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UCT triumphs in environmental innovation at South Africa’s third Greenovate Awards

Young environmental game-changes from the University of Cape Town (UCT) took first place in the Greenovate Awards for the third year running. UCT scooped up the very first Greenovate Engineering Award too.

The awards programme is an exciting initiative by Growthpoint Properties in association with the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA). The prestigious awards recognise innovative solutions for the property industry to environmental challenges.

This is the third year the awards have strived to inspire and encourage students of the built environment to discover, explore and invent ways to live more sustainably. Also, for the first time this year, the awards were extended to include a second category for engineering students.

The students were challenged to come up with ideas for any property-related project that makes the way we live greener and our environmental footprint lighter.

A total of eight universities competed for both awards this year. UCT was the only one to take up the challenge in both award streams. Groups from each of the participating universities competed internally first, and the two top projects from each were chosen as finalists. This year the awards adjudicated a record 16 finalist teams.

For the Greenovate Awards, two finalist teams each came from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), UCT, Nelson Mandela University (NMU) and the University of the Free State (UFS), and one represented the University of Pretoria (UP).

For the first ever Greenovate Engineering Awards, two finalist teams each represented UCT, Stellenbosch University and North West University (NWU) and one team came from the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

The winners were announced at a gala dinner in Sandton Central with keynote speaker, serial tech entrepreneur Stafford Masie, who said: “…as much as it is about technology, it’s more so about humanity. Sustainability of any idea or innovation is collectively harnessing latent human capital, augmented with AI, to coagulate around your business from the outside. We need to establish ecosystems versus just building cool stuff or even just cool businesses…co-creativity is the absolute substrate of continuous leading innovation. Make everything hack-able, derive less value than you create and ensure your leadership is focused on empathy…understanding what makes us human, and allows us to express that humanity, with the context of your services, builds exponential competitive edge and values.”

The UCT team of Mark McCormick, Daniel Navarro and Nicholas Tennick, supervised by Karen Le Jeune, were named the winners of the Greenovate Awards 2017. Their submission was titled “upgrading existing medium-density residential buildings with strategic green building features and initiatives holds the key to increasing affordable housing in Cape Town”. This team of outstanding young green innovators took home R30,000 in prize money, as well numerous other rewards.

UCT also took second place, with team members Tarryn Coles, Anthony Testa and Gemma Watson investigating the viability of using self-sustaining shipping container homes as an affordable and sustainable approach to student housing. Saul Nurick supervised the team. Third place was scooped by the Wits team of Thina Mangcu, Prudence Ndlovu and Yonwaba Mntonga, supervised by Dr Kola Ijasan, which undertook a Johannesburg explorative study of a project manager’s skill and knowledge for green building construction.

For the inaugural Greenovate Engineering Award, UCT student and young green thinker Craig Peter Flanagan, supervised by Dr Dyllon Randall, took top honours with a focus on the development of an on-site nutrient recovery urinal for buildings. The award came with a R30,000 prize.

NWU clinched second place in the engineering stream with student Reino von Wielligh, supervised by Dr Leenta Grobler and Dr Henri Marais, who submitted an investigation of a solar powered parking bollard for parking space management. Third place went to Stellenbosch University student Petrus Johannes Stefanus Botes, with supervisor Prof Jan Andries Wium, who explored the development of sustainable construction systems in South Africa, specifically bamboo scaffolding.

Werner van Antwerpen of Growthpoint Properties, says:Growthpoint is proud to collaborate with the GBCSA, the universities and their students, the award’s sponsors, and the mentors and judges that give so generously of their time and knowledge. Together, we can inspire environmentally innovative thinking among even more of South Africa’s future leaders. Everyone wins when we show and grow innovation for a greener, healthier, and more sustainable environment.”

Remy Kloos, the driving force behind the Greenovate Awards, comments:This awards programme is an excellent way for leading green corporates like Growthpoint to link to university students – the future leaders who will become champions of the sustainability movement. It closes the gap between what is learned at universities and the practical solutions that today’s businesses are seeking. The Greenovate Awards are producing revolutionary student projects backed by smart thinking. These young green trailblazers are discovering new ways to drive green building thinking forward, to ensure a better future.”

Dorah Modise, CEO of the GBCSA, comments: “GBCSA is proud to be part of this initiative, year on year these young men and women manage to amaze us with their raw talent. The innovative ideas that they present grow from strength to strength as the years go by. We are happy to see that our efforts in building the necessary skills required to transform the built environment are bearing fruit and we can happily look forward to a greener, more sustainable future.”

For Greenovate Award participants, the benefits go well beyond winning a prize. The programme provides students with an opportunity to work with leading green building thinkers in Greenovate workshops with industry professionals.

The judging panels comprised some of the country’s top green minds and eco leaders, including:

  • Dorah Modise, CEO of GBCSA

  • Brian Wilkinson, former CEO of GBCSA

  • Leon Cronje, Director of RLB Pentad

  • Neil Gopal, CEO of the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA)

  • Bonke Simelane, Director of NMC Construction Group

  • Morloes Reinink, Partner at Solid Green

  • Mauritz Kruger, Architect – Principal Specialist (RHDHV) (Engineering)

  • Manfred Braune, Chief Technical Officer and Executive Director of GBCSA (Engineering)

  • Werner van Antwerpen, Associate Corporate Finance at Growthpoint (Engineering)

  • Mike Aldous, Associate – Green Building & Sustainability Services/BIM Champion at Mott MacDonald (Engineering)

  • Johan Piekaar, Office Director, Structures, Africa for WSP (Engineering)

This is the second time Neil Gopal, CEO of SAPOA, has judged the awards. He says: “I am honoured to be part of the judging panel at this year’s Greenovate awards. It is important that we, as the property sector, encourage innovation among future industry leaders who are in tune with the needs of the environment and alternative ways of creating monuments without impacting the environment negatively. “

Greenovate also attracted the valued support of additional sponsors this year, including Remote Metering Solutions, Royal HaskoningDHV and Terra Firma Academy.

Van Antwerpen believes the awards will continue to grow and make a significant contribution in recognising and encouraging environmentally innovative thinking among South Africa’s future property leaders.

Released by:

Growthpoint Properties Limited

Werner van Antwerpen, Associate Corporate Finance

011 944 6598

www.growthpoint.co.za

Growthpoint launches a new green waste-to-soil initiative

Growthpoint Properties has launched an innovative pilot project that turns the large volumes of food waste generated by client businesses at its properties into compost.

The project, named G-Eco, short for Growthpoint Eco, is a partnership with Life & Earth and has the potential for massive environmental benefits.

It is being tested at Growthpoint Business Park in Midrand using waste produced at four of Growthpoint’s large multi-tenant properties in the area.

The idea was born 18-months ago when Growthpoint embarked on a waste-management analysis process to measure waste sent to landfills and the effectiveness of its existing initiatives to reduce this. Results revealed that the waste generated by its building users and sent to landfill was substantial.

Knowing that 40% to 60% of landfill waste comes from organic waste from food and garden waste, Growthpoint embarked on an innovative six-month wet waste diversion trial, which started at the beginning of July this year.

“We are converting the wet waste collected at our properties taking part in the trial into compost, which is then used at these properties,” says Werner van Antwerpen, Head of Sustainability at Growthpoint.

To start the project, driven by Growthpoint’s Industrial Property Division, Life & Earth installed a food waste composting machine at Growthpoint Business Park in Midrand. The plant turns food waste into 100% organic compost and can process up to 1,000kg of food waste each day with the capacity to make about nine tonnes of compost a month.

Then, Growthpoint’s current waste contractors at Growthpoint Business Park, Woodlands Office Park, Woodmead Retail Park and Central Park were trained about the process and how to separate wet waste at source. Growthpoint also worked with its clients at these properties, encouraging them to separate their food waste.

The waste is taken to the composting plant at Growthpoint Business Park, where it is processed.

During its first four months of the trial, Growthpoint diverted 16 tonnes of waste from landfill and produced six cubic metres of nutrient-rich soil, which is reapplied at Growthpoint Business Park.

The resulting positive environmental impacts are significant when considering that composting food waste on site instead of sending it to landfill reduces CO2e emissions by 332kg per tonne – and this is just the start.

By removing food waste from the waste stream, recyclables increase by about 30%. Composting food waste is also a cleaner and healthier. It reduces vermin and rat infestations and removes bad smells from rotting food. Also, it reduces harmful vehicle emissions, with fewer trips now needed to take waste to the dump, as well deliver garden compost to the properties.

Importantly, a focus on food waste creates more awareness about the problem and helps clients manage their food costs as they strive to reduce both. So, the project stands to have a direct positive impact of Growthpoint’s clients’ businesses.

Proactive waste management initiatives such as G-Eco have become essential in South Africa. According to Life & Earth, the country sends more than 10.2m tonnes of food waste to landfill every year, and food waste costs our economy more than R4.6bn annually.

“The G-Eco waste-to-soil project is one component of Growthpoint’s bigger waste management strategy,” explains van Antwerpen.

It already reduces waste through recycling, and plans to ensure all its buildings have onsite recycling by the end of 2018.

Based on the success of the G-Eco pilot, Growthpoint plans to introduce more waste-to-soil plants in other areas of the country where it has clusters of property assets.

“We are excited to find out exactly how much waste-to-landfill we will be able to save with our different waste management programmes, but we are confident that it will be substantial,” says van Antwerpen. He also notes: “This innovative project contributes to Growthpoint’s environmentally responsible leadership and furthers our sustainable business journey.”

Growthpoint provides space to thrive with innovative and sustainable property solutions. It is the largest South African primary REIT listed on the JSE, and owns and manages a diversified portfolio of 547 property assets, locally and internationally.

Growthpoint is a Platinum Founding Member of Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), a member of the GBCSA’s Green Building Leader Network, a component of the FTSE4Good Emerging Index and has been included in the FTSE/JSE Responsible Investment Index for eight years running. It owns and co-owns the largest portfolio of certified green buildings of any company in South Africa and is recognised as a leading developer of green buildings. Growthpoint recently launched the only property portfolio in South Africa to be highly rated by both the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) and the GBCSA, aptly named the Thrive Portfolio.

Released by:

Growthpoint Properties Limited

Werner van Antwerpen, head of sustainability

011 944 6598

www.growthpoint.co.za