“Wow…significantly above expectation!”

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The second Stand 47 Winter Test Pilot completes her report…

The Stand 47 Winter Test saw Mila Crewe-Brown, our second guest and assistant editor at House and Leisure magazine, bravely tackle the Winter Test during a chilly ‘cold front’ this June. You too could be part of the #Wintertest, featuring an all expenses-paid night in this extraordinary Highveld home in exchange for your feedback.

Stand 47 : What was your first impression of the house and did anything specific catch your attention?

Mila : I was really impressed when I  walked in the front door, because the architectural detailing in this modern house is flawless. The timber parquet floor felt so warm throughout the living spaces, and the ‘oh so quite’ interior spaces had a calming effect on me. The home seems comfortable and inviting and I would not resist living here – it is the good life!

Stand 47 : How does the real thing compare with your expectations?

Mila : Wow. Significantly above expectation.

Stand 47 : Tell us about a night at Stand 47. Give us details!

Mila : On Saturday night at 9pm it was an icy cold 10 degrees outside, but inside we were sitting around in our T-shirts enjoying a toasty 23 degrees. It is hard to believe that one fireplace can successfully warm up such a large open plan space lined with glass and retain the heat. It was a comfortable temperature despite the cold front.

...sitting around with only t-shirts on during a cold front.

Stand 47 : What is your opinion of the home next morning?

Mila: Well, following the best night of sleep I have had in a long time, I’m feeling extremely comfortable in this home. Given its incredible sound and temperature insulation, it is an uplifting space to exist in.

Stand 47: Could you describe your favourite aspect of the home?

Mila: I love the sophisticated Modernist architecture, which is simultaneously comfortable to be in. Despite the slick design, meticulous detailing and hi-tech building systems, the house always felt warm, calm, and quiet. It not only inspires creativity, but also urges you to live your best life within the space.

Stand 47: And finally, we have to know, would you live here?

Mila: I had no idea a house with a well detailed Modernist design could be built without using bricks. I imagine I would be so productive in a home like this one where everything feels ‘just right’. The high-end finishes and considered design resulting from this building technology means that we could happily live here.

“Hell yes – I could so live here…”

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The first Stand 47 Winter Test Pilot report rolls in…

The Stand 47 Winter Test is now well underway at Stand 47. Leading industry journalists, celebrities and the public have been invited to spend an all expenses paid night in the home in the heart of a Highveld winter and report back on their experience to the public.

Our first guest was Michelle Snaddon, editor of Real Estate Magazine, who spent a winter’s night in the home earlier this week…

Stand 47 : What was your first impression of the house and did anything specific catch your attention?

Michelle : The home is light, airy and warm and I was specifically drawn to the sun-drenched interiors. In all, it felt warm, welcoming and cocooning from the moment I arrived.

Stand 47 : How does the real thing compare with your expectations?

Michelle : Wow. Significantly above expectation.

Stand 47 : Tell us about a night at Stand 47. Give us details!

Michelle : At 11pm it was below 8 degrees outside and a balmy 17 degrees inside. It’s astonishing how long the house retained its heat, given that the entire living area is lined with glass and there is no electrical heating. I felt relaxed and comfortable and there was no need to walk around in layers to keep warm. The entire house feels cocooned and is surprisingly more quiet than a traditional home.

Stand 47 : What was your opinion of the home next morning?

Michelle: I’m more than impressed by the acoustic and thermal insulation of Saint-Gobain walls and ceilings. And I love the fact that they offer a healthier lifestyle by improving the quality of the air. There’s no question about permanence for me: this house feels absolutely solid despite the fact that these are dry walls. They are weight-bearing too, so bicycles, art work and bookshelves can be suspended off the walls with ease.

Stand 47: Could you describe your favourite aspect of the home?

Michelle: I love its simple architectural lines and its seamless relationship with the outdoors and nature. Watching the sun rise the following frosty morning really brought it sharply into focus: I felt intimately connected with nature as the sunshine streamed in, lighting up the beautiful wooden parquet floors from one end of the living area to the other. It was 2.5 degrees outside and 11.5 inside – with no help from the fireplace either! I felt toasty all night and hadn’t even lit the fire.

Stand 47: We have to know, would you live in a house like this?

Michelle: Absolutely! I’ve never lived in a house that has such a vast living space without curtains or blinds, but Stand 47 shows that it can be done without compromising on comfort. The experience is altogether more comfortable and relaxing than living in a brick house – it’s chalk and cheese, literally.

THE STAND 47 WINTER TEST BEGINS…

Our Stand 47 Winter Test is now underway at Stand47 (a state-of-the-art home built almost entirely without-brick) with the core objective of proving that a home does not require electrical heating in winter to deliver a comfortable experience.

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South Africa is in for a cold and dark winter as load shedding forges ahead and energy costs are due to increase by over 12 percent. While many households will endure cold spells to keep down their energy costs, we are focused on providing alternatives and solutions…

We’re setting out to prove that building sustainably is not only energy efficient and cost-effective, but also luxurious from a comfort and quality point of view.

The Stand 47 #WinterTest

Leading industry journalists, celebrities and the public alike are invited to spend an all expenses-paid night in the home in the heart of a Highveld winter and report back on their experience to the public.

Further, the home’s internal and external temperature is being measured in real-time throughout winter, giving the public a rare glimpse into how a contemporary home can keep itself warm without the need for costly electrical heating.

Added to this, the home’s energy consumption is also being tracked live, delivering detailed data of how much energy the home is in fact consuming and producing over the course of a 24-hour day.

First in-line is Michelle Snaddon – editor of Real Estate Magazine, followed by Mila Crewe-Brown of House and Leisure. Guest also include journalist Jeremy Maggs and Gerhard & Kalika Painter, who are in the process of planning a new home build on Monaghan Farm where Stand 47 is situated. Importantly, our guests are not chosen by lucky draw – anybody with a sincere interest in the project is potentially eligible to be a Winter Test Pilot.

Guest feedback will be shared on Stand 47’s Twitter feed (@Stand_47) , Facebook feed and live updates to the Stand 47 website . All updates will also carry the #wintertest hashtag.

We believe Stand 47 serves as an example of what can be achieved when building with state-of-the-art building materials and considered design – and we’re now putting our beliefs to the test.

Winter-proof and Water-wise: Your garden the Stand 47 way

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A change of seasons offers new opportunities and challenges for any gardener. In the Highveld, winter brings with it nature’s equivalent of load shedding. The biggest challenge for many gardens is to survive with very little or no water at all. Establishing a water-efficient (water-wise) garden through landscaping that compliments an energy-efficiently designed building, is rewarding on many levels, and really not that hard to achieve.  Stand 47’s footprint is complemented by thoughtful landscape design that ensures year-round natural beauty.

A resilient garden is winter-proof, water-wise and low maintenance, saving you both money and time.

When planning a water-wise garden, select indigenous plants that are local to your area, as they are normally most suitable to cope when conditions are dry.

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A wonderful, water-wise way to brighten up any Highveld winter garden is to plant a variety of indigenous aloes. Aloes are low-water use, succulent plants that reveal their fiery orange, yellow and red flowers in the months of winter and range from the 6 m Aloe arborescens to the tiny, low-growing Aloe aristata. Aloes require very little maintenance and make ideal focal points for any garden rockery.

Another solution to bleak winter gardens is to design a garden that accommodates indigenous plants that are native to the Highveld. Plants such as Buddleja salvifolia, Ziziphus mucronata and Celtis africana are highly adapted to icy Highveld winters and will survive the cold by exhibiting frost-tolerant characteristics such as smaller leaves and slow-growing tendencies\

Hints and tips for winter gardening:

  • Reduce watering on lawns to once every two or three weeks in winter.
  • If you have not already done so, apply a thicker layer of mulch to your flower beds to retain heat and prevent cold damage during the winter months.
  • Low water-use indigenous plants only need to be watered in winter if they are showing signs of water-stress.  Water only once every 8 weeks if necessary.
  • Moderate water-use plants only need to be watered once a month in winter.
  • High water-use plants should be watered 2-3 times every two weeks during winter months.
  • Remember that the evaporation rate on the Highveld is almost zero in winter. This means that less watering and irrigation is required in the garden.

For more information on this and other water-wise gardening tips, visit www.waterwise.co.za

 

 

Going Green in the Building Trade: Standing at the EDGE of a new era.

 When considering the impact of commercial buildings and homes and their role in the current energy crisis, it’s frightening to think of just how much electricity it takes to keep end users comfortable in such an environment. Millions of rands are spent annually to maintain thermal and other comfort levels to an acceptable norm, so that workers can be optimally productive and home owners can feel comfortable.
This gives pause for thought about the building itself, its design and construction, materials used and processes followed to create, and maintain it.  To date, insufficient focus has been placed on these very important factors that influence the well-being of the end users of such commercial buildings, and also the impact thereof on the greater surroundings, and future generations to come.
One need only turn on the TV, read a news headline or scroll through Twitter to fully understand the gravity of the situation facing future generations on earth: food security, sustainability, global warming, rising inequality, energy and water supplies are  issues that cannot be ignored.
It’s reported that building-related greenhouse gas emissions

are currently set to double by 2030 under a high-growth scenario, and most of this will take place within emerging market
countries. Never has there been such a pressing need for a green building certification system available to all. It is time to rethink the sustainability of the construction industry and ensure that green buildings deliver a demonstrably different carbon footprint from conventional buildings.
When it comes to the need for changing attitudes towards construction methods and approaches, it is therefore reassuring for   consumers in all sectors of the building spectrum, that the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group) has designed a tool that addresses the needs of the residential, commercial and hospitality construction sectors.
 This tool is EDGE, which stands for Excellence in Design For Greater Efficiencies.  By using EDGE, the financial viability of a green building project can be determined at the early design stage. EDGE offers options that lead to an ideal set of technical solutions, which in turn reduce energy and water consumption, calculating
upfront costs and potential operational savings.  Underlying the user-friendly interface is a sophisticated set of country-specific calculations that create a single picture of building performance over time—making EDGE an effective intervention tool in combating climate change.
Until now, going green in the building business was considered a luxury for wealthy individuals or select multinational companies looking to make a branding statement. Today however, middle- and low-income buildings can also adopt environmentally sound designs.
The EDGE offers an inexpensive, and reliable way to generate real and dramatic savings on utility bills no matter what the income of the client or the kind of building they live or work in— whether a house, hospital, apartment building, hotel, or office.
 For more information on this tool, go to http://goo.gl/D56Aff.

Energy-saving windows: The clear choice

With temperatures down and the cost of electricity up, energy efficient house design continues to be a hot topic.  And although it’s finally also becoming a priority for local architects and housing developers,  an estimated  90% of South African homes remain inadequately insulated and vastly inefficient in terms of energy consumption.  Ceiling, pipe and geyser insulation is a good place to start if your aim is to start saving energy, at a relatively low cost. However, if you’re prepared to invest a bit more with the aim of a long-term energy saving investment, a step in the right direction would definitely be to replace your home’s existing 4mm float glass windows, with energy efficient windows made from low-e glass.

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Windows are a critical element of any house design and fulfill multiple objectives: they allow in natural light, fresh air, provide outside views, and are fundamental to the aesthetic. Who doesn’t love big windows that allow morning light to stream in, or sweeping views of a lush garden? Unfortunately windows can also be weak spots in a home’s thermal envelope, and could be costing you money. Thankfully glass and window technology has improved significantly in recent years, and high-performance windows now make energy-efficient homes possible with much greater freedom of design than ever before.

Whether considering a new build or a large-scale renovation, including energy efficient windows should be a priority. When choosing windows, it’s critical to purchase the most energy-efficient windows you can afford, because they will pay for themselves over their lifetime. Energy efficient windows come in different forms, the most commonly known as double-glazed or low-e. Low-e coatings provide various performance levels and the glass can be used in a variety of ways including single glazing, laminated glass or double glazed windows. Double-glazed windows use twice the amount of glass as standard Low-e windows, and are therefore very costly.  For a  relatively mild winter climate like South Africa (compared to the colder northern countries such as USA, Canada and Europe), low-e glass is a very good alternative to double-glazed windows.

Low-e is standard clear glass  with a special thin metal coating on one surface. The E in low-e refers to low emissivity and describes the capacity of a surface to radiate heat. Emissivity is measured across a scale from 0 to 1, where 1 represents the highest emissivity. Low-e glass can reduce the amount of heat loss by around 30% compared to ordinary glass. It also improves thermal efficiency by cutting glare and preventing damage interior furnishing caused by ultra-violet rays.

New generation low-e often uses laminated and toned glass combinations to provide superior performance over non-coated glass. The most effective solution is found by combining a low-e coating with double-glazing, such as has been done in Stand 47 where outdoor temperatures can reach well below freezing during winter. By using low-e coating and a suitable frame that limits the transfer of cold air, it’s possible to stop up to 70% of heat loss and 77% of heat gain when compared to standard glass.

 

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