When he isn’t fighting the war on waste or designing waste management infrastructure, the President of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA), Jan Palm, enjoys riding around the country on his Harley Davidson.
Palm is a Civil Engineer by training, but he explains what makes his job slightly different to that of his peers. “Most civil engineers design infrastructure for mankind to live better whereas in waste management we design infrastructure to protect the environment from mankind’s footprint.”
Long before it became ‘trendy’ to recycle and think about one’s environmental impact, Palm saw the need to develop infrastructure to manage waste: “In 1987 I read about the concept of landfills as bioreactors. This sparked my interest and I told my boss that we should explore the field of waste management as a future engineering opportunity. After some debate, I was allowed to ‘look into it’.”
Palm, who was designing sewage treatment projects for the engineering firm GFJ Inc at the time, certainly ‘looked into it’, and his foresight back then to specialise in this exciting and growing field has paid off.
In 1988 Palm established the Solid Waste Division of GFJ, and later rose to the position of Associate and shareholder before becoming a Regional Director of the company in 1995. The Western Cape offices of GFJ became Entech Consultants in 1996, and he left Entech and formed JPCE in 2003. Throughout his career Palm has specialised in designing engineering infrastructure for waste management.
Amongst the noteworthy projects he has been involved in, Palm mentions the first landfill using geosynthetics for the town of Windhoek in Namibia in the early 1990s. “The Windhoek landfill project was innovative in its design and opened up a whole new field of geosynthetics,” says Palm. He is currently working on a state of the art Waste-to-Energy project for the Drakenstein Municipality in the Western Cape.
Palm says each project has been fascinating in its own way, and adds that he finds great satisfaction in helping clients to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills and thereby move up the waste hierarchy. He is also aware of the unique aspects of designing waste management plants in Southern Africa: “We have to ensure that our designs balance out mechanical efficiency with the socio-economic need for jobs,” says Palm.
The biggest change in the field of Waste Management has been surrounding legislation, says Palm. “The changing legislation has opened many opportunities for environmental scientists and engineers to improve the level of design and quality of the infrastructure, leading to reduced risk to the environment.” The problem, however, says Palm is when legislation is not enforced.
Looking ahead Palm explains what worries him about landfills. “I am concerned about the pollution burden that poorly located, poorly designed and poorly managed landfills still place on our environment.” He adds that local political will to resolve these challenges appears to be lacking in many municipalities, and that the cost of legal compliance with norms and standards is often used as an excuse to do nothing.
Despite his concerns, the people in the field of Waste Management give Palm hope for the future. “Their enthusiasm, innovation and drive astonishes me,” he says, adding that he is excited about the innovative approaches being followed to reduce our environmental footprint, making green living more affordable.
While Palm seeks to add value in the industry through the various training courses and networking opportunities offered by the IWMSA, his personal dream is to tour around countries on his Harley Davidson motorbike with his wife. “Having done Route 66 in the USA, other countries that come to mind are New Zealand and Scandinavia,” concludes Palm.
For more information on the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa visit www.iwmsa.co.za. You can also follow IWMSA on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/iwmsa) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/IWMSA).
In Uganda, a college project that led to ‘Africa’s first electric car’ is now an automobile start-up on course to mass-produce green vehicles for Africa.
Off Kampala’s chaotic arterial streets, we are on a dirt road with speed bumps that are large mounds of red earth. The red leads to a yellow building up a slope with awkward barbed wire fencing on its compound walls.
We are at Kiira Motors Corporation’s offices in Ntinda, in northeastern Kampala, home to what the company calls ‘Africa’s first electric car’ and ‘Africa’s first solar-powered bus’.
Outside the main building, a large white bus is parked under a makeshift shed. A scaled-down model of the same is placed under the stairway leading up to the offices. In the distance, a profusion of plantain trees; and a searing sun at 9:30AM.
The bumpy roads to Kiira are in a way akin to the journey ahead for this automobile start-up, ever since the green transportation initiative it kick-started in a little corner of Uganda.
“It’s an uphill task but we are working round-the-clock to deliver on our promises to our nation and the world,” says Allan Muhumuza, Vice-President, Marketing & Sales of Kiira, on the company’s mission to build eco-friendly mobility solutions for urban masses in a country of about 40 million.
It all started in 2007 as an extra-curricular activity by a group of students and teachers of the Department of Engineering and Mathematics led by Professor Sandy Stevens Tickodri-Togboa and Paul Isaac Musasizi, currently CEO of Kiira, at Uganda’s Makerere University.
Tickodri-Togboa was head of the department and, together with Musasizi, decided “the paradigm for training university students should be changed, as by the time they graduated, they didn’t have the skills for a working world”.
So they decided to start various extra-curricular projects for students after normal class hours.
Along the way, they were invited to be part of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) initiative with the aim of designing and producing a five-passenger plug-in hybrid electric vehicle targeting the Indian market.
Makerere was “the only participant from Africa”, and as part of the project, eventually developed the two-seater Kiira EV, aptly the color green.
The financing came from the Presidential Initiative Fund for Science and Technology Innovations, and the electric car designed and built in Uganda for the first time was launched by President Yoweri Museveni in 2011.
“The original idea was to use the electric car in the Makerere University campus,” recalls Tickodri-Togboa.
In 2014, the team built Kiira EV SMACK, a sedan its makers say is ‘Africa’s first electric hybrid vehicle’; and thereafter in 2016, the 35-seater Kayoola Solar Bus, again ‘a first in Africa’.
“That we have talent in Uganda has been demonstrated with minimum resources… and we also have very good natural resources,” says Musasizi, the engineer-entrepreneur behind Kiira.
The government of Uganda, acting through the Uganda Investment Authority, has now allocated 100 acres of land for a vehicle assembly plant expected to open in Jinja, a town in the eastern region of Uganda, in 2018.
In contrast to the used expensive imported vehicles on Uganda’s roads, these will be factory-fresh vehicles made in Uganda.
Right now, Kiira has the three prototypes, and is looking at 305 units in the first year of production. These will mostly be pick-up trucks and buses.
The idea is to also convert the masses using public transport – mostly the ubiquitous matatus and boda bodas.
“We want to shift the market from 14-seater matatus to this. But most of all we want to reduce traffic and congestion. Our buses will be bigger to seat more people,” says Muhumuza, also an engineer.
“We realized that if we are to solve Africa’s traffic woes, the biggest need was to address public mass mobility, as that’s where the volumes and problems were. But also at the same time provide sustainable green solutions… Our emphasis was on the technology, to show that Africa can build solutions for Africa and these can be futuristic as well.”
At the time it was built, the solar bus cost an estimated $150,000 – it has solar panels on the top that powers lithium-ion batteries. If mass-produced, costs will come down.
“It’s a capital-intensive project and we are open to get tech and financing partners,” says Muhumuza, adding Kiira is in advanced talks with some technological partners.
“We are seeing a niche, a special place in public mobility in urban spaces that can be addressed by green buses,” says Musasizi.
East Africa’s automobile sector seems on track for more news. In neighboring Rwanda, there are reportedly plans to set up a Volkswagen manufacturing plant.
Outside the offices of Kiira, the prototype hybrid sedan is being ripped apart by men in blue overalls and being re-engineered. The car is a mere skeleton of its former self, but its journey on Uganda’s bustling streets, powered by an African sun, may just be about to begin.
The Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA), South Africa’s professional body for the engineered timber construction industry, issues a notice on compliance of laminated timber beams to be used for structural purposes.
NOTE: All laminated timber beams must comply with the minimum requirements outlined in SANS 1460: Laminated Timber. Further to this, all laminated timber beams are to be clearly stamped by the supplier, indicating the grade and the relevant accredited authority.
It is a requirement in terms of SANS 10163 ‘The Structural use of Timber’ and the National Building Regulations, SANS 10400, that all structural timber comply with the relevant product specification. The only way to demonstrate this is by means of certification by an ISO 17065-accredited certification body or by means of a registered structural engineer. There shall be recorded evidence of controls to support this, i.e. type and classification of structural adhesive and approval certificate of each batch, test results of the MOR (bending stress) and MOE (stiffness), grade classification, and markings, to name a few.
It is the responsibility of architects and engineers to call for certified structural timber, the relevant inspectors to ensure compliance, and design engineers, architects and truss manufacturers to specify products they can trust.
Making use of laminated timber products for structural purposes without the necessary certification and backing amounts to irresponsible business – and building – practice. The ITC-SA urges the trade and public to make use of structural timber from the formal trade and that bears the necessary marks.
Visit www.itc-sa.org/laminated-timber-viable-structural-applications/ to read more about laminated timber’s viability for use in structural applications.
For more information, visit www.itc-sa.org.
As government chases legislation to enforce the implementation of green building principles, analysts advise that embracing sustainable development is crucial for all sectors of South Africa.
Sustainable development specialists and property analysts have urged all South African businesses and developers to embrace the reality of “green building” as government actively pursues legislation to enforce more sustainable construction. Sustainable building academic at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Chris Allen advises that government is in the process of developing a green building framework aligned to the Green BuildingCouncil of South Africa’s green star rating system, in order to reap the benefits in government buildings throughout the country, namely more efficient operation leading to lower running costs.
On the back of these moves to strengthen South Africa’s already significant switch to more sustainable buildings in the wake of the energy crisis of 2008, government is providing both the carrot and stick to get the private sector to follow suit.
“You’re going to see the private sector adopting green building practices more vigorously, with the government starting to request energy performance certificates for their buildings this year, with the aim of asking the same of commercial buildings from 2018 and the private sector from 2020,” said Allen.
Allen recently spoke on the topic at a regional SA Property Owners Association (SAPOA) meeting in Port Elizabeth. He was joined by sustainable solutions experts Brian van Niekerk, managing director of sustainable solutions company Rhino Group, and Heather McEwan, MD of Rhino Group company Rhino Lighting.
Allen, a lecturer in building science within the department ofconstruction management at NMMU, said: “The real benefits to green buildings start to accrue when it comes to their running costs. The commercial reality is that their running costs are 30 to 40% down on conventional developments. Added to this is a similar improvement in the productivity levels of people working in green buildings as a result of increased natural lighting levels, ventilation rates and even how those commuting to these buildings get there.”
Last year a research report by Allen and fellow NMMU academic Katharina Crafford based on Rhino Group’s showcase House Rhino – which is an energy-plus home located at Crossways Farm Village outside Port Elizabeth – was hailed at a global conference in the UK. African Energy-Plus construction: A case study of House Rhino received the Chair’s Award at the Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society international conference at Leeds Beckett University.
“Due to the energy crisis that South Africa has experienced over the past seven years, challenging preconceived ideas by creating attractive, affordable, energy efficient buildings has become critical to offsetting massive cost increases for electricity,” reads the research report.
Van Niekerk said there were already a myriad of avenues for corporates to reduce their energy consumption without implementing major or costly energy savings systems.
“During our energy efficiency audits of major businesses and retailers, many of the buildings which we go into don’t meetbasic energy efficiency requirements. By making simple changes in their daily operations, those businesses have saved tens of thousands of rands on energy costs,” said Van Niekerk.
Often businesses neglected making the most of the space at their disposal, said Van Niekerk. Rhino Group has recently completed a 3MW solar installation for a client in Johannesburg – using mounted solar panels with the dual purpose of creating undercover parking for the client.
It takes typically seven years for a landlord to cover the costs of solar installations, said Van Niekerk, adding: “It’s a very good investment. For landlords, when you look at the return on investment, you can protect yourself by having renewable energy to cover you in case tenants default – plus you’re greening the building for the tenant.”
McEwan, whose company also undertakes energy audits for major companies, said one recent audit revealed that the amedium-sized retailer could save more than R12 000 annually – or reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 10 tonnes – simply by changing the setting on the air conditioning system from 18˚C to 22˚C.
SAPOA Port Elizabeth chairman Mark Bakker said while the perceived cost of developing a green building has always appeared to be prohibitive, “one needs to take into account not only the direct savings that will be made by using alternate sources, but also the indirect benefits that will be gained through higher achievable rentals, longer term and happier tenants”.
“Property owners need to explore the ‘going green’ avenue, not only because government is implementing requirements or because ‘it’s the right thing to do’, but also because in the longer term they will benefit from happier tenants,” said Bakker.
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An East African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, or EACREEE, has been launched at Makerere University in Uganda to address energy issues faced by the five East African Community nations of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
It joins the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres, coordinated by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization or UNIDO.
“The centres respond to the urgent need for increased regional cooperation and capacities to mitigate existing barriers to renewable energy and energy efficiency investment, markets and industries,” UNIDO says.
EACREEE has been created by the East African Community or EAC states with support from the Austrian Development Agency, UNIDO and the Australian Agency for International Development, as part of global efforts to make Sustainable Energy for All a reality in 2030, as per the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
EACREEE’s work will contribute particularly to the cross-cutting areas of the goal on sustainable energy, and the goal on sustainable industrial development. It will work towards limiting average global surface temperature increases.
The centre is based in Makerere University’s college of engineering, design, art and technology, and operates through a network of national focal institutions among all East African states.
EACREEE’s main aim is to develop and implement a regional renewable energy policy framework for the EAC, and facilitate its implementation at national levels to ensure the availability of sufficient, reliable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly energy sources.
This will be achieved through innovative partnerships within the region and beyond that will tackle energy, climate and development challenges simultaneously.
What the centre will do
The centre was inspired by the success of the Economic Community of West African States’ ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, and responds to the different energy challenges East African countries are facing, including energy access, energy security and climate change mitigation.
EACREEE will act as a regional think-tank as well as strengthening ongoing national activities in the areas of policy and capacity development, knowledge management, awareness raising, and investment in and business promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
It will contribute towards improved access to modern, affordable and reliable energy services, energy security and mitigation of negative externalities of energy systems – such as pollution – by creating an enabling environment for renewable energy, and energy efficiency markets and investments.
“The centre will promote all appropriate and sustainable renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, promote small-scale and medium-scale hydro power projects, and bio-fuel projects and liquid petroleum gas cooking projects,” said Professor Henry Alinaitwe, principal of the college of engineering, design, art and technology at Makerere.
EACREEE will support and execute renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that cover one or more EAC countries, focusing primarily on activities with regional impact or national projects that demonstrate high potential for scaling-up or regional replication.
“Adequate renewable energy is key towards promoting industrialisation and subsequently achieving middle-income status by 2020,” said Jesca Eriyo, EAC deputy secretary general, at the centre’s launch earlier this month.
Philippe Scholtes, managing director at UNIDO, emphasised the importance of inclusive and sustainable industrial development, and the roles of sustainable energy and private-public partnerships. “The global network of regional sustainable energy centres assists development partners in an effective and efficient way,” said Scholtes.
The Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres platform offers an umbrella for South-South activities, according to UNIDO. There is a common understanding that some ‘soft barriers’ to renewable energy and energy efficiency can be tackled more effectively and at lower cost through regional approaches.
The expanding post-2015 South-South and triangular partnership comprises various centres in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and other regions, and they enjoy high-level support from energy ministers.
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NAIROBI, (CAJ News)- THE continent’s first solar-powered bus, whose production is set for 2018, has been hailed as major breakthrough towards Africa’s commitment to the United Nations global Agenda for Sustainable Development for 2030 and validated Uganda as ready for automotive manufacturing and engineering.
The innovation has been one of the highlights of the second session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), at the just-concluded United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Headquarters in Nairobi.
Known as the Kayoola Solar Bus, it is a product of the Uganda-based Kiira Motors and a brainchild of the Makerere University under the Uganda Development Corporation (UDC), which is the investment arm of the Ugandan Government, as a presidential initiative for automotive manufacturing.
The Kayoola Solar Bus, produced in 2016 is one of the three concept vehicles produced by the Kiira Vehicle Technology Innovation Programme.
It is a 35-seater electric bus with zero tailpipe emissions, a range of 80 km, with latent range extension from the real-time charging enabled by the roof mounted solar panels.
One of its two batteries can be charged by solar panels on the roof which increases the vehicle’s 80km (50 mile) range.
The development of the Kayoola Solar Bus Concept represents the commitment of the Kiira Motors Project to championing the progressive development of local capacity for vehicle technology innovation, a key ingredient for institutionalizing a sustainable vehicle manufacturing industry in the East African country.
The solar bus, which makes the most of the abundance of sunlight in the country, is intended for urban areas than inter-city use because of the restrictions on the distance it can travel.
If it is mass produced, each bus would cost up to US$58 000.
Achim Steiner, the UNEP Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of the UN, is among delegates that toured the Kayoola Solar Bus during a tour of the Sustainable Innovations Expo, held at the sidelines of the UNEA conference where the bus was on showcase, in addition to being the official green transport partner for the UN conference.
Steiner expressed excitement and pride to see 21st century mobility technology being put “on the road in Africa, by Africans.”
“I challenge local investors in to invest in the fast growing green economy in Africa, as is exhibited through the production of environmentally friendly vehicles,” said Steiner.
Paul Isaac Musasizi, the Chief Executive Officer Kiira Motors, lauded the endorsement of Kayoola Solar Bus by the UNEP.
He committed to further engage the government and private sector for further policy and investment commitment.
Pretoria — South Africa’s mining industry has plenty of opportunities that young people from diverse backgrounds and educational qualifications can access.
The Deputy Director General of Mineral Regulation, Joel Raphela, at the Department of Mineral Resources on Tuesday said government supports youth upliftment programmes aimed at improving young people’s participation in mining.
“We continue to reach the youth through the departmental Learner Week Programmes, where we create mining awareness by organising mine visits around the country.
“We also provide learnerships and internships to learners and graduates as part of bridging the work experience gap needed in the employment market,” said Raphela at the Youth in Mining Summit held in Johannesburg.
The summit comes as South Africa commemorates the 40th anniversary of June 16. The entire month is used to focus on matters of youth development.
Delegates at the summit on Tuesday included youth formations, captains of industry and young entrepreneurs. Raphela said there are numerous opportunities young people can tap into through the department’s state entity Mintek, a research and development organisation specialising in all aspects of mineral processing, extractive metallurgy and related technology.
Mintek has been helping young people, who may not have higher education qualifications, find sustainable mechanisms of generating income while also creating jobs for others in jewellery making, glass bead manufacturing and pottery.
“Urban mining presents numerous opportunities for young people to use urban waste to manufacture saleable products, without necessarily having a higher education qualification. The glass bead manufacturing process is a great example of this.
“Mintek provides training in the crushing of glass bottle waste using particular techniques and turning the crushed glass into beads that are then used to make products such as household decoration items and costume jewellery,” said Raphela.
Mintek has further assisted the provincial government of the Northern Cape by setting up two training and beneficiation centres in Upington and Prieska, which provide practical training for making jewellery from semi-precious stones – especially the tiger’s eye that is mined in the province.
Participants are also assisted to develop skills for grading semi-precious gemstones using simple techniques that are easily acquired, so that they can manufacture products that are of good quality for the market.
Last year, Mintek provided practical training to 148 students, in partnership with the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) and the Department of Science and Technology. Thirty-six of these students have been placed in numerous foundries across the country, where they gain practical skills for melting metals and casting them into aluminium or cast iron products.
The Department has also recently appointed 38 learner inspectors after they successfully completed a two-year training programme. Forty-two percent of the inspectors are women.
This programme was initiated by the department, in collaboration with the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA), Sibanye Gold and AngloGold Ashanti.
Unemployed graduates were recruited from previously disadvantaged groups and given practical experience in the field of occupational hygiene, surveying, mining, electrical and mechanical engineering.
How is 3D software transforming the architecture industry?
3D software is beneficial to both the process of design and the representation of design to clients and other stakeholders.
The historic 2D representation of architectural concepts is difficult for many clients to imagine as built liveable space. Scaled physical models, which supplemented 2D drawings, provided a better understanding of the form and general aesthetic of the building, however, 3D digital software represents architecture at the human scale. A person can now walk through a building or view it on the site as he/she would in the real built form.
For architects and designers, 3D software provides opportunities to engage with architecture “inside-out”, exploring spatial interconnections in volume. The scales of experience and grades of intimacy between user and space are unlimited, thereby enhancing the development of place through socio-spatial interaction, which all good architecture aspires to.
Do you believe this is a trend which is set to grow and why?
This trend has been growing ever since inception. The demand for high quality 3D software is on the increase. This has driven the continuous development of 3D software packages which has seen new/revised versions being released in short time. Software developers have grasped this opportunity although market competition is high.
Is the cost not prohibitive or is this coming down – is this perhaps a factor in its adoption at the moment?
Cost does not seem to be prohibitive as the vast majority of architectural practices are using 3D software. There are “Lite” versions of software at lesser cost, with obviously fewer possibilities and options. Student versions are a fraction of the cost of the full versions and this exposes young practitioners to 3D software. A significant number of these students move on to set up private practices which then purchase licensed versions of software for commercial use.
How is 3D technology being used today by architects, what are some of the more innovative ideas and solutions?
Some of the more organic or amorphous architectural forms, which are near impossible to achieve through 2D drawings or physical modelling, become possible with 3D modelling. Many internationally acclaimed, award-winning architects rely heavily on 3D software for design development. Nowadays, 3D software affords interdisciplinary interfaces with engineering and construction software, which can translate ambitious and innovative design forms and structures into working drawings, details and ultimately, production / construction.
What are the implications of this technology for the industry in SA?
3D software has to translate into Building Information Modelling (BIM), in order to realise idea / concept as built form; this is what will transform practise in South Africa, especially in the SMME sector. Computer technology has literally shrunken the office footprint and the one-person practise becomes much more possible. Access to the profession and business is therefore easier, which is of particular importance to transformation in a volatile, growing economy.
Any other thoughts?
3D software and digital technology has to be harnessed and exploited to the fullest in order to benefit practices in the SMME sector. Technology has redefined the concept of the office or studio as well as access to resources. Mobility and connection is the way of professional business today – a computer with the relevant software and wifi is all that may be required to run a sustainable practise. The office and library have largely become virtual spaces, while the coffee shop has taken the place of meeting room. All this is to the credit of computer and digital technologies.
South African defence company Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) has helped set up a munitions manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia in a venture with that country’s Military Industries Corporation (MIC), the Saudi Press Agency has reported. According to MIC head Mohammad Almadhi the establishment of the plant cost some $240-million and it was built under licence from, and with the assistance of, RDM. The new factory was opened on March 27 by South African President Jacob Zuma and by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
(Prince Mohammed is also his country’s Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MIC). The facility is located at Al-Kharj, in central Saudi Arabia, south of the capital, Riyadh.
The plant will manufacture 60 mm, 81 mm and 120 mm mortar bombs, 105 mm and 155 mm artillery shells and aircraft bombs ranging from 226 kg (500 lb) to 907 kg (2 000 lb). It is composed of nine industrial buildings, each with its own specific function, including heat treatments and surface treatments, assembly and filling, processing, packaging, destructive and nondestructive testing. According to Almadhi, the factory has a production capacity of 300 artillery shells or 600 mortar bombs a day.
It will be staffed by 130 engineers and operators. He further noted that his company was now able to make many different defence products. RDM is a joint venture between German defence group Rheinmetall Waffe Munition and South African State-owned defence industrial group Denel and was created in 2008. Rheinmetall holds 51% of RDM and Denel the remaining 49%. RDM describes itself on its website as a company that “specialises in the development, design and manufacture of large- and medium-calibre ammunition families and is a world leader in the field of artillery, mortar and infantry systems as well as plant engineering”.
The Middle East is one of its target markets.
Aurecon, a global engineering consultant, has been awarded a 5-Star Green Star SA
Office v1 Design rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) for the company’s second office building in Century City, Cape Town. Aureconâ€™s earlier premises in Century City were completed in 2011 and achieved the distinction of being the first 5-Star Green Star SA rated building in South Africa.
“Aurecon is leading by example in designing and occupying green buildings for our own offices,” says Aurecon’s Cape Town Office Manager, Coenie Fick. “We are reaping the benefits of much lower electricity costs with more than 60 per cent saving, pleasant and productive environments, as well as an enhanced reputation as one of the world leaders in sustainable development.”
Rapidly outgrowing their first 7 000 mÂ² Century City office premises, Aurecon developed a second building that is connected to the first one by a sky-bridge. The new building is called Aurecon West. The versatile design of the new Aurecon West makes provision for the company’s continuing growth in the Cape region, comprising 4 700 mÂ² of premium office space on three levels together with 3 200 mÂ² of parking space on two levels. Aurecon is initially only occupying one office level. The remaining floors have been made available for other tenants to experience the benefits of a 5-Star green office environment. In addition, the lowest office level has been adapted for use as a third parking area, which will enable a convenient expansion of the office space in the future.
Continuing the successful project partnership established with the first Aurecon Century City offices, the second building has been developed by the Rabie Property Group for owners Ingenuity Property Investments. Aurecon was responsible for the engineering services and the Green Star rating application, assisted by Ludwig Design Consulting. MaC Architects were again involved with the design of the building.
Aurecon West was completed in February 2016 at a cost of R92.7 million. “The steep learning curve to address the ground-breaking challenge of achieving the country’s first
5-Star rated building with Aurecon East had the benefit of enabling a seamless delivery on Phase 2,” comments Aurecon Technical Director, Heinrich Stander. “This was also in line with the international trend as supply chains for green materials and technologies mature, and the industry becomes more skilled at delivering green buildings.”
The power efficiency that Aurecon achieved for the Phase 1 building had a spin-off for Phase 2. With efficiency far exceeding expectations and the consequent reduced requirement for back-up power, it was possible for one of the two back-up generator sets to be relocated to the Phase 2 project. Another interesting development was in the approach used for water conservation and management. Instead of the rainwater harvesting system used in Phase 1, the new project exploited its access to treated effluent water from the Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Works. The effluent water is processed within the building to an acceptable level that completely eliminates the demand on potable water for toilet flushing.
Aurecon has accumulated first-hand experience of the positive return on investment achievable with efficient green building design. Phase I was the first green rated building in Century City and Phase 2 has become the tenth. “The trend doesn’t stop there,” claims Stander. “The cost-neutral and beneficial green design principles that Aurecon engineers and designers have experience in applying are also proposed for, and generally incorporated in, our ‘non-green’ rated projects.”