Cecilia Square is an exciting new green building being erected on the N1, nearby the Paarl mall. It was launched last week and the plans are to open the doors of this groundbreaking office development on 1 August next year.
The building aims to receive a 4 Green Star Rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) and is one of only 7 green buildings registered with the GBCSA in the Western Cape.
Submission will be made by the project’s dedicated green building consultant, PJ Carew – who has already tasted success this year, submitting the new Sisonke District Offices which won the award for the best quality submission between 2008 – 2012, at the Green Star Leadership Awards.
“Cecilia Square is still very much setting the trend, as it is the first building of its kind in the area and one of only a few in the entire country, ” said Michelle Ludwig, Green building consultant for P J Carew Consulting as she unveiled the green building’s designs.
In order to achieve a 4 Green Star rating, Cecilia square will have
- an effective rainwater harvesting system that collects rainwater from hard surfaces to be re-used for irrigation and flushing,
- low-flow fittings and water meters that monitor and report on water consumption.
- A cutting edge DALI control system which automatically switches lights off and makes sure that lights are off when passable daylight is available.
- And state of the art insulation techniques to make sure that the building’s thermal mass is at its optimum level.
- All emissions from the building will be monitored to fall within the GBCSAs recommended targets.
“Green building makes so much sense – not only from the perspective of environmental awareness, but also for cost savings. The green design makes provision for showers and bicycle parking areas – so staff members may be encouraged to cycle to work, rather than drive.” Wolf Edmayer, managing director of BKB.
Here comes SA’s first green skyscraper
The Portside development in Cape Town is scheduled to become the first green skyscraper in South Africa. The R1.6 billion joint initiative between Old Mutual and FirstRand Bank will occupy the city block between Buitengracht, Hans Strijdom, Bree and Mechau. Portside will have 1 200m² of banking and retail space on the ground level as well as AAA grade office space and a parking platform for 1 382 cars.
The most prestigious green building in South Africa is the Vodafone Site Solution Innovation Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg.It boasts the first ever six-Star or “World Class” Design Rating, in South Africa. The most expensive green building developmentin South Africa, is the R8 billion new Environmental Affairs Department in Pretoria. The building’s features include rainwater collectors made of recyclable materials, indigenous plants in the garden to reduce the use of excessive irrigation, and direct access to sunlight and ventilation to reduce electrical usage.
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa states: “through this green building we will propel the department above the construction industry players, setting a good example for other organisations and of course for the benefit of the environment and future generations.”
There are a vast amount of environmental advantages to green building – hence the name.
Focal advantages include:
- Water conservation: rain and greywater can be used for urinal flow and irrigation.
- Stormwater management: stormwater run-off can cause erosion, flooding, and pollution. Management thereof can greatly benefit the environment.
- Waste reduction: correct disposal of waste matter eliminates pollution and the contamination of natural resources.
- Emissions reduction: the use of green building techniques such as solar power and daylighting as opposed to the use of fossil fuels reduce harmful emissions.
Green investment offset in just 2 years
The environmental advantages of green buildings already has most ‘greenies’ sold on the idea. But for those who are, perhaps, less environmentally cognizant: green buildings save money!
A 2003 study by the California Sustainable Building Task Force shows that an initial green design investment of just 2% will produce savings greater than 10 times the initial investment. In other words R2 million spent in green design in a R100 million project will be repaid in just two years. Over 20 years, the savings will reach R20 million.
Financial reasons why green buildings should be encouraged:
- Lower Costs of Facility Maintenance and Repair
- Annual energy & water savings
- Better Worker Retention and Recruitment
- Greater Building Longevity
- Better Resale Value
- Lower Absenteeism and Improved Productivity
- Decreased Risk, Liability, and Insurance Rates
- Greater Building Longevity
“As the green design field matures, it becomes ever clearer that integration is the key to achieving energy and environmental goals, especially if cost is a major driver.” – Building Green Inc. (1999).
Finally international companies have caught on to the idea of green building, and although South Africa has been a bit slow in relation, the common idiom – better late than never – springs to mind. The establishment of eco-city green buildings such as Cecilia square is an important step to making the entire South African economy resource efficient, and environmentally responsible.
By Michael Toth