Table Mountain new natural wonder

first_imgTable Mountain has taken its rightfulplace as one of the new seven naturalwonders.(Image: Wikimedia Commons)MEDIA CONTACTS • Hannah DeallPR, Cape Town Tourism+27 21 487 6800RELATED ARTICLES• Saving the African penguin• Investors prefer Cape Town• Table Mountain needs your vote• Kirstenbosch best place to picnic• Cape Town gets new nature reservesSource: Cape Town TourismTable Mountain has been announced as one of the New7Wonders of Nature along with the Amazon, Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls, Jeju Island, Komodo and Puerto Princesa Underground River.In 2008, Table Mountain was identified as one of 440 magnificent natural sites selected by the New7Wonders Foundation to enter the three-phase New7Wonders of Nature contest.In the second phase, Table Mountain made the 77-site shortlist before being publicly voted onto a final shortlist of 28 sites in July 2009. After the final round Table Mountain was selected as one of the final seven.With this accolade, Table Mountain, Cape Town and South Africa can anticipate global attention.The New7Man Made Wonders – voted for in 2007 – has become part of school curricula all over the world. If the same happens to the New7Wonders of Nature, children from every corner of the globe could be learning about Table Mountain, Cape Town and South Africa as a destination.In an independent impact report conducted by Grant Thornton, a leading tourism hospitality and leisure research company, it was predicted that a R1.4-billion (US$177-million) annual tourism return can be expected for South Africa.Basing their projections on the New7Man Made Wonders, in which 100-million votes were cast worldwide, Grant Thornton estimate that tourism to Table Mountain, and thus Cape Town could increase by approximately 20%, resulting in the generation of employment opportunities.Standing proudCape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold expressed her excitement, saying: “From being awarded the World Design Capital 2014 designation just a few weeks ago to Table Mountain being named one of the New7Wonders of Nature today, Cape Town and South Africa are standing proud!”She added that of the many benefits to be reaped from the accolade, the biggest is the potential for job creation.“In line with Cape Town Tourism’s new brand strategy for the city, we are working with individuals and companies on developing new, interesting and genuine tourism offerings to satisfy our changing travellers’ needs. With the anticipated increase in inbound travel to South Africa, and particularly to Cape Town, there are going to be increased entrepreneurial opportunities opening up.”A global iconOn 7 November 2011 Cape Town Tourism launched a bold new brand and marketing campaign for the city at World Travel Market in London.In addition, Cape Town Tourism has partnered with Johannesburg Tourism and Durban Tourism on a joint domestic marketing agreement that will offer affordable product and destination packages to and within these South African cities, as well as more robust event calendars across the board.The campaign also gave South Africans and people from other countries the chance to learn more about the mountain.Before the campaign, many people may not have known that Table Mountain is one of the oldest mountains on the planet, estimated to be around 360-million years old. Table Mountain was named a World Heritage Site in 2004 as part of the Cape Floristic Region, the smallest and richest of the only six floral kingdoms on the planet.It supports natural forest and indigenous fynbos along with a variety of animals and birds, including 8 200 rare and endangered plant species.Table Mountain is the only terrestrial feature on earth to have a constellation named after it. The southern constellation Mensa (originally Mons Mensae – Latin for “the table mountain”), was named in 1754 after the increasingly world-famous landmark in the then Cape of Good Hope.It was a symbol of hope for freedom fighters jailed on Robben Island. Table Mountain is a recognised as a global icon, visited by millions of people each year and attracting the attention of royalty, sports stars and Hollywood celebrities.It is one of the most photographed sites in Africa.last_img read more

Read More »

Passivhaus Apartment Complex Would be a Giant

first_imgWhen ready for occupancy in early 2017, the 276-unit riverfront apartment complex would be the largest Passivhaus-certified building in the country and, according to its developer, help Passivhaus construction shed its “boutique” status and begin to interest big institutional investors.The “Second and Delaware” project, named for its location in a historic warehouse district just north of downtown Kansas City, will include a range of apartment sizes, from 550-square-foot studios to 1,300-square-foot, two-bedroom models. It also will feature rooftop gardens and an underground 500-vehicle parking garage.The $60 million project is the work of the Arnold Development Group, which hopes to show that projects that are good for the environment and for the people who live in them also can have an attractive bottom line. It would dwarf what is now the largest Passivhaus project in North America, the 57-unit Orchards at Orenco project in Hillsboro, Oregon.Company founder and CEO Jonathan Arnold said by telephone that the Kansas City project is an effort to construct a building that will last hundreds of years, “amortizing” the carbon footprint of construction over a very long time frame. He hopes it will convince institutional investors, which now buy most big multifamily projects in the country, that structures built to the Passivhaus standard are better long-term investments than less expensive buildings with lower initial costs but lower life expectancies.Arnold Development will seek certification through the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS). Insulated concrete walls will be 16 inches thickThe apartments will be built around a central courtyard; the south-facing walls will be four stories tall and those on the north side stepped up to as much as six stories high. Unlike a “Texas doughnut” multifamily design that places outward-looking apartments around a core parking area, this project will enhance a sense of community with open space where residents can gather.The exterior walls will be what Arnold called a “concrete sandwich wall” consisting of a 6-inch-thick wythe on the outside, a 4-inch-thick wythe on the inside, and a 6-inch layer of expanded polystyrene foam insulation in the middle. Inner and outer layers of concrete will be connected with fiberglass ties placed every 18 inches. The ties, Arnold said, have very high tensile strength and a low potential for thermal bridging.Wall insulation will run continuously up to the parapet level to meet the tapered rigid insulation in the roof, which will vary in thickness from 12 inches to 15 inches. Original plans called for polyiso insulation in the roof, but Arnold said that could be changed in favor of extruded polystyrene.The buildings will be constructed with an innovative concrete-forming technique in which walls, floor slabs and columns are poured as a monolithic unit. The aluminum forms made by Western Forms are engineered for this specific job and can be assembled two to five times faster than conventional concrete forms, Arnold said, helping to lower construction costs.With the monolithic concrete pours and continuous insulation, he said, the building achieves what Passivhaus certification requires — a continuous, non-thermal bridging insulation layer and, thanks to the concrete, very low levels of air leakage.A “structural grid system” designed for the project by its structural engineers includes concrete columns on roughly 30-foot centers, allowing interior walls that are not load-bearing. On the first floor, Arnold said, this design would permit a change in use from residential to something else — an urgent care center, for example — at some point in the future without changing the structure of the building.“Some of this started with a trip to Rome and looking at the Parthenon and saying, ‘This building has been around for 2,000 years, practically,’” Arnold said. “‘This is really incredible. Imagine if we could make a flexible structure that, if maintained, could last a very long time.” When building means more more than making a profitArnold’s work with a United Nations sustainable development project and the Rio +20 conference convinced him that some sustainable housing solutions were just too big for most non-profits to handle. They required the financial muscle of a larger for-profit corporation, but rules governing conventional corporations were too restrictive.Arnold Development is a registered B Corporation, a designation which allows corporate officers to pursue projects even when they don’t necessarily maximize shareholder value. A B Corporation is free to look for what Arnold called a “triple bottom line” — results that benefit people, planet, and profit.Part of that formula will be the inclusion of affordable housing in the Kansas City mix; 20% of the apartments will be earmarked for people who earn 50% of the average median income in the area. And those apartments will be mixed in with those selling at market rates. “The idea is you nip gentrification in the bud,” Arnold said.According an article in The Kansas City Star, Arnold hopes to introduce a financing plan that allows residents to build equity in the property by purchasing shares in a real estate investment trust (REIT) rather than simply paying rent.“The REIT model has the potential to revolutionize the rental housing market by effectively turning renters into owners in the underlying real estate assets,” he told the newspaper. “Within a generation, entire neighborhoods made up of sustainable, long-lasting, multifamily housing could be ‘owner-occupied’ and debt-free.” Renewable energy in the mixStaengl Engineering estimates monthly utility bills for tenants will range from $17.24 for someone living in a 550-square-foot studio to a high of $40.76 for a 1,300-square-foot apartment. Energy consumption would be 235 kWh and 555 kWh respectively.Heating and cooling will be provided by a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system with an energy-recovery ventilator (ERV) located at each floor level. Domestic hot water will be produced by a Capstone Microturbine running on natural gas.Triple-pane windows will have a whole-window U-factor of 0.13 and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.4, according to Staengl’s report.The project will have a photovoltaic array on the top of each of the two C-shaped buildings, for a total rated capacity of 150 kW.Galen Staengl said by telephone that while the R-value of the exterior wall (R-23) seems low for a Passivhaus structure, the building has a much higher ratio of interior space to wall than a single-family building would have.“The more interesting thing is that in multifamily buildings, with a good surface-to-volume ratio, the insulation levels that are required are much lower than for a single-family residence purely because of that improved surface-to-volume ratio,” he said.“Passivhaus requirements are envelope requirements,” he continued. “There’s an envelope load requirement but it’s a per-square-foot number, and so in a big multifamily building where you have a very advantageous surface-to-volume ratio, there’s a lot less heat loss in general. Because you’re starting out with that advantage, the additional insulation required to get to a Passivhaus wall is much lower, and in some cases is actually approaching code on the wall.” Big enough to make a difference in the industrySecond and Delaware, which Arnold Development plans to own as well as develop, is big enough to show large institutional investors a type of construction that is not only feasible but profitable. Smaller projects, those with fewer than 250 apartments, are outside the sweet spot for large investors, he said, so a meaningful shift in the housing industry will require projects that institutional investors are willing to underwrite.“What we wanted to do was move Passivhaus out of the small boutique kind of scale,” he said. “Institutional investors — pension funds, and REITS, life insurance companies — are the ones that are buying the majority of multifamilies in the U.S., and they’re not going to buy a 100-unit project. It’s not big enough for them. Two hundred and fifty units is the low end of the sweet spot for maximizing onsite labor. If you have less than 250 units, the institutional investors have found the economies of scale aren’t there.“If we really want to make an impact on what’s being built,” Arnold continued, “we need to build product at a scale that’s going to be attractive to their investment criteria. This is the first truly institutional scale, institutional investor scale, project.”There are also good financial reasons for embracing Passivhaus construction, he said. Although higher in cost initially, they will have lower operating costs, much lower long-term maintenance costs and will prove to be more profitable than projects that are “myopically focused on first costs.”last_img read more

Read More »

IPL 2011: Delhi and Hyderabad fight for survival

first_imgIt will be a battle for survival when down-in-the-dumps Delhi Daredevils take on an equally distraught Deccan Chargers in their Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday.Having got all their calculations wrong right from picking the right combination of players in the auctions to losing matches from strong positions, Delhi will not only have to win all their remaining matches, but also hope that other results turn out in their favour if they want a backdoor entry into the play- off stage of the IPL. Delhi will once again hope that skipper Virender Sehwag leads from the front as they have their backs to the wall.While the batting depends heavily on Sehwag and David Warner, who has 254 runs from nine matches, the bowlers haven’t come good either.Although Morne Morkel – 11 wickets – and Irfan Pathan – six wickets – have fired in patches, the consistency is definitely missing.Even the back- up bowlers have been off the mark.The domestic players have been the biggest disappointment for Delhi as other than Venugopal Rao, 250 runs from nine matches, most have failed to justify their selection.Deccan on their part aren’t any better off.Led by Kumar Sangakkara, the team has failed to click as a unit. One more loss and they too will be on the verge of an early exit.They have one of the most successful pace bowlers in the world in Dale Steyn, who has picked 10 wickets from eight games at a good economy of 6.85. Ishant Sharma, however, has failed to pick up wickets regularly or stem the flow of runs.advertisementBut Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha have done a fine job and Sangakkara will be hoping that they can spin a web around the Delhi batsmen.In the batting department, the likes of Cameron White – 89 runs from five matches – and domestic star Shikhar Dhawan – 197 runs from nine matches – have failed to take the initiative.It has been a lone battle for San- gakkara – 250 runs from nine matches – who too has failed to get going in tough situations.Having played against Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday, Deccan didn’t train on Wednesday.But Delhi hit the nets with a vengeance.While Sehwag was missing as he will arrive only on Thursday morning – celebrating his son’s birthday – Warner looked more than eager to hit out of the poor form that has struck him.In the bowling department, while Irfan seemed to be hitting a nice rhythm as he got the ball to swing in to the batsmen, Morkel was content hitting the deck and troubling the batsmen with pace.Irfan even had a prolonged session with the bat as all the batsmen looked to play the spinners considering that both Mishra and Ojha have been in fine form.With the wicket at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium known to be a batting paradise, it will be interesting to see if Sehwag can stamp his authority or whether the Deccan Chargers finally manage to improve their record at home.last_img read more

Read More »