What is a green building? Why do we need green buildings? How many do we have in South Africa? What is in it for me?
“A green building is a building which is energy efficient, resource efficient and environmentally responsible” as quoted from the Green Building Council of South Africa. This means that architectural design of an office block; particular types of building materials and technology are used to reduce energy and resource consumption and lower the environmental impact that humans and cities are having on the universe. That is why we need them!
“The Green Building Council of South Africa says only 12 buildings, most of them corporate office structures, currently have Green Star SA certification,” Micel Schenage says in an article published on the Moneyweb Property site on 30 January, 2013. Sandton and Rosebank are at the forefront with the development of green office buildings.
The ratings work as follows: a 4 green Star **** means a score of 45 -59 and is recognised as Best Practice. A 5 star ***** means a score of 60-74 and is recognised as Excellent. A 6 star rating means a score of 75-100 and is recognised as a World Leader.
Absa Towers West has a score of 63. It has approximately 33 128 m² of commercial office area and over 71 000 m² of car parking area. It has focused on energy sustainability with its gas powered Energy Centre on the ground and mezzanine levels.
Standard Bank in Rosebank has a 5 Star Green Rating with 60 points. It is a corporate office development comprising of an eleven floor West Wing, and a nine floor East Wing linked by a glass atrium. The floor to ceiling glass façade has an integrated blind system, to reduce heat and air-conditioning costs, and uses Egoli Gas on-site generation of power. Waste heat is utilised productively for heating and cooling.
The new corporate building of Alexander Forbes with eight floors of office space at 115 West Street Sandton has a 4 Star Green Rating with total points of 48. Edward Kieswetter, CEO of Alexander Forbes said at the inauguration of the building that there were some unique aspects such as a motion sensing, activation for lighting, which only activates when people are near, and fin-shaped scallops on the exterior which reduce penetration of the sun’s rays, and therefore reduce the amount of air-conditioning that is needed.
The Upper Grayston Office Park Building within the heart of the greater Sandton office node is adjacent to the Katherine Street off ramp onto the M1 highway. It will be designed to focus on energy savings, using a mixed mode ventilation system. Large glass expanses reduce the need for artificial lighting.
The last and most important question – “What is in it for me?” This is quite clearly:
- REDUCED OFFICE RENTAL COSTS
- COMFORTABLE WORKINGOFFICE ENVIRONMENT
- CONTRIBUTION TO THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE ENVIRONMENT.