The Ridge: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Cape Town’s newest 6-star Green Star Design awarded commercial building, the Ridge in the V&A Waterfront, has opened and its tenant, Deloitte South Africa, is trading from inside its unique spaces.

The Ridge deploys some of the most advanced sustainable building technology available globally, as well as original blue-sky thinking. It was born from the V&A Waterfront’s vision to set new standards for the future of commercial office buildings. The final design was the result of the creative inputs of the project’s multi-disciplinary design team, which worked closely together.

Over the past decade, the Waterfront has blazed a trail of sustainable development, rewarded with Green Star accreditations by the Green Building Council of South Africa. Individual buildings include the Allan Gray building at No.1 Silo, the Watershed and No.5 Silo, all 6-Star Green Star buildings plus a number of other firsts that include the former Grain Silo which became Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) and the boutique Silo Hotel, as well as No.6  Silo incorporating the Radisson Red (the first 5-star Green Star hotel).

David Green, the CEO of the V&A Waterfront, explains that this project showcases the capabilities of the Waterfront as a developer in providing custom-designed office or mixed-use accommodation to the highest standard in line with the needs of the customer.

”The Ridge and our other developments provide a working example as to how it can be done for companies that are looking to the future of their businesses in a sustainable way with a focus on both environmental performance and the greatest asset a company has: its people.”

“This development represents the confidence that our company and its shareholders have in the future of Cape Town as a destination and our confidence in South Africa itself,” he says.

Vusi Nondo, the executive manager for development at the V&A Waterfront explains that the Ridge has been an important milestone for the Waterfront in its rollout of bespoke office space, mixed-use and retail offerings.

“It has been said that working from an office post-Covid-19 will never be the same again – worldwide. Of course, that’s true, but long prior to the pandemic, the Waterfront development team identified a healthy office space that looks after the wellness of employees as being of paramount importance to any business.

“Armed with a development approach we consider as ‘Our Normal’, we’ve implemented people-centred innovations in all our bespoke developments. These promote a healthy work environment, help in combating sick building syndrome and low-carbon modes of transport. These include pedestrian footpaths, bicycle routes/parks, outdoor greened relaxation areas, and even food gardens,” he adds.

The Waterfront’s development director and project leader for the Ridge, Mark Noble, explains why the office work experience is exceptional and how the Ridge’s bespoke features set it apart from other commercial buildings.

“We designed the Ridge to be a world-class living, breathing building by incorporating a number of standout features, some of which are firsts for South Africa:

Air quality. The building operates on a mixed-mode interior climate control system, which includes the following features:

“Natural ventilation, which significantly raises the indoor air quality and is controlled by the occupants. This means that office workers may open the windows to let in fresh air for up to 80% of the year-round.

“An impressive atrium runs from ground to the third level of the building. Referred to as the ‘central street’, it helps to pull air through the building, in through the windows and out through the roof lights, while also bringing many other benefits to workers and visitors inside the building.”

Actuated windows in the special roof lights, through which warm air flows upwards out of the ‘central street’ (atrium).

Minimal HVAC (air conditioning) usage. The building incorporates passive (non-energy consuming) temperature control mechanisms several of which are unique. “A virtual sum of parts that leads to a greater whole,” attests Noble.

The zigzag-shaped engineered timber façade ingeniously orientates the glass windows towards the north or south, which prevents lower angle sun from the east or west from entering the office spaces. This provides natural daylight while reducing glare and patches of hot sunlight. “This has a major impact in promoting both fresh air quality and the saving of energy,” Noble explains.

Thermally Activated Building System Technology (TABS). “TABS is installed into the soffits (ceilings) above the working areas of the building and this cools the concrete structure by means of water circulating from the chiller and heat pumps on the roof. The cooler soffit hence cools the air below, which circulates around the workspace. TABS is another important contributor to the mixed-mode climate control system at work inside the building,” he adds.

Thermally Activated Building System Technology (TABS)
Level 3 under construction. The installation of the TABS matrix of pipes into the floor slab.

All these measures mean that people inside the building will experience steady indoor ambient temperatures that respond slowly to outdoor temperature variations. The mixed-mode system design aims for the building’s conventional air conditioning system to be active for only 20% of the year. This is in line with international standards such as WELL™, in promoting occupant productivity and thermal comfort.

Development Manager for V&A Waterfront, Kirsten Goosen, comments on the other features that add to the total experience of the building as an occupant:

“People connectivity is enhanced by the central street (atrium).  Apart from the areas where rational fire or acoustic design required the atrium to be enclosed in a few places, it mainly allows the free movement of building occupants on each level. Hence, informal connections can occur among building occupants and their visitors.

“Lighting includes the impressive roof lights above the atrium which allow optimal levels of natural light. This adds to conventional lighting on each floor. Low-energy LED lighting is suspended between acoustic panels to provide a stimulating work environment while the panels provide appropriate levels of sound absorption for work.”  

Roof lights (skylights) at top of the atrium introduce considerable natural light into the building and acts as the “chimney” for air moving out of the building.

World-class interior fit-out and a focus on the occupant

Since practical completion of the building late in 2020, the Deloitte-appointed interior design firm, Paragon Interface was on site, transforming the building’s extraordinary spaces by means of a world-class interior fit-out. Workplace strategist and Paragon Interface Director, Claire D’Adorante, comments that the client’s requirement was for a work environment that emulates the very high standard set by its global client.

“This means that the brief was distilled down to facilitating the way of working within the company to be in line with that of the global Deloitte brand, its corporate identity and also utilising brand intrinsic such as the use of colour. The work areas, desk sharing and layout are customisable to agile working,” D’Adorante outlines.

The first level is colour-coded Teal. Numerous informal breakaway areas exist through the Ridge, where teams working on agile projects can gather.

“Collaborative work opportunities and spaces exist throughout the building, which also has an ‘activated’ atrium edge. In addition, the interior features an active working corridor and workspace. Pause or meditation spaces are balanced with social and entertainment areas, with modern facilities available for use by the office staff”.

INTERVIEWS WITH THE LEADING TEAM MEMBERS

Mark Noble, Development Director, V&A Waterfront

“The façade on the top two floors of the building is constructed from locally sourced cross-laminated mass timber together with the more standard glass and aluminium panels in a unitised system. This is a very significant feature.

“Using timber as both the structural façade element as well as the internal and external finish, we believe is a genuine first for South Africa and one that has contributed significantly both to the overall architecture as well as reducing the overall carbon footprint of the building by 60 tonnes CO2 (equivalent) from the atmosphere.”

The Ridge also forms the hub of a broader mixed-use district of the Waterfront, called the Portswood District. “We have a number of heritage houses that were restored at the same time as the Ridge was under construction. These form part of the new district which will focus heavily on non-motorised mobility. While the district is envisaged as a commercial node, we are constructing public footpaths and a bicycle route will navigate the area.”

“The area will offer shady retreats, a Petersham Nurseries style cafe made solely from waste material from the V&A including a feature glass bottle wall (designed by PE based architect Kevin Kimwelle), a vegetable garden and the security of being within the Waterfront. We see this new district as a kind of secret garden with a high density of green open spaces and trees creating an environment that is truly unique in an inner-city location.

“With the opening of the Ridge at the Portswood District, it is now possible to navigate from this new commercial district, via the Watershed and beyond to our established retail and mixed-use property assets, including Victoria Wharf, the Clock Tower district, the Silo district or even Granger Bay,” Nobel says.

Wayne Megaw, Operations Leader, Deloitte Africa

“Our impact on the environment was a key consideration throughout the building project and therefore the 6 Star rating is an incredible achievement. Achieving certification means that we have succeeded, through collaboration with the development team, in building a high-performing, productive workplace that is healthier for our people and the environment.

“The interior design further ensures that the office becomes a place to work more dynamically through offering the right kind of working space available at the right time. The Ridge offers a range of different working activities and styles with spaces that can fuel creativity and will ultimately generate more collaborations across our multiple business units. There are no private offices for any staff with hot-desking being embraced to support openness, chance interactions, teamwork and increased collaboration. The office promises improved efficiency, integration and sustainability which is good for our business, our people, our clients and the environment, as well as our long-term capacity needs,” he comments.

Tessa Brunette, Lead Engineering and Façade Consultant, Arup

“Together with the buildings’ intrinsic thermal mass, the façade is the most important ‘machine’ (controlling indoor environment) in the building. We reached our design response using first principles, in close collaboration with studioMAS, the architects.

“These design responses were then tested and refined by using advanced computer modelling method, which included the testing of different glazing types, orientations and shading types. Thus we identified the optimum combination of orientation vs. shading vs. glazing type.

“Through an iterative process with many stages of analysis, modelling and interpretation initial modelling, the various options were refined to assess which combinations worked best in conjunction with the architecture and budget.

The Ridge’s timber façade (right).

“Modelling confirmed that the zigzag (pleated) façade that we adopted for building levels 2 and 3 performs as well as a straight deeply shaded façade, and allows for more glazing without external shading devices that could obstruct views to the outside and reduce the amount of internal natural light.

“So the design significantly reduces the amount of direct sunlight entering the building, which in turn means that the internal spaces can largely rely on our mixed-mode system and not need air conditioning to remain comfortable,” Brunette says.

The building is designed to be as comfortable as possible without needing air conditioning to heat or cool. Occupants can control their personal comfort by adding or removing outer layers of clothing. If that is not enough, the controls can be adjusted to suit what the user prefers.

TABS (thermally activated building system technology) operates continuously throughout warmer months, cooling the internal environment using chilled water circulating through the floor slabs. This complements the operation of the natural ventilation system and HVAC, meaning that the building’s possible use of fresh air ventilation rises from 60% to 80% of the year.

It is all done on a controlled basis: “Traffic” Lights installed around the building perimeter indicate to the occupants when they should open and close the windows, based on outside conditions.

‘Traffic’ lights indicate whether the window may be opened. Note also the exposed concrete soffit utilised by the TABS.

When the windows are open, the active ventilation system is switched off. When the weather outside is not suitable for natural ventilation, the building management system (BMS) activates HVAC (air conditioning), provided that the windows have been manually closed.

Air from the HVAC system, when switched on by the BMS, enters the office spaces via a low energy usage displacement ventilation system via air grilles that are located in the floor.

Displacement ventilation system – note the grilles in the floor.

Special custom-designed acoustic panels are suspended underneath the exposed slabs to provide appropriate levels of sound absorption for a comfortable work environment, whilst leaving sufficient exposed thermal mass for the TABS to provide benefit to the occupants.

Sean Mahoney, Project Lead Architect, Studio MAS

“Our role as architect is to combine the logic and practicalities of engineering with the creative arts. I think of the climate control systems in use at the Ridge as the (Toyota) Prius of the built environment – a veritable hybrid,” Mahoney says in a moment of levity.

“This was a collaborative process with Arup best illustrated on the Ridge by the zigzag timber façade and the ‘central street’ with its roof light drums. Both these design elements have a strong engineering and design rationale backing them up, but at the same time, we have managed to create beauty and joy out of them. They are key to the building’s identity and aesthetic and create memorable experiences. These include natural light, natural timber in the case of façade, wonderful views out of the windows, connection with the outdoors and identity,” he says.

This is the northern corner of the building. Note how the function of the sawtooth CLT façade corrects the north-south line, meaning that the sun in the east strikes the CLT panel and can’t directly enter the building.

“Timelessness in architecture is something that many designers strive for. The timber façade itself will evolve and keep functioning over the years, changing colour as it weathers, developing a patina, and making the building stand out as unique.”

Double-volume entrance lobby. Note the origami-style ceiling. Heritage houses in the background.

The origami concept also plays out in an extraordinary-looking ceiling feature outside the entrance lobby for the building which incorporates a continuum of inverted pyramid shapes.

Origami-style ceiling feature seen from staff recreation space on the first floor.

Mahoney comments: “It’s all about the forgotten elevation and view. This is a double-volume scaled space, and the soffit is very visible.

“It’s also inspired by the Baxter theatre, which I absolutely love, even though the design is very different. It’s about having a powerful aesthetic for the ceiling view. The geometry of the upside-down pyramids is derived by folding the two pleated façades on the corner by 90 degrees, so that you in effect have a pleated soffit, and then ramming the pleated façades into each other. The troughs and valleys of the pleats combine to create pyramid forms. LED strip lights are then run along the diagonal valleys that occur,” he adds.

Interior fit-out by the tenant, Deloitte – as per Claire D’Adorante, Director of Paragon Interface

The ground floor accommodates the more public functions such as a Deloitte reception, client-facing meeting rooms, a staff restaurant and a Vida e Caffé that can service both Deloitte employees and the public realm through a hatch inserted into the covered entrance façade.

“To facilitate and encourage active movement for both employees and visitors, the Ridge has a light-filled internal atrium conceptualised as a street that runs through its centre. The workspace planning focuses on activating this street edge through the deliberate positioning of agile workspaces around the atrium to create a bustling working corridor.

“This includes a balance of collaborative workspace such as touch-down points, casual lounge spaces, focus rooms and pods. Social relaxation areas are positioned in the vertical circulation core. Lifts and a sculptural steel staircase allow employees to easily connect with each other between floors,” explains D’Adorante.

The ground floor experience is completed by Deloitte’s ‘Xcelerator’, an immersive environment where clients can experience the potential of digital transformations in an innovative environment that enables the creative development of customised digital solutions.

New ways of working such as desk-sharing practices are also being successfully implemented here, aligned with Deloitte’s global workspace practices. “From the beginning the Ridge was always going to be unique, and the interior really needed to respond to that brief. At the same time, it aligns the threads of Deloitte’s branding philosophy and the workplace strategies,” she concludes.

The usage of the tenant corporate colours permeate the building creatively and are also used in a practical way for example, in navigation around the 8 500m2 building – each floor is uniquely colour-coded.

Each floor is colour-coded with Deloitte corporate colours.

The Green Building Council of South Africa

Lisa Reynolds, CEO of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), commends the V&A Waterfront and the entire professional team on another iconic 6-Star Green Star certified building within the Waterfront precinct. “The Ridge represents the V&A’s commitments to world-class sustainability leadership as well as showcasing local built environment professional talent capable of delivering innovative sustainable design,” says Reynolds. “Green buildings like the Ridge help to inspire a built environment in which both people and planet thrive,” she adds.

Georgina Smit, Head of Technical at the GBCSA explains that a 6-Star Green Star Design rating at the project design stage represents an intent to achieve a sustainability performance level that equates to world leadership, exceeding South African excellence (5-Star) and industry best practice (4-Star).

“Six-star ratings are unusual in South Africa and is not an easy achievement for a design rating. Only nine other offices have achieved this accolade to date, either through our Design or As-Built rating, or both, since 2010. It involves a committed client, a dedicated professional team and an integrated design approach by all,” she says.

More on green buildings in our latest issue of +Impact

Technical facts

Power
  • The building has a specific energy strategy which includes:
  • Passive energy-efficient features are incorporated, as mentioned above, to reduce base energy load.
  • Active energy-efficient designs include low-energy lighting systems.
  • A solar array on the roof harvests additional power when the sun is shining.
  • Ultimately, in the case of a grid failure, vital systems in the building are kept going by means of a standby generator.
Water resources
  • The building employs the normal low water flow devices in sympathy with Cape Town’s growing status as an arid city.
  • Grey water and rainwater harvested from the roof is collected and reused for toilet flushing and irrigation.
Dematerialisation and recycling

The focus given by designers to dematerialisation, re-use and recycling is well documented, including the South African first-ever usage of ecobricks encapsulated within certain non-load bearing structural elements of the building.

Greening the interior

Within the Ridge, the natural environment is king. Green plants and a planted balcony for occupants are features of the design philosophy that incorporates greenery.

Photography by ©Gareth Griffiths Imaging and Sarah da Pina

Professional Team: The Ridge

ProfessionalsCompany
LandlordV&A Waterfront
TenantDeloitte
ArchitectsStudioMAS
Engineering team (comprehensive service)Arup
Project managersMace
Quantity surveyorsSmith & Co
Interior architectsParagon Interface
Main contractorGVK Siya Zama
Geo-tech engineersCore Geotech
Landscape architectsPlanning Partners
AcousticsSRL
EcobricksV&A Waterfront

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GBCSA urges building owners to know and show their energy performance

By next December, some non-residential buildings will be required by law to display an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which demonstrates the efficiency or inefficiency of a building. This is done by measuring the building’s energy-use intensity and giving it a colour-coded score from A-G, like the energy rating you would find on appliances.

In the same way that drivers check the fuel consumption of a car before renting or buying it, knowing the energy performance of a building empowers potential buyers or tenants to make a more informed decision.

It is hoped that this will be a great boost for energy efficiency in South Africa, since the first step toward lowering energy consumption is knowing energy consumption. The new regulation requires that energy data is collected over the period of a year, to get an adequate measure of the building’s energy use. Thus, building owners will see how their buildings compare against the SANS 10400-XA benchmark energy usage intensity value.

Once information on a building’s energy performance is publicly displayed, it will be much harder to justify operating an inefficient building. Buyers and tenants do not desire to move into a building that will be more expensive to run and will be a drain on the planet’s resources.

EPCs in South Africa

To obtain an EPC, a building owner will need to gather some of the building information – the electricity consumption data for a year, the net floor area, information on the areas excluded, vacancy rates – and contract a South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) accredited inspection body (IB) to audit the information. The IB submits the energy performance value to the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), which inputs it into the National Building Energy Performance Register.  A unique number for the EPC is generated and sent to the SANAS accredited IB, who then issues the EPC to the client for display.

The National Building Energy Performance Register will assist with future benchmarking of building energy consumption and track progress toward achievement of the targets set out in future EPC regulations.

Before joining the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), CEO Lisa Reynolds played an important role in the development of SANS 1544, the South African National Standard, which governs EPCs. “The old adage “if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it” is the basis for the EPC Regulations. The energy usage of the South African existing building stock is unknown. How do we improve on an unknown? By measuring it – and ultimately improving on it,” says Reynolds. 

The Stellenbosch University Admin B building is the first in South Africa to achieve an EPC. The building received an A-rating for electrical consumption of 48kWh per square metre per year. The University has been collecting data for several years and the data verification was completed by Bluedust Engineering Solutions. This information was handed to Mess Energy Management and Validation Service, which is accredited by SANEDI to issue EPCs.

The challenge is now on to see which building in South Africa will be the next to get its Energy Performance Certificate.

The GBCSA is providing training workshops on EPCs in two parts/sessions. The first one is for building owners, facilities managers and consultants interested in understanding more about the EPC process and the second session must also be attended for those wishing to become SANAS accredited inspection bodies. Click here for more information.

Towards Net Zero

Understanding the energy performance of a building is a vital first step on the journey to a net-zero carbon building, which is the ultimate goal for the GBCSA. From knowing the energy usage intensity of a building; leading to the energy efficiency retrofitting of that building and ultimately the retrofitting into a net-zero carbon building.

The GBCSA strongly advocates for net-zero carbon buildings. These are very highly energy-efficient buildings, with the remainder of the power required for the operation of the building provided by renewable energy sources.

The motivation for net-zero carbon buildings is driven by South Africa’s National (National Development Plan goals) and local climate change commitments, which include the C40 Global Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration. Johannesburg, Tshwane, Cape Town and eThekwini are C40 cities and signatories to the 2018 declaration, alongside 24 other global cities. These cities have committed to developing regulations and/or planning policy to ensure new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030 and all buildings reach net-zero carbon status by 2050.

READ MORE: SOUTH AFRICA’S NEWLY IMPLEMENTED EPC REGULATIONS [PAGE 38 +IMPACT 11]
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GBCSA and Zutari launch safe workplace guideline

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) and Zutari (formerly known as Aurecon) has launched a “safe return to the workplace” guideline to help facilitate a responsible reopening of offices in South Africa. 

“What is emerging is a realisation that lockdown cannot be a long-term strategy against Covid-19 and that the ‘new normal’ for workplaces is evolving because of the need for human interaction,” says Georgina Smit, GBCSA’s Head of Technical. “Although a ‘new normal’ is emerging in office working, it will need to respond not only to a changed world of work but will have to manage health-related risks as well,” she adds.   

The guideline, developed by GBCSA and Zutari, is a technical guide for existing buildings that identifies best practice recommendations for a healthy and safe return. The guide is available for free and aimed at building owners, facilities managers, office managers, and tenants.

“Commercial buildings are not typically designed to standards aimed at minimising the spread of infectious disease to the extent of hospitals that are built for this purpose. However, there are various measures that can be implemented to reduce the risk of transmission,”

Martin Smith, Technical Director, Zutari

The framework and guideline consist of five categories and 45 initiatives and has been put together to understand the range of options that should be considered when implementing the return to the workplace, with safety as the key priority. It provides an overview that identifies infection control strategies at various levels of decision-making and responsibility.

Smit explains that “the guidelines are set up in a structure similar to the Green Star rating tools with various interventions grouped under a number of applicable categories. A short aim description and background are provided for each initiative. The guide puts forward a recommended best practice for each initiative. It is a user-friendly starting point for stakeholders to understand what needs to be considered for a safe workplace.”

The guide considers initiatives related to management, personal behaviour, indoor air quality, safe water systems, and design for safety. Each category has been collated around the point of control within the building in mind. For example, the Management Category highlights the need for mental health support services that encourage resiliency and ensures that discrimination does not occur.

Smit says that the first step for those interested in applying this to a building they work in is a healthy building assessment audit. “The purpose of this is to provide an understanding of the current status of the building and its related services and address the preparedness of management and staff to handle health-related risks. It serves as a gap analysis of your building’s status in relation to desired outcomes and requirements of this guide.”

Zutari’s Martin Smith emphasises that the role of air quality needs to be considered. “You really want to address building ventilation rates to ensure sufficient ventilation or outdoor air supply rates are provided to minimise a build-up of pathogens or contaminants suspended in the air. Good amounts of fresh air also contribute to occupant wellness, which could have translated into productivity benefits.”

When considering mitigation strategies for your building, it is important to understand how infections such as Covid-19 spread. The risk associated with the following four most common transmission routes should be addressed when using this guide: person to person via macro droplets; airborne transmission; fomite transmission and faecal-oral transmission. 

“Mitigating risks associated with each one of these transmission routes has a massive impact on the way a building and its occupants need to be managed to ensure everyone’s safety,” Smith added. 

It is the responsibility of organisations encouraging staff to return to work to ensure due processes and protocols are followed for the safety of employees. Companies need to be compliant with the SA Government Coronavirus (Covid-19) Regulations and Guidelines and this guideline provides free additional robust support for the South African commercial and retail sector, through the lens of green building priorities.

GBCSA and Zutari urged stakeholders to “use this opportunity to facilitate the shift to creating healthy spaces for people to work, collaborate and contribute to creating a better place for all of us.” 

DOWNLOAD: The Framework & Guideline for the Safe Return to the Workplace. The initiatives can be downloaded here

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GBCSA appoints Giles Pendleton as new Chairman

Attacq, the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and developers of Africa’s largest mix–use development, Waterfall, are pleased to announce the appointment of its Chief Development Officer, Giles Pendleton as the new Chairman of the Green Building Council South Africa, replacing outgoing Chairman IIse Swanepoel.

“In terms of the road ahead, it is critical to have a stable and focused council that is aligned to its basic strategy, supported by a re-engineered board that has a strong industry-centric input,” says Giles Pendleton, Chief Development Officer at Attacq.

Giles has played a pivotal role in Attacq’s flagship development of Waterfall City, which has been master planned as a green fields development, leveraging global best practice in urban design, smart and sustainable technology. This is grounded in the business’ overall strategy to build inclusive and sustainable assets, that are grounded in cutting edge urban design and future forward environmental stewardship.

Giles has over 23 years in global commercial property development having been based in Poland, Australia and the UAE, driving smart and sustainable property developments. His vast experience includes serving as the Development Director for Omnivat, a premier Dubai developer in the  Dubai International Financial Centre. He’s also served as the Vice President for Property Development and Head of Master Planning for the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA).

The Green Building Council of South Africa is an industry association that promotes the construction of buildings and homes designed, built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way. Its combined influence drives competitive, viable and professional membership advantage.

“I look forward to working with Giles and the newly constituted board to drive the growth and adoption of sustainable building practices across South Africa’s property sector. Going into 2021, the promotion of a green recovery strategy and local value-added solutions will be imperative as we collectively work towards ensuring environmental sustainability within the industry”, says Lisa Reynolds, CEO of GBCSA.

As the new Chair, Giles’s primary focus will be on driving a new green economy and pushing for tools allowing for more existing buildings to be assessed and certified. He has prioritised a focus on green funding and green valuations as a catalyst to the green economy.

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My Clean Green Home: Call for partners

The City of Cape Town (CCT), with support from the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), have co-created a design competition for the ultimate “clean green home”.  This competition is targeted at students and professionals of the built environment and forms part of the Cape Town Future Energy Festival, a series of virtual event experiences designed to include all Capetonians in the city’s future energy story.

The virtual festival runs until January 2021 and will culminate in a physical event in the first quarter of 2021 at which the winning My Clean Green Home design will be constructed and displayed. The brief is to design a net-zero carbon unit for display and exhibition purposes. 

The Future Energy Festival is seeking project partnership and support in the means of building materials, appliances, furniture, and building-related services to support this unit being fully realised. A net-zero carbon building is defined as “a building that is highly energy-efficient, and the remaining energy use is from renewable energy, preferably on-site but also off-site where absolutely necessary, so that there are zero net carbon emissions on an annual basis”. 

Quantities of materials will be finalised in December once the design is completed. Closing date for project partnership submissions is 30 November 2020. Project partnership terms will be concluded by 30 January 2021 when the construction of the My Clean Green Home will be completed. 

Project partners will receive the following marketing opportunities:

Association with the Cape Town Future Energy Festival and net-zero carbon design:  

An opportunity to showcase your product and align your offering with energy-efficient and net-zero carbon goals.

Physical display opportunities in the unit itself: Each project partner will be given a space of 1 x A3 (portrait orientation) on the display unit near where their product is being used to educate the reader about the product and advertise your company. Include links & QR codes. Project partners are to provide their own artwork printed on card and laminated. Final artwork is subject the festival organiser’s approval. In addition, there may be a project partner wall as part of the unit, pending final design, and space allowances.

Acknowledgement and thanks in My Clean Green Home communication on the festival’s digital platforms, including the website and social media channels (at least 2 social media posts acknowledging all project partners) and any other My Clean Green Home communication material that is developed.

Please see the list of items below and get involved by completing this form

We are seeking project partners and support in supplying the following items:

  • Roof sheeting
  • Guttering & downpipes
  • Insulation to walls & roofing
  • Ceiling boards
  • Sisilation Roof timbers (structural timbers & battens)
  • PV Panels & battery pack Geyser / Solar water heater
  • Light switches & wiring
  • Indoor lights – LED Outdoor lights – LED / solar
  • Sanware: taps Sanware: shower rose & base
  • Sanware: sink & basin taps
  • Sanware: toilet Plumbing services
  • Electrical services
  • DB Board
  • Doors & windows (timber option)
  • Doors & windows (aluminum option)
  • Glazing to doors & windows
  • Sanware: kitchen sink & taps
  • Joinery: Kitchen countertops
  • Joinery: Bedroom
  • Joinery: study/utility cupboard
  • Joinery: kitchen
  • Appliances: Fridge
  • Appliances: Washing Machine
  • Appliances: Stove (gas) hob & oven
  • Appliances: kettle / toaster / microwave
  • Water tank & reticulation
  • Walling boards (internal)
  • Walling/cladding (external)
  • Floor boards
  • Fireplace Paint – low VOC
  • Carpets/flooring
  • Floor & wall tiles & adhesives
  • Recycling Bins
  • Composting bin
  • Washing line
  • Furniture: Couch, table, chairs, bed, bedside table, cupboard, bedside light
  • Veggie boxes & soil
  • Plants
  • Fencing & latte  

More on The Cape Town Future Energy Festival in +Impact 0.8 (page 86):

READ MORE
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SABIS International School – Runda, Nairobi, sets a regional precedent

The new SABIS® International School – Runda in Nairobi achieved a 4-Star Green Star Africa-Kenya PEB v1 Design Rating in April 2020. The school is being presented as a case study at the World Green Building Week (21-25 September), and a tree-planting ceremony is being planned as part of the Green Star design certificate handover process.

SABIS® International School – Runda offers a world class education to students from kindergarten to Grade 12 within a vibrant, multicultural community that is committed to academic excellence. Construction on the state-of-the-art campus, which gives students the space to learn, grow and discover their talents, started in June 2016 and was completed in June 2018.

Facilities include an independent kindergarten area, upper and lower school buildings, cafeteria, gymnasium, pool, football pitch, tennis courts, mini car track, and an auditorium. As the first Green Star certified school in Kenya, the aim was to positively impact the project’s design and construction costs, asset value, operating costs, workplace productivity and user health. 

With a GFA of almost 14,600 sqm, the school is conveniently located near the Northern Bypass in Kiambu County. The project was developed by the SABIS® Network, a global network of schools that dates back to 1886 and currently educates over 70,000 students in 20 countries on 5 continents. Concept design architects on the project were Archika, with Boogertman + Partners as executive architects. The green building AP (accredited professional) team comprised WEB Limited, a Kenyan based sustainable development consultancy and co-founding member of the Kenya Green Building Society, in collaboration with Solid Green Consulting.

Urban & Climatic Context

Elizabeth Wangeci Chege of WEB Limited explains that the site was chosen to meet the growing demand for a new school in an area that has become densely urbanised in the last 10 years. Being very close to the Equator with no extremes in weather, conditions lent themselves to passive design; the soil is conducive to plant growth and biodiversity, and there is an abundance of rain for harvesting.

The SABIS® Network has developed schools in different regions in the Middle East and South America, and the concept design had to be contextualised, acclimatised, and aligned with local expectations. For example, following the attack on the Garissa University College in April 2015, a top priority was security which necessitated a boundary wall and physical barriers between the buildings.

“Safety on site is also paramount,” comments Anthony Opil, project architect at Boogertman + Partners. “The site is on a steep slope so the buildings were staggered and connected with soft, landscaped ramps – working with the terrain to make the buildings easily accessible to one to another and for the mobility impaired. Courtyards were also designed for different age groups with specific play areas for the lower school and high school – which was an approach that was customized to local expectations.”

The school is bound by two roads to the north and south respectively, with the northern road being a busy highway. SABIS® had to provide a budget and infrastructure to access the southern road, which is much lower and further away from the school. The original design was mirrored in order to avoid traffic and highway noise; and cyclist facilities and school bus facilities were provided.

A Tailored Response

Another key consideration was resource efficiency. While there is a greater reliance on mechanical ventilation and heating in other countries, in Kenya, with its high energy costs and a consistent climate, a more appropriate response was developed.

The classroom blocks were oriented north/south with openings, particularly in the study areas, that do not face east or west. Heat gain from outside surfaces was limited by merging soft and hard landscaping and, in the site planning, by ensuring that paved spaces do not bounce heat back into the internal spaces. Air pollution was also mitigated by ensuring that the school bus parking areas, which are planted with young trees, are oriented to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the buildings.

Locally available materials and technologies were specified where possible, such as concrete hollow blocks and roof insulation to improve thermal massing. This was a departure from the typical local construction practice of using natural stone because, says Opil, the hollow blocks were more climatically appropriate, enabled costs to be reduced, and were readily available thus circumventing supply issues relating to stone.

Natural lighting and ventilation were modelled and optimised by increasing the height of the windows specified in the original design. Together with the selection and procurement of low-VOC finishes – such as paints, adhesives and sealants – to ensure that the children are not exposed to toxins, this ensured a significant improvement in the school’s Indoor Environmental Quality. Elizabeth Chege explains that, although the AP team did not conduct embodied energy calculations for materials, this strategy was used to govern the specification of materials; and workshops were held with both the client and contractor to ensure that targets were met.

Solar water heaters were installed to reduce energy consumption, and a modular solar PV system was designed for optional adoption – with the aim of providing panels for classrooms in the next phase of the development, to cut back on consumption and reduce operational costs.

Electricity and water sub-metering was provided for each block with smart meters connected to the BMS to monitor and manage consumption, and to offer a learning resource for the school children and their carers. The school was also the first in Kenya to install 100% LED lights in all spaces, thus gaining an additional Green Star Innovation point.

Targeting Net Zero Water

Boniface Chege, also of WEB Limited, says that the project is performing so well in terms of water consumption that the team will consider targeting a Net Zero Water certification which, if successful, will be the first in the region. “We had to consider how children behave and how they like to play with water,” he says. “We reduced consumption by specifying low-flush toilets and low-flow taps with sensors.

“Potable water consumption for landscape irrigation has been reduced by 100% using a rainwater harvesting system and recycled black water system. This is backed up by a borehole with variable speed drive (VSD) pumps and municipal water as a last resort. For the Green Star rating, we achieved 99,9% of the available water credits just by using context-appropriate systems like efficient fittings and a blackwater treatment plant – thus contributing to the long-term resilience of the school.”

Elizabeth Chege adds, “To treat the sewage emanating from the facility, a membrane bio reactor (MBR) – a process of membrane-based technology – was provided. In this process, the excess sludge does not require separate digestion and the quantity of sludge generated is minimal. This avoids the cumbersome sludge disposal exercise which needs more manual labour and land area. The treated water from the system is disposed of into an overhead tank to flush toilets by gravity. The supplier and installer of the system was also appointed to maintain the system during operations.

“A workshop is being planned with the school’s operational team to ensure a smooth transition from design to operations by sharing information; and consumption data is already being reviewed. The team will also implement an occupancy survey plan to ensure ongoing comfort and usability for users.”

A precedent in Waste Management

Construction waste is currently a topical discussion in Kenya and this project has become a case study for the National Construction Authority, for other contractors to adopt. The reason, says Elizabeth Chege, is that the tender and preliminary documentation was very clear, so the contractor was informed at the outset of the required standards. The contractor therefore appointed a local waste consultant to ensure that the waste was recycled and reused, and 96% of the construction waste was tracked, weighed and diverted from landfill.

In terms of operational waste, spaces were provided on site for separation of waste; and recycling bins were clearly labelled for use by the school children and staff. Paper and cardboard, plastic, metal and cans, glass bottles, and food waste are all separated during operations. The appointed waste collection company was awarded a contract on the basis that they collect the separated waste in trucks that maintain separation, and they have an extensive sorting site that employs women and youth.

A benchmark for East Africa

“The growth and development of school infrastructure has a large impact on our natural environment and communities,” shared Austin Opiyo, SABIS® International School – Runda Facilities Manager.

“The design, construction, and operation of the buildings in which we work are responsible for the consumption of many of our natural resources. We are glad that SABIS® Runda is a leading example of a green school and has gone ahead to be a corporate leader in sustainability initiatives.”

Austin Opiyo, SABIS® International School – Runda Facilities Manager

“Research has shown that certain green building factors positively influence learners’ performance at school,” notes Chilufya Lombe, director at Solid Green.

“SABIS® Runda is the first school in the SABIS® Network to be completed and undergo certification in Africa, with more planned in future. With this project we have shown that schools, where our children spend most of their time away from home, can be green too. We hope that other learning institutions in Africa will also adopt green building certification and become part of the call to climate action.”

Chilufya Lombe, director at Solid Green.

“This certification sets an example for the rest of the region,” says Elizabeth Chege. “We were thrilled to be part of the process of opening up the Green Star Africa PEB tool for countries outside South Africa. The client was dedicated to achieving this aim and the professional team and main contractor were completely open minded about the process, enabling us to efficiently meet the required credits.”

In both its realisation and certification process, SABIS® International School – Runda has successfully set a new benchmark for schools and the green building sector in East Africa.

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