The new Discovery global headquarters in Sandton Central has become the largest new build project to receive a 5 Star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) to date.
Developed in a joint venture by two of South Africa’s leading property companies, Growthpoint Properties Limited and Zenprop Property Holdings, the iconic new 112,000sqm resource-efficient, cost-effective and environmentally-innovative Discovery head office is the largest single-phase commercial office development in Africa.
Growthpoint Properties Office Division Director, Rudolf Pienaar, comments: “We are thrilled with the 5 Star Green Star certification achieved for this development, especially considering its scale and complexity. The new Discovery head office is now among the most environmentally sustainable and efficient buildings in South Africa. Green building plays a key role in providing spaces in which businesses can thrive. We are incredibly proud to be part of the creation of the new global headquarters for Discovery in a building that is both spectacular and sustainable.”
Zenprop Property Holdings CEO, James Tannenberger, says: “This is a significant milestone for Zenprop, especially considering our long history of delivering sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings across all sectors of the property market. Zenprop has been involved with developing Green Star buildings since the commercial rating tool was first launched in South Africa in 2008, so we are extremely satisfied with what the development team as a whole has been able to achieve on a project of this magnitude and profile.”
GBCSA Executive Director: Certifications, Manfred Braune, points out: “It is the largest new building certified as Green Star to date in South Africa, which makes it an incredible achievement. A 5 Star Green Star rating for a building of this size would have been a challenge to achieve, and we congratulate the entire team involved in this remarkable project. The combination of low-tech and hi-tech is outstanding, ensuring the perfect marriage of load reduction through passive features with technology that ensures optimal efficiency.”
Aurecon is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the developers’ and Discovery’s green intent for the building. Their role has been to ensure it has been designed and constructed with the highest sustainability credentials to demonstrate leadership in the transformation of the South African real estate industry.
Features of the new building which have contributed to the rating include energy optimisation through the advanced design features of its envelope and building services. High-efficiency air conditioning that leverages an outside air economy cycle and indoor air CO2 monitoring. Added to this is low-energy lighting, occupant control and daylight optimisation, as well as the building’s standout high-performance double-glazed curtain wall.
The building is wrapped around a series of sunlit atria that plug into a central concourse. The design of the atria and skylights result in an abundance of natural light without compromising occupants’ comfort and energy performance. Grey and rainwater systems, efficient sanitary fittings, efficient irrigation system and water-wise landscaping contribute to the building’s optimal water performance.
Yovka Raytcheva-Schaap, the Aurecon associate for environmentally sustainable design consulting and project management for the project, points out that, most notably, the Discovery building creates an environment that is centred on occupants’ health and well-being.
Raytcheva-Schaap reports: “The design provides for an ample amount of fresh air, thermal comfort, daylight and connection to the exterior. A fully equipped gym, running track, yoga decks and multipurpose courts are set in the indigenously landscaped roof and encourage an active lifestyle, in line with the Discovery Vitality ethos.”
Aurecon’s Martin Smith adds that the expansive ground floor of the building accommodates Discovery’s retail partners, client services, walk-in centre, staff restaurants and coffee shops, offering an energising experience to both visitors and staff alike.
Smith says: “Upper floor plates, designed for activity-based working, enhance staff collaboration, enjoyment and business efficiency.”
Located on the corner of Rivonia Road and Katherine Street, diagonally opposite Sandton City and one block from the Sandton Gautrain Station, the building comprises three linked office towers which consist of a ground floor, eight office floors and a roof level, which holds Discovery’s sports facilities. It will also offer nine basements with over 5,000 parking bays.
Discovery is expected to take occupation of the property, which is owned by Growthpoint (55%) and Zenprop (45%), towards the end of this year.
South Africa’s largest single-phase shopping centre development to date, the $340 million (R5-billion ZAR) Mall of Africa, will be fully operational in 17 days — on 28 April 2016.
At 130,000sqm, Mall of Africa will feature over 300 retailers, restaurants, entertainment and cinema complex, all within a single development.
The mall is co-owned by two South African property companies. JSE-listed real estate capital growth fund Attacq Limited holds the commercial development rights to Waterfall and owns 80% of the Mall. Atterbury Property Developments owns 20% and is responsible for the development project, on behalf of Attacq.
“The development has enhanced the diversity of the retail sector in South Africa, changed Gauteng’s skyline and stimulated the economy,” says Louis van der Watt, CEO of Atterbury.
Funded by Nedbank CIB Property Finance, the construction of Mall of Africa began nearly three-and-a-half years ago, on 28 October 2012.
While the mall comprises some 130,000sqm of gross lettable area, James Ehlers, MD of Atterbury Property Developments, notes its construction area covers a massive 550,000sqms – or 78 rugby fields. A stroll around the building’s perimeter will take you on a walk of 1.75 kilometres.
Ehlers also reveals that over 6 kilometres of shopfront has been created inside Mall of Africa. Plus, more than 530 kilometres of post tension cable has been used in its construction, as well as 18,500 tons of rebar and 205,000 cubic metres of concrete.
During the construction phase, a substantial 3,078 people were employed for the project and, by January 2016, they had worked 10.41-million man hours.
The shopping mall will open with seven anchor tenants, and an array of international retailers that have chosen to debut their brands to South Africans at the mall, as well as an appealing line-up of flagship stores for all major South African retailers.
Anchor tenants include Checkers, Edgars, Game and Woolworths. They will be joined by leading South African brands from The Foschini Group, Mr Price and Truworths.
International brands opening their first stores in South Africa at the mall include Armani Exchange, Helly Hansen, Asics, Zara Home, The Kooples, Under Armour, Mango Man, women’secret and Amsterdam-based Soap Stories.
One of the many leisure highlights at Mall of Africa is a magnificent outdoor park with a children’s play area featuring an interactive musical water fountain.
The retail centre is situated in Midrand’s Waterfall City, halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria. It is located adjacent to the Allandale Road exit of the N1 Highway, the first free-flow intersection of its size in Africa.
The mall has around 6,500 parking bays, most of which are under cover. It also offers valet parking, special drop-off facilities for buses and dedicated Uber pick-up and drop-off points – a first in the South African retail environment. It is also minutes away from the Gautrain Midrand Station.
While Mall of Africa is set to dazzle both locals and visitors from far and wide, there is much more to this ground-breaking development than first meets the eye.
The project implemented multiple green technologies, including a massive photovoltaic installation on the roof of Mall of Africa. The installation will be the largest in South Africa and Africa and will provide 4.8MVA of sustainable power for the centre. The mall will use grey water harvesting in all public toilets and for the irrigation of the entire development. Its design means natural light is maximized in the mall in such a way that shopper comfort is also optimised.
The shopping mall combines the latest international trends, environmentally sustainable materials and technologies. It is designed around new urbanism principles of walkable, mixed-use environments to create a truly cutting-edge shopping experience.
PPS, the only mutual financial services company in South Africa which focuses exclusively on graduate professionals, announced that the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has awarded a Five Star Green Star Office v1 Design rating certification to the PPS Property Fund Trust’s latest green office development in Centurion.
Centurion Square Phase 1, a 9300 square meter office development is due for completion in October 2015 at a cost of over R200 million. The potential area of the entire site exceeds 21,800 square meters with a Phase 2 office of 12,500 square meters in the planning stages.
Tiffany Boesch, Group Financial Director of PPS, says the company is proud to be part of the development and to occupy Centurion Square alongside its tenants. “Investing in green technology will not only lead to cost reductions in the long term, but will also result in reduced use of resources and have a positive impact on the health and wellness of the occupants and surrounding community.
“At PPS, about 15% of our members are professionals within the built environment and we therefore are duty bound to be at the cutting edge of construction trends and green building technology. When the opportunity presented itself to develop a new office park through our property fund, we embraced this opportunity to collaborate with the Green Building Council South Africa and demonstrate our commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility,” says Boesch.
The GBCSA is a nationally accepted organization that leads the transformation of the South African property industry to ensure that buildings are designed, built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way. The GBCSA’s mission is to promote, encourage and facilitate green building in the South African property and construction industry through providing an established common language and best practice standard of measurement for green buildings through the Green Star SA rating tools.
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Leading private property company Amdec has set its sights on tripling the number of green buildings in its property portfolio over the next two years.
Having already earned Green Star SA ratings for two of its buildings in the last two years; Amdec plans to boost its pace of investing in green buildings by taking this number to six in the coming 24 months.
James Wilson, Amdec CEO, comments: “We take a multifaceted approach to sustainability and energy-efficiency. So, while we intend to pursue more Green Star SA ratings for all our new developments, and some of our existing ones, we are also adding more resource-efficient features to all our assets, whether there is a rating tool available for them or not. This helps take strain off our power grid, and our building users’ pockets, as well as being good for the environment and helping communities prosper.” By considering the bigger picture, Amdec’s green building ethos has a far-reaching positive impact. Its holistic approach to green buildings is helping to change the way people think and live.
“An important part of green building is educating and transforming communities, updating legislation and government processes, and changing how we experience development,” explains Josef Quraishi, head of sustainability and green building for the Amdec group. “Our macro view considers a building’s inherent relationship with its surrounds, ensuring it contributes to the sustainability of its community and natural setting,” explains Josef. “When we develop, we look at the broader context of investing in communities. A thriving community is good for business, the more attractive a community is, the more desirable our buildings become.”
Green building is growing apace in South Africa and Amdec, an active partner to the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), is helping it move into the future. In fact, Josef was closely involved with developing the GBCSA’s Socio Economic Category Pilot, which has been embraced by the World Green Building Council. “Our relationship with the Green Building Council has allowed us to better understand where green building is going and the components of sustainability, like energy and water benchmarking,” says Josef.
As the owners in what can undoubtedly be considered South Africa’s first sustainable green precinct, Melrose Arch, which was developed ahead of its time and before the formal green building wave began in South Africa, Amdec knows first-hand the benefits an environmentally sound foundation adds to green building. That’s because the green inner-workings of Melrose Arch support more than a single building, they underpin a whole precinct. It is here that Amdec has earned its two Green Star SA ratings: 40 on Oak was South Africa’s first multi-unit residential project certified under the Green Star SA system, with a 4-Star Green Star SA Pilot certification and The Worley Parsons TWP head office was awarded a 4-Star Green Star SA Office v1 Design rating.
As part of its multiunit residential rating at 40 on Oak, Amdec cut energy consumption for each apartment by 50% and water consumption by 40% making the Melrose Arch apartments even more desirable. For the green rated office, it lowered energy consumption by 40% and water consumption by 50%. Melrose Arch will also play a leading role in its future targeted green star ratings, two of which have already been registered at GBCSA.
Melrose Arch is packed with ingenious designs and small, smart green touches that also create an enjoyable environment. It includes a central district cooling plant that utilised evaporative cooling so its buildings use less air conditioning than usual, it uses gas and has integrated recycling. Its mixed-uses and pedestrianisation reduces the need for cars, it also benefits from good access to public transport. In short, Melrose Arch is an enabling platform for sustainable buildings. It is this revelation that is inspiring Amdec to create even more environments that facilitate more green buildings
Josef tells that as companies transform the way they think about business, from being purely profit driven, to a paradigm that considers people, planet and profit, so property developers need to respond. “Blue-chip businesses want their markets to know they are doing the right thing, so occupying a green rated building is becoming a business imperative for them. Amdec is likeminded and answering the call for green rated buildings in South Africa, which has been recognised as the fastest responding country to green building in the world.”
Inefficient buildings stand to become obsolete faster, being less sustainable and Josef highlights that green buildings make for happy tenants too. “They boost productivity and profitability by creating healthy workspaces that also mean lower absenteeism. So they are commercially desirable.” Developing macro plans for green precincts can help deliver more green buildings, and bigger positive impacts.
“In fact, we are considering taking our next R4 billion mega development of a 128,000ha mixed-use suburb in Port Elizabeth, entirely off the grid,” says Josef. With soaring energy costs, clients across Amdec’s portfolio of assets, including its Evergreen Lifestyle Villages, enjoy the benefits of Amdec’s energy-efficient, water-efficient and cost-efficient focus. Amdec’s approach to green building goes beyond active green building technologies, also incorporating more subtle elements of green building in design and orientation. Of course, the commercial sustainability of a building is essential, and is typically at the forefront of every developers mind. It is fundamental to pushing the green button for a project.
For existing buildings, Josef explains that Amdec has prioritised getting ratings for single-tenants buildings. “Then we’ll move on to our multi-tenanted buildings, which can be more challenging,” says Josef. For Amdec, its green building ethos is simply good business. “With our sustainability initiatives, we’re not only helping the positive transformation of South Africa through quality green buildings, we’re also up-skilling and educating people, and applying innovative thinking to build better communities, like using material from construction excavation to rehabilitate a public park,” says Wilson.
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By Jonathan Skeen
Modern property developers want buildings that are both more comfortable and more energy efficient. Balancing both of these requirements is a difficult challenge for the full project team. In the context of historically low energy prices, architects have placed less emphasis on the energy impacts of their design choices, while engineers have ensured thermal comfort by specifying heating and cooling (HVAC) equipment large enough to meet the worst case demand, regardless of the inherent energy efficiency of the overall building design.
Thus environmental concerns and electricity bills have not typically shaped the design process. As a result, building components – including building fabric, HVAC systems and lighting systems – have been developed compartmentally: with little in-depth interaction amongst the design team on how to improve the combined efficiency of the overall system. Consider, for example, the design of a building’s façade. Typically the realm of the architect, façade design affects daylight penetration into interior spaces. Improved daylight penetration reduces the amount of electric lighting required, and can cut the heating effect of interior light bulbs: reducing the energy use of HVAC systems which must counteract it.
Understanding the impacts of individual design choices requires a means of quantifying a myriad of knock-on effects under the full range of potential operating conditions. Energy modelling allows the design team to model and predict the effect of all design choices: from window sizes, to wall materials, to fan and chiller selections. It enables the development of a more integrated design, where structural elements and electrical and mechanical systems fit together more seamlessly, and are designed as a single energy-using system, rather than multiple parallel systems.
A variety of energy modelling software tools are available to South African design teams. The most effective and useful of these allow the user to simulate both thermal conditions and daylight penetration, under a dynamic range of external weather conditions. Software packages – such as DesignBuilder with EnergyPlus, AutoDesk’s web-based Green Building Design Studio, and Google SketchUp with the EnergyPlus add-in – allow users to visually represent their building designs and understand the manner in which they use energy. It is a field of software development that is rapidly progressing, with the power and usability of the available packages improving quickly.
These tools can provide strong, quantitative evidence on the cost benefit of various design interventions aimed at improving comfort and energy efficiency. Energy modelling during the development of a proposed public safety building in the US town of Raleigh, North Carolina (City of Raleigh, 2011) showed that a high performance façade (with wall U values of 0.391 and window shading coefficients of 0.322) would yield a 14.5% reduction in required cooling air volume, an 8.8% reduction in cooling plant load, and a 17.8% reduction in heating plant load, over an equivalent building meeting ASHREA3 energy standards (Heikin, 2011).
Further analysis found that the financial impact of these changes would add just 0.54% to projected baseline costs. However, it was also found that the knock-on effects of improving the building envelope would ultimately lead to an overall building cost reduction. This is because the improved design would require smaller chillers and air-handling units, smaller heating and cooling pipes and pumping units, less equipment insulation, and would require less of the building space to be dedicated to HVAC plant. Furthermore, annual energy consumption was projected to fall by 5.2% relative to the equivalent ASHRAE building (Heikin, 2011).
Energy modelling and integrated design approaches, as well as the skills required to effectively apply them, are emerging in South Africa. To this end number of project management, architectural, and consulting engineering firms are engaging in projects with goals of sustainability and energy efficiency, while adopting the skills and tools needed to deliver comfortable, cost-effective and energy efficient buildings.
Many of these projects are aiming for accreditation by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), an organisation established in 2007 with the aim of developing a more sustainable local built environment. To this end the council has developed a series of ratings tools which address a variety of sustainability criteria, with a particular emphasis on energy use and renewable energy generation. To date the GBCSA has certified nearly twenty new South African buildings under its Green Star SA program, and has a growing list of upcoming projects (GBCSA, 2012).
The Manenberg CiviC CenTre
The new Manenberg Civic Centre was developed in line with the Green Star SA guidelines, and is currently undergoing assessment for a Green Star SA rating. The design team, led by architect Ashley Hemraj of the City of Cape Town – placed a heavy emphasis on sustainable energy use. As such, a number of interlinking design choices were taken in order to improve the overall, integrated energy efficiency of the building. Key interventions included:
- The selection of insulating wall and roof elements, using novel systems such as thick sandbag walls.
- Optimization of daylight penetration while avoiding excessive solar gain.
- The use of efficient HVAC equipment, incorporating heat recovery technology.
- The implementation of lighting controls and occupancy sensors.
- The use of efficient bulbs, and the implementation of a ‘reduced’ lighting scope.
- The use of solar water heaters.
- The incorporation of a hybrid wind and solar PV renewable energy system.
Tasked with modelling the energy use of the building, Emergent Energy – a Cape Town consultancy specialising in renewable energy and energy efficiency – undertook a detailed analysis of these interventions using DesignBuilder with EnergyPlus. By simulating the building’s thermal conditions and electricity demand every ten minutes for a full year, they were able to develop a detailed picture of how each of the energy-using systems in the building would consume electricity under varying conditions.
As a baseline, a notional building model was also developed with the same overall shape and volume of the actual building, but with its building fabric, glazing, HVAC systems and lighting systems set according to the “SANS 204: Energy Efficiency in Buildings” standard (SABS, 2011)4. In parallel, high level modelling of the renewable energy systems was undertaken using the RETScreen software tool (RETScreen, 2012).
Figure 5.1 compares the monthly electricity demand resulting from key energy users5 of three scenarios, namely: the notional SANS 204 compliant building, the actual building with no renewable energy; and the actual building with a 15kW solar PV array. Without the use of renewable energy systems, the building operators could have expected to use around 30% less electricity than the equivalent building meeting SANS 204 standards. With the PV system included, the saving increases to nearly 60% annually. This excludes the effect of the 5kW wind turbine which has also been installed at the centre, which can be expected to further reduce electricity consumption by approximately 5%.
The financial implications of the design interventions are significant. Assuming a standard commercial tariff for small power users in Cape Town, the building operators can expect to save around R50, 000 per annum on their large energy uses – a total reduction of approximately a third. With the introduction of renewable energy systems, this increases to well over R90, 000 per annum – or nearly two thirds of the total. Projected monthly electricity bills for the three scenarios are shown in Figure 5.2.
The results are a testament to the power of integrated design in matching hard engineering goals with the aesthetic, social and economic goals of the architects. Achieving the level of detail and accuracy required to properly assess the different interventions simply cannot be achieved using standard engineering calculations. Energy modelling, by comparison, can provide real economic impetus for more sustainable design choices, especially where the capital costs are high, and payoffs are not clearly understood.
Source: Sustainable Energy Resource Handbook Volume 3
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