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Manufacturer promotes sustainable buildings for mining industry

ENERGY SAVER Perfect-Places offers a building solution that is warmer in winter and cooler in summer, reducing the need for heating and cooling

ENERGY SAVER Perfect-Places offers a building solution that is warmer in winter and cooler in summer, reducing the need for heating and cooling

25th March 2016

By: Malusi Mkhize

journalist

  

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Modular building solutions provider Perfect-Places is assessing the building needs of the South African mining industry with a view to introducing its range of thermal-insulated modular homes that reduce construction time.

The Cape Town-based company constructs buildings that are warmer in winter and cooler in summer – requiring little or no additional heating or cooling and, therefore, saving on energy costs for clients.

The internal walls comprise either medium- density fibreboard or are clad in spruce pine, depending on clients’ preferences and budgets, and can be varnished or painted.

External walls are either made of magnesium oxide boards (MGO), which are weatherproof and can also be plastered and painted, or cladding, such as wood and boards which consist of insulation called isotherm.

“Using wood as a building material, as opposed to traditional brick and mortar, saves time and is cleaner and more sustainable, while embodied energy is reduced by 65% to 85%,” says Perfect-Places owner Erwin van der Weerd, adding that wood is one of the most renewable materials available, providing the correct amount of insulation, which reduces the impact of weather and noise.

He also highlights that energy efficiency usually refers to energy use once a building has been constructed. However, Perfect-Places structures come equipped with energy efficiency already built in, owing to the construction materials used.

“We have already implemented SANS 204, which states, among other regulations, that buildings should use energy efficiently and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.”

The official energy efficiency rating requirement for buildings is R-0.9; however, Perfect-Places structures exceed this with an R-value of 5.7

.

Van der Weerd notes that a significant aspect of mine-site accommodation is safety, noting that the company’s structures have a lifespan of 30 years. This puts the Perfect-Places buildings on a par with brick structures in terms of longevity.

He adds that wooden structures are more fire resistant than steel. “Steel can lose 50% of its structural strength after being exposed to fire for four minutes. Timber can take up to 30 minutes before its structural strength is compromised, offering mining operations a considerable safety value.”

While the company has yet to secure its first mining-related build, it is currently in the process of designing and building a 150-room hotel and commercial developments in KwaZulu-Natal.

Edited by Tracy Hancock
Creamer Media Contributing Editor

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