remove carbon from the smoke release during manufacturing, as well as from the air, it is an expensive process and it needs to be done at a lower cost in order for it to be worthwhile. Then there is also the problem of where the carbon is sent once it has been extracted.

Right now, that place is within the ground. The carbon that is being placed underground is being done to stimulate oil production, which in a way defeats the purpose of removing the carbon in the first place.

But there is now a better idea on the way. CarbonCure is a company that is injecting carbon into cement where it will be isolated and become less harmful to the environment. The cement industry is responsible for around 5% of the global carbon dioxide emissions. While this does reduce the amount of carbon dioxide as a result of production, it does not completely eliminate all of it.

This process is currently being experimented with in an effort to make it profitable and more effective.

Imitation beef

What does meat free beef have to do with renewable energy you ask? Did you know that the beef industry is to blame for huge amounts of carbon emissions? While it might not be everyone’s favourite thing to eat, meat-free beef is a fantastic vegetarian replacement that is supposed to mimic the taste and texture of real meat. While the initial tests have proven this meat is popular in certain circles, it has not yet been introduced to the masses and so there is no proof that it will be competitive in the market.

Taste and price will ultimately be the deciding factor when it comes to whether or not this renewable food option stays relevant in the long run.

Pay as you go solar power

Pay as you go solar power is the next leap in solar energy and it is going to have a wonderfully positive effect on energy for communities without access to national electrical resources.
Pay as you go solar power is the next leap in solar energy and it is going to have a wonderfully positive effect on energy for communities without access to national electrical resources.

Again, 2017 will be the year in which solar power will take the centre stage in the ongoing struggle to ensure that renewable energy is effective. The people will always come first when it comes to renewable energy and it is more important that people and the environment benefit before there is a profit.

Azuri Technologies is a company that has worked out how to affordably provide solar power to homes that are off the grid in Africa, and they have come up with a way that is beneficial. Charging a small amount, a family can have a basic solar power unit that will be enough to power two lights and to charge a mobile device. To keep the unit functioning, the family will need to purchase credits although the price that they will pay will be far lower than they would normally spend on kerosene for lighting. The family will save on energy costs and 18 months after paying for their units, they will own their system.

And, this system has already been proven to work in 11 sub-Saharan Africa and has also won awards. This pay as you go system is bridging the gap between the grid and those who have no access to it, which means that people no longer have to wait for power to come to them. These households are skipping ahead, avoiding the conventional use of electricity and immediately benefitting from having solar energy.

Are you planning on Going Green in 2017? You can with Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We have the systems that can transform the way that you both consider energy and use it. With solar systems, energy efficient air conditioners, grey water systems and solar geysers, you can be a part of the group revolutionising an industry reliant on fossil fuels.


What to expect from solar systems in 2017

The past few years have been hugely successful for solar power. Homes and businesses alike have benefited from having solar systems installed, and the environment has benefited from the use of this clean energy. The industry itself has seen a massive drop in the price of solar panels, even though the community has not been completely supportive.

But what many people don’t know, is that in 2016 solar panels became cheaper to use than fossil fuels.

As with any renewable technology, there were bound to be a few setbacks when solar power first became a reality, but even with the few setbacks, solar power has soared ahead to remain one of the most popular sources of Green energy.

In more than 30 countries, solar and wind power became cheaper than fossil fuels in 2016, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum in 2017. And as prices for solar power continue to plummet, it is estimated that in 2017 more than two-thirds of nations on the planet will have “grid-parity” which means there will be a drop in the completely relying on fossil fuels.

“Renewable energy has reached a tipping point,” Michael Drexler, who leads infrastructure and development investing at the WEF, said in a statement. “It is not only a commercially viable option but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”

But while the support for solar power will continue to grow in 2017, investment from the rest of the globe is still not what it should be. This means that there are not enough investments coming in to avoid the looming global energy crisis. Only 25% of the investment amount decided upon at the Paris Climate Change Accord has been paid and because many of the barriers preventing the payments from being made are politically motivated, overcoming this barrier will take time and policy changes. Other factors preventing the money from being paid over include economic setbacks such as contracts not being standardised and the lack of a steady track record, drawn up by financial institutions, which needs to in place to reassure the investors.

Although this may be seen as a setback in 2017, the lowering of prices for solar power will triumph in the end, especially as solar power looks set to outperform all forms of fossil fuel energy within the next decade.

There are promising developments for solar systems in 2017
There are promising developments for solar systems in 2017


Solar power developments in 2017

The development of solar panels and their accompanying systems are set to go into overdrive in 2017, as we see the development of solar panels embrace technology in ways that it has not previously been seen. Solar panels are also set to become more energy efficient.

At Cambridge University, experimental physicist Sam Stranks has been trying to develop ways to make solar power less expensive to harvest and more efficient once it has been collected. His idea is to place a mineral layer of perovskite onto the solar cell which will be used to boost the efficiency of the cell.

According to Stranks, “We could take a silicon solar panel with a lab record efficiency of converting sunlight to electricity of 25 percent, add a perovskite layer, and boost the power generation by a fifth,” says the 31-year-old. “For a solar cell, the maximum efficiency is around 30 per cent – but with one of these perovskite ‘tandem’ layers it could go up to around 50 per cent.”

This is a wonderfully positive development and if it becomes successful and enjoys widespread popularity, it could become one of the important developments in solar power in 2017.

In 2017, the solar industry also hopes to see more commercial businesses transitioning towards renewable energy. There are many businesses who are serious about only using renewable energy. Take for instance Google. Just last year Google announced that they would be relying 100% on Green Energy and Green Energy initiatives in 2017. They are not the only corporate giant who is making this commitment to the planet.

2017 will be filled with new opportunities to change the way that you access and harness electricity. At Green Leaf Alternative Solutions, we can supply Green systems such as solar systems, grey water systems and LED lighting which will help you to make your own commitment towards a Greener future.


2017 might be the year that solar power becomes cheaper than coal

2017 is already shaping up to be an interesting year, especially in the renewable energy industry. One of the reasons that this year is going to make a memorable impact is because it is predicted that in some countries, renewable energy, solar power, in particular, is set to become cheaper than burning coal.

This could be the biggest turning point in Green energy history!

In December 2016, the World Economic Forum announced that solar energy and wind energy have become the same price as coal and, in some instances, the price of renewable energy has dropped below that of coal.

“In an increasingly larger number of countries, it has become more economical to install solar and wind capacity than coal capacity,” the WEF report stated.

While South Africa is making great strides towards changing over to renewable energy, in 2016 it was countries like Chile and the United Arab Emirates, that broke new records.  These countries were able to generate electricity using solar power for less than 3 cents a kilowatt, which is half of the average global cost of energy generated from coal.

This year other nations are aiming to drop prices even lower, with Jordan and Mexico being just two of the countries that are using auctions and tenders to drop prices.  Companies in Europe, which have already proven that their techniques for dropping prices using renewable energy have worked, are reaching out to new markets in new countries in the hope of sharing their expertise.

Solar prices have been dropping since 2009, with more affordable materials and more effective techniques being used to generate electricity using sun energy.  In fact, since 2009, solar prices have dropped by up to 62%. This price lowering has had a far-reaching effect on other areas of the construction industry.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by 2025 we could very well see a global-scale drop in solar power, pushing coal prices higher than solar energy prices.

“These are game-changing numbers, and it’s becoming normal in more and more markets,” said Adnan Amin, International Renewable Energy Agency’s director general, an Abu Dhabi-based intergovernmental group. “Every time you double capacity, you reduce the price by 20 percent.”

The renewable energy industry is set to grow in 2017, with prices dropping around the world.
The renewable energy industry is set to grow in 2017, with prices dropping around the world.

Change is coming

While this is a fantastic development and a victory for renewable energy, the world will not be ready to completely break away from fossil fuels in 2017.  Even with lower prices infrastructure still needs to be put in place on a larger scale. The complete changeover is going to take many years to accomplish and in the meantime, the focus will be on reducing just how much we rely on non-renewable energy.

But technology is changing and developing all the time, so the change will come sooner rather than later. Scientists are always working on the next best techniques to shake up the bustling industry. Some examples of new technology being used to benefit the solar industry include using diamond wire saws that are more efficient to cut the wafers (exceptionally thin semiconductor material) and manufacturing cells that are able to store more energy from the sun.

Today, the Green energy is inching its way towards being an equal competitor in the energy industry. This comes after almost a decade of commercial solar energy and numerous advancements and developments.

2017 is going to be a remarkable year for solar power and this year will hopefully be a precursor year to more exceptional developments.

You can equip your home or business with solar technology from Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We have a selection of solar systems including solar panels suitable for a variety of building structures. Contact us or browse our website to find out more about how you can Go Green.


Evidence from NASA tells us that climate change is not only real, but imminent

Climate change is one of the biggest debates of our time, and as with all important debates, the opinions are split into two camps. One camp believes that climate change is a fallacy, something made up to induce fear, while the other camp is looking at the science behind the opinion and seeing the reality. Climate change is very real, and the evidence is undeniable. Renewable energy, used on a grand scale, is the only way to go, but we are not at the point just yet to move away from fossil fuels. And the longer we wait, the more damage we do.

What is climate change?

Climate change is the change in climate patterns on a regional or global scale and it is largely due to the increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

While the climate has been undergoing constant change throughout the existence of the planet, it is in the 20th century that the change has become more noticeable and more devastating than ever before. And because of the ongoing increase in the amount of fossil fuels being burned, the onslaught of climate change has attributed to the unceasing increase in global temperatures.

Global climate change has always been a part of the world’s global cycle, but why is it so dramatic now?

Unlike the other eras in which global climate change has occurred, this is the first time in human existence that climate change has been manmade. And so the rate at which the change is taking place is unlike anything we have seen before. This time, climate change is making a damaging impact. While we previously thought that the change would not happen in our lifetime, we are likely to be alive when the serious changes start becoming noticeable all around the world.

But scaremongering is not useful, education is. Scientists are telling us that there are already major signs of climate change and NASA has uncovered simple yet vital signs to prove that the change in climate is already having some scary effects.

The evidence of climate change that we cannot ignore

  • The rise in sea levels

A century is more than a lifetime for the majority of us, so the impact brought on by the rise in sea levels might not hit as hard, but in the last century alone the sea levels around the world have risen by more than 17 centimeters. This rise happened before the world started experiencing the sudden rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not to mention that 17 centimeters are double the height that the sea rose in the previous century.

What does this mean for us? Consider how many countries have a coastline or are surrounded by the ocean. A rise in sea levels has already become noticeable in the USA where cities along the Florida coastline have had unexpected flooding whenever the tide comes in. These cities have had to install pump systems and lift roads to keep people safe. The Major of Miami, a city that has had this issue for a while, has had to raise the tax revenue in the city to implement a system which he says will only keep the water at bay for around 50 years.


It is the island nations that are forgotten and in the majority of cases, the island nations are those that have contributed the least to global warming.

  • A rise in global temperatures

As the name says, global warming is an increase in the temperatures around the world. Since 1880, although some politicians would argue otherwise, the earth has warmed. The warming began in the 1970’s, while the warmest years were in the 1980’s. But it is the last 12 years that we have seen the biggest impact in terms of global warming.

Surface temperatures continue to rise as more carbon dioxide is released into the air and more deforestation takes place.

Climate change is going to make an impact on all of our lives and we will feel the effects. The evidence is there, and it is up to us to make sure that we do what we can to avoid catastrophe.
Climate change is going to make an impact on all of our lives and we will feel the effects. The evidence is there, and it is up to us to make sure that we do what we can to avoid catastrophy.
  • The oceans are heating up

A lot of the heat that has impacted the globe has been absorbed by the oceans. As the oceans are responsible in many ways for the weather we have as well as being responsible for control of temperature. A rise in sea temperatures has an effect on the surface temperature. At least the top 700 meters of the oceans have already heat up, and this is just the beginning if we continue down this path.

  • The oceans have also become more acidic

A massive part of the human population relies on fish as a means to survive. But with the acidity of the oceans rising not only are the fish populations diminishing but so are the reefs that were once home to massive fish populations. The fish populations can’t recover fast enough and since one billion people depend on fish for their meals, what will happen when there is no longer enough? The oceans absorb a third of the carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere, and this is killing the reefs and the fish, while other forms of pollution are also to blame. The oceans can no longer absorb enough of the carbon dioxide to keep things in balance.

Recently, The Great Barrier Reef became another victim of global warming as it was reported that huge swathes of the reef had died. With the oceans around the world absorbing 2 billion tons of carbon each year, can you imagine the habitat in the coming years? Will there even be a habitat for ocean life?

  • The Arctic ice is disappearing

By 2040, you will be able to sail across the Arctic Circle in the summer months. The Arctic is an important global temperature regulator, and because the ice itself is bright, and is responsible for reflecting up to 80% of the sunlight that hits it.

The ice caps are already melting, disrupting the temperature and accelerating climate change.
The ice caps are already melting, disrupting the temperature and accelerating climate change.

The Arctic is also responsible for influencing the ocean currents, and that is the all-important influence which will be felt worldwide. This influence helps in the creation of fresh water (when ocean water enters the arctic it freezes and the salt is expelled) and it is also responsible for cooling down warmer water, which in turn affects the temperature. This temperature regulation also plays a big role in reducing the severe weather systems that the world is experiencing. Have you seen the news in recent years, about super storms and such? Now imagine the world without the Artic, without a significant buffer against extreme weather?

  • Extreme Weather patterns

Global warming ties in closely with the recent spate of extreme weather that has hit the planet. Severe droughts, overwhelming flooding, super hurricanes, and other extreme weather events have not only recently devastated the USA, but have been experienced in just about every nation on the planet.

At the end of it, climate change is something that has and will continue to affect us all until our governments and politicians take the change seriously enough to take action. To cut back on the use of fossil fuels and taking the renewable energy route will be tough, but it is not impossible.

Science and technology can help us to save our planet before we reach the very real point of no return. And it is important that countries like the USA, China, and India, nations with big populations, and big energy needs, take the lead. The change will happen slowly, but only when we all start taking climate change seriously.

There is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to make great strides. We still have people among us who do not believe that climate change is real but they science is undeniable. And it is the ignorance and the misinformation that we can fight, that is one of the ways that you can help with climate change. Another way that you can help is by Going Green.

We only have one planet, and it is up to us to make sure that we leave behind a healthy planet that our children can explore and enjoy. A planet filled with interesting animals and astonishingly beautiful landscapes. But right now, that is a world that we will have to fight for.

Are you ready to Go Green? Contact Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We have the solutions that you can use to contribute towards a healthier planet.




The 6 most unexpected places to find solar power

When taking a walk around your neighbourhood it is probably not unusual for you to see a few solar panels on your neighbours roof. Solar power is growing in popularity; it is affordable to install and provides sustainable, free energy that benefits the environment!

There are so many additional possibilities for solar power than just providing electricity for a home. Innovations from around the world are using solar power in unexpected ways, and the success of these projects are going a long way towards creating a world that depends on energy from the sun.

These unusual, unexpected ways to use solar power will inspire you to think differently about how you can transform how you use energy.

    1. Solar powered bicycle path

The Dutch always seem to be ahead of the game when it comes to alternative energy, and they have done it again through an interesting collaboration between the Dutch provincial government and a group of Dutch companies. Bicycling as a means to get around is exceptionally popular in the Netherlands and bicycle paths have been created to accommodate these road users.

The project recently undertaken has created a solar powered bicycle path of around 70 meters, called SolaRoad. The path is one long solar panel sandwiched between prefabricated concrete and a layer of tempered glass.

The path has been made smooth enough so that dirt doesn’t stick to it and block out the sun, while at the same time it is not too slippery, enabling cyclists to easily navigate it.

What is the point of the SolaRoad? The strip of solar panel will generate around 700 kilowatts of energy for homes in the area. It took 5 years to build the path and 3.5 million Euros, but this interesting approach to using solar energy will surely inspire similar paths to be built around the world.

    1. Solar public rubbish bins

Any surface exposed to the sun can generate solar power with the right equipment. In New York, city rubbish bins have been given a solar makeover with a number of them being equipped with a solar panel, solar battery, and a compactor. Bigbelly Solar Inc. has been producing these trash bins and distributing around 30 000 bins in Amsterdam, Chicago, New York and Berlin.

These trash cans are not being used to power homes or buildings but the energy they create is used to alert the company as to when the bin needs to be emptied, this limits the amount of energy used to continually check whether the rubbish bins need to be emptied. The energy that is created can be stored for up to 72 hours.

South Africa receives well over 2500 hours of sunlight each year, imagine the possibilities of equipping our public bins with solar harnessing capabilities.

Solar power rubbish bins, such as these, are being used all over the world.


    1. Solar powered ship

12 million Euros were spent to build the world’s first 35 meters long solar powered ship. Solar panels line the entire surface and when fully charged the ship is able to run for 72 hours in complete darkness.

The first ship of its kind was built by a German entrepreneur and did a full tour of the world in 2010, proving its immense capabilities and replication possibilities. The ship was named Turanor, which means “power of the sun”, in the language Tolkien created for his book trilogy The Lord of the Rings.

    1. Solar tents

Taking camping to the next level and minimising the need to lug around gas bottles or generators, a solar powered tent is bound to peak the interests of every camper.

These tents were originally created by the United States Army. Each tent is fit with flexible solar panels, which can harness enough sun energy to power computers, batteries, and other military gear. This minimises the need for their army to carry extra weight.

The tents are not yet available but they are being tested in Africa and the Middle East. This project has also led to further experiments to create solar harnessing tape and fabrics, essentially creating solar powered clothing.

    1. Solar parking lots

Many parking areas provide covered shading for vehicles to park under, sheltering them during the heat of the day. Now these shades are being fit with solar panels. Such installations are obviously beneficial for many reasons especially as shaded parking is popular in every city.

The energy created by these parking lots can be used to reduce the amount of grid-supplied electricity used within a building complex, thereby reducing the monthly accounts of the tenants or business owners.

    1. Solar powered airports

South Africa is really taking advantage of all those sunny daylight hours. As of 2016, South Africa is now home to 3 Green airports. These airports receive all of their energy via nearby solar plants and the most recent addition was built by the National Department of Transport, Airports South Africa.

The three solar-powered airports in South Africa are found in Upington, Kimberly, and George, and they are sure to influence the building of similar projects throughout the country and perhaps in nations around the globe.

With each new solar invention, we are one step closer to a cleaner world.
With each new solar invention, we are one step closer to a cleaner world.

Green Leaf Alternative Solutions is the Green Company paving the way forward for homes and businesses to Go Green using solar geysers, solar panels, LED lights, solar lights, and grey water systems. We’ve worked with numerous clients in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Contact us for your innovative, Green technology.

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What to know before you buy solar lighting

Solar lights are one of the recent and perhaps less known developments in the Green industry, as well as in lighting industry, and follow on from the already popular solar technology that is currently being used by people all over the world. Solar lighting is great for outdoor areas at home and for public settings alike, providing stable light without the hassle of connecting wires. With this lighting, you will not be left in the dark with power outages. And this is just one reason why it is worth changing the way that you light your garden, the outside of your home or for your parking areas.

What are solar lights?

As with all of the other solar powered appliances and devices, solar lights are rechargeable products which are powered by the sun. Solar lights are powered by a photovoltaic system which includes a solar panel to catch solar light during the day.

This light energy is then stored until it is needed after the sun sets later in the day.

The most common areas in which this lighting is used is outdoors, where the light can charge for an entire day. Outdoor garden lights can be placed anywhere in the garden, unlike conventional lighting which will require wiring and therefore a little more consideration as to where the lighting will be placed. These outdoor lights are a fantastic option if you are looking for cost effective security lighting or if you are simply looking for an effective way to light your path at night. This form of lighting can also be decorated in certain ways, adding a certain aesthetic appeal to your landscape.

Solar street lights and lighting for parking areas are also an option to look at when you want an environmentally friendly and affordable way to provide enough lighting to darkened areas. Solar lights have also been used to light billboards at night.

As solar lights are known to be used as decorative features, this form of lighting comes in all kinds of designs and colours. This is what makes these lights great for parties and other get-togethers.

The sun provides all of the energy needed to power your solar garden lights.
The sun provides all of the energy needed to power your solar garden lights.

How do solar lights work?

With the PV system attached, solar lights generate their own electricity in the exact way that other solar power is made. To put it simply, when the sun shines on the panel, the electrons become, for want of a better word, excited. This process is what generates the power that keeps the light shining throughout the night. The system also includes a solar battery to store power. The panel is far smaller than the one you’d normally see on a solar PV system on top of a home’s roof. In this case, the panel is usually small enough to fit the top of the light.

The following morning, when the light energy has run out, the process will repeat itself all through the day and be recharged and ready to light up again the next night.

Why use solar lighting?

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to light an area, and you don’t want to have to pay out or deal with having to have the wiring seen to and the devices installed, then solar lighting can be the better option.

Solar lighting is basically lighting for free as once the initial setup is done, you will never have to pay for the light that you get. Free lighting to massive areas is certainly worth it once you have decided to install these lights.

Here are a few other reasons why solar lights should be something you consider:

  • The energy is 100% free, clean and renewable.
  • You don’t have to worry about the lighting being damaged. These devices are made from durable materials.
  • If you are already looking for a way to make your entire lifestyle Green, then this is another step you can take.
  • Solar lights can be installed just about anywhere, so long as they receive sunlight.
  • The installation process is wonderfully simple and you will be able to do it yourself.
  • You will be saving on your monthly costs by not having to pay out anything extra each month to have this lighting.

Solar lights, along with solar geysers and solar systems, are the more cost-effective option to go with and in the long run, you are going to be happy that you made the decision to install these versatile lights. If you have any questions or want to install this lighting, you can contact Green Leaf Alternative Solutions. We can give you great advice about which lights to choose as well as other ways to live a Greener lifestyle.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]


The Living Building Challenge: Designs for the Future

Imagine a world where sustainable energy and sustainable living is free for everyone. Sustainable in the way that we can be fully reliant on renewable energy to supply us with everything we would normally get from non-sustainable energy? This is a future which could become a reality should the exciting new concept of living buildings takes over.

As a part of the Green Architecture industry, living buildings are becoming a popular way for people to Go Green. Sometimes the term living building is applied to a home that has features such as solar panels and solar geysers to produce energy from the sun, but a living building is not just a structure that has solar systems.

Living buildings are designed to be 100% dependent on nature.

Living buildings are pushing designers and architects to their limits and encouraging them to think beyond their usual ideas of building homes or other structures. Sustainable building is certainly not a new concept, but living buildings are in many ways new as the focus is on the home as a whole and not just on the way that electricity is produced.

Your home is your ecosystem with the Living Building Challenge

A few years back, the Living Building Challenge was launched and the concept gained plenty of attention.  The entire concept is based on a flower, which takes energy from the earth to be able to blossom and grow.

Today, after a couple of years, the Living Building Challenge is pushing design forward and paving the way for an energy sustainable future for everyone. Some of the features that contribute to building a fully sustainable building include installing solar panels, sustainable heating and cooling systems, rain gardens to harvest water, a natural filter to clean and reuse wastewater, and natural sunlight for the interior, while the entire structure itself is built with environmentally sustainable, eco-friendly materials.

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Living homes make use of solar power and grey water systems along with a number of other systems.
Living homes make use of solar power and grey water systems along with a number of other systems.

These structures use no more energy than they are able to produce themselves. This means that energy is easily saved because it is always used sparingly. These kinds of Green buildings are the toughest out there, you will not find a structure more committed to renewable energy.

A basic look at how the living building works according to the Living Building Challenge

Energy, that is the electricity that is required to keep the place functioning, is generated using solar power. The dedication to Green energy starts when the building is under construction as a solar system is set up to generate enough electricity to complete the project. As with other solar systems, any unused energy goes back into the national grid.

Water is collected from the building as well. The run off from the roof is gathered from any rain or other precipitation and any grey water can be used for the irrigation of plants. Black water is also collected and both the grey water and the black water are treated on site, within the building.

On the inside, the focus is on living well and ensuring that the inhabitants enjoy a healthy life. Plants are used within the home to treat grey water as well as to provide clean air to the interior. Indoor lighting during the day comes naturally from the sun.

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One day we might be once more reliant on nature to provide for all of our energy needs.
One day we might be once more reliant on nature to provide for all of our energy needs.

To ensure that the structures are able to continue to provide for the inhabitants and designers need to prove that their buildings are dependent on nature alone.

Is the future really going to feature living buildings? This is almost a certainty so long as the designs can be proved to be sustainable. The future of the Green industry certainly looks interesting, who knows what envelopes will soon be pushed? What do you think?

Green Leaf Alternative Solutions is a Green contracting company dedicated to sustainable building methods and building products such as solar geysers, solar panels, grey water recycling systems and energy efficient lighting. You can find out more about us by visiting our website at http://www.greenleafalternativesolutions.co.za/ or by contacting us at info@leafas.co.za


Systems tailored to your needs, that work from day one

Design Escapes

Green Leaf Alternative Solutions offers clients a variety of Green building services and products. 

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