Mauritius, the business-friendly island nation, is celebrating their first Green Star rating at the Mon Tresor Business Gateway. The Mon Tresor Smart City is one of several schemes aimed at consolidating the convenience of Mauritian international business and financial services through helping residents’ work-life balance.
Based on sustainable values, quality of life and inclusivity, the Smart City’s office park and nearby residential development is designed to enhance the local and cosmopolitan flavor of Mauritian life. This sustainable ethic was crystalized by the Green Building Council South Africa, in collaboration with the Green Building Council Mauritius, awarding a 4-star Green Star Office v1.1 Rating to the Mon Tresor Business Gateway-Office Park, developed by Omnicane and Eris.
The building ensures people work productively inside it, and through its construction and management, treads lightly on the environment.
Efficient use of energy and water is a characteristic throughout the building made up of three office blocks sharing a basement and podium level. The cooled-air HVAC, refreshing the air at a rate of 12.5 litres per second per person, uses very little water and is assisted by fixed external shading and internal blinds. Actuators and fixtures ensure that direct water use is reduced and what is flushed away is used for irrigation after flowing through a sewage treatment plant. Other characteristics include an integrated building management system, connected to a sub-meter on each floor, which can record and display energy usage in real time, a recyclable component in more than 90% of all structural steel and parking spaces for fuel efficient and two-wheeled vehicles.
Rating helps define green building
“The Mon Trésor Business Gateway will guide other developers and practitioners as it not only raises awareness of the various aspects of green building, but also formalises what a green building means,” said Enerxis Managing Director Ashley Boodhoo, the Green Star Accredited Professional who successfully managed the Green Star submission for the Mon Tresor Business Gateway-Office Park, with the support of a South African Green Star Accredited Professional from Solid Green, Annelide Sherratt.
“This recognition of the formal Green Star rating will in turn encourage new markets for environmentally-sustainable products and materials, in line with the broad approach to design and construction of Green Star certification,” said Boodhoo.
Green Star certification provides a green building standard for built environment professionals in Mauritius to design and develop buildings that benefit both the owners and users by offering accelerated property value, reduced operational costs, and tenants who are able to provide a more comfortable, healthier and more productive space for their staff.
Demand for green buildings which reflects an awareness of environmental concerns and benefits is increasing in Mauritius where governmental efforts to encourage the understanding of their commercial benefits is expected to see more Green Star-rated developments rise across the Mauritian skyline. Globally, the number of green buildings doubles approximately every three years.
Mauritius maturing green sector
Like other nations, Mauritius has stepped forward from an environment where there was a void of legal framework for the green building concept, which was initially simply assumed to mean energy efficiency and renewable energy and where local, sustainably-sourced building materials were not available.
Today the market is moving towards green building practices, characterized by the training and advocacy work of the Green Building Council of Mauritius (GBCM), more conducive state guidelines including energy efficiency building codes and updates to the Building Control Act, and various green initiatives launched by local enterprises.
In a global context of multiple green building rating tools, it was found that the Green Star rating tool was well adapted to African contexts, where some nations have further customized the tool to their local contexts, such as in Mauritius where Green Star has been locally adapted for Mauritius through a local context report. The tool offers further flexibility as it gives the possibility of not only a Design Certification (at tender stage of a project), for new building projects to market themselves to prospective tenants, but also at As Built stage when construction has been completed. Green Star also has an additional tool for existing buildings in operation, which assesses 12 months of performance of an occupied building. The GBCM uses the Green Star Africa rating system operated by the GBC South Africa.
Skills partnership between SA and Mauritius
The four-star rating for Mon Tresor Business Gateway-Office Park was project managed by Mauritian Enerxis Solutions in partnership with South Africa-based Solid Green who assisted with their experience and expertise in green design, energy modelling, documentation and the certification process.
“It was a very good and fruitful partnership. Solid Green gave us confidence in the ground work we were doing locally, however as this was the very first Green Star project in Mauritius, we were not sure how the council would assess the documentation. Enerxis Solutions Ltd learned a lot from Solid Green. I’m sure there will be other collaboration with Solid Green in the future,” said Boodhoo.
“The project has proven that it is possible to achieve a Green Star rating in Mauritius,” said Green Star AP Annelide Sherratt of Solid Green, who partnered to prepare the submission for the project. “Enerxis are equipped to apply Green Star Principles in their design disciplines and documentation of the building process, and can now practice and pass on these skills while involved in other projects in Mauritius.”
The GBCM started a decade ago when only a handful of people knew of green building, today everyone has a notion of what is a green building, according to Joya Bhandari, GBCM CEO. “Besides increased queries about certification, increasingly more projects integrate the principles, products and services associated with the green building value chain,” Bhandari said.
More info on GBCM: www.gbcm.mu
More info on GBCSA: www.gbcsa.org.za
More info on Enerxis: www.enerxis.mu
More info on Solid Green: www.solidgreen.co.za