Perfect Places, the company behind the building of the Hemp House in Noordehoek, is re-imagining construction methods in South Africa using environmentally sensitive and responsible techniques. The company has developed a patented modular technique for home or office architecture that offers numerous environmental and design based advantages over traditional building methods whilst still remaining economically comparable to a typical brick and mortar style home.
The basis of the development of the Perfect Places modular product was the desire to create a product that would out-compete common building practise in terms of environmental impact, whilst still staying true to beautiful design, quality workmanship and practical application.
To truly discover the environmental cost of their materials, Perfect Places partnered with Blue Pebble, an independent environmental agency based in Knysna, who established the carbon footprint of their product from ‘cradle to gate’ (from the source of the materials to their delivery on site) and is currently working on the 'cradle to grave' study. The materials used for the modular walls are made from local natural or recycled products wherever possible in order to reduce the product’s carbon footprint.
The modular building technique allows for a great reduction of on-site building time and substantially reduces the environmental impact of the construction process on the land. Once the plans have been approved, the walls, floors and roof support system of the house are constructed in large panels in a factory. These panels, replete with insulation, plumbing and wiring are then taken out to the building site and installed in a matter of days. Once the basic panels are in place, cladding is installed, the plumbing and electrical points are connected, and the finishing touches are made to the building.
This method results in an on-site build time of as little as 2 months. Furthermore, due to the intelligent design and usage of the panels there is as little as 2% wastage of materials during construction, a number far lower than that encountered in traditional building techniques where bricks break, cement dries to quickly, and sand is lost to the wind.
Most critics of the green building industry will cite massive costs, short life-spans and products that underperform as dangerous side effects of building with the environment in mind. However, not only is this modular system environmentally friendly, it also outcompetes its competitors in matters of insulation, liveability and practicality, not to mention cost. Despite the common perception that environmentally sensitive products are prohibitively expensive, Perfect Places' buildings are of comparable cost to a typical brick and mortar house, and are far more efficient and environmentally sound.
The insulation of these buildings is incredible, seven times greater than government regulation, which greatly reduces the energy requirements to either heat or cool the buildings.
Furthermore, due to the modular nature of the structures, extensions can be made at relatively little cost and hassle. Optional extras include grey-water filtration systems, solar arrays, LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances and more.
The company is currently constructing a home in Greyton using their patented technique, and have three more houses in Knysna and several refurbishments and extensions planned for the near future
For more information on Perfect Places visit their website, www.perfect-places.co.za