Green construction: critical to SA’s built industry (07/05/13)
The South African built industry recognises that green construction is imperative if we are to reduce carbon emissions and leave a world that will be habitable for future generations. The move to green is therefore rapidly gaining momentum here, in line with the global focus on ensuring a green, sustainable environment, and the international commitment to reducing energy consumption.
“The worldwide focus on sustainability, rising electricity prices and triple bottom line reporting are forcing companies to become increasingly aware of their carbon footprint,” states Jaco Cronje, a Director at EES, an ISO 9001 professional engineering and management company, and a leader in project managing the provision of information technology (IT) solutions to the built environment.
Essential to the construction of a green building is integration of IT and multiple system intelligent infrastructure, and in overseeing this integration EES proactively assists its clients to reduce their carbon footprint and wherever possible curtail any practices which negatively impact on the environment.
“A strong information and communication technology (ICT) platform is essential to ensure the delicate balance between being environmentally responsible and growing a company’s African and global presence,” continues Cronje.
Bradley Hemphill, Managing Director of EES, stresses that integral to being environmentally responsible is energy efficiency. “Intelligent infrastructure integrates energy efficient lighting and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) temperature control systems. Through further integration of CCTV security and access control, fire control and digital signage it contributes to the efficiency of the overall building.
“A growth-area within the technology realm is the Data Centre. Here the intelligent network within the building connects and forms the nerve centre of the network. Data Centres are growing in size and power thus increasingly becoming more power hungry through air conditioning and servers. EES pays particular focus in Data Centre design on the Power Utilisation Efficiency of Data Centres – reducing the ratio of total power consumption to IT equipment consumption.”
These efficient resources and systems of course contribute to the well-being of owner/occupiers and tenants of the building.
Hemphill continues: “While there are initial costs involved in the construction of green buildings, which may be prohibitive to some companies, the long-term cost benefits far exceed the initial costs, and ultimately lower operating costs going forward. With the advancements in technology, we are seeing pay-back periods reducing on a continuous basis.”
He adds that the most efficient and cost-effective method of green construction is to incorporate green methodologies and energy efficiency principles right from the design phase, as opposed to retrofitting.
Bearing testimony to South Africa’s dedication to sustainable, environmentally friendly construction, is the ever increasing number of buildings in this country which have been accredited with a Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) over the past three years. A building is awarded a Green Star rating if it applies with the stringent requirements of the GBCSA, which uses a point system to measure the implementation of green building initiatives.
EES has been involved with project managing the intelligent infrastructure for some of these buildings. One of these is the new 18,100 m² Allan Gray head-office currently under construction at the V&A Waterfront No.1 Silo office building in Cape Town. EES has provided the consultancy for the intelligent infrastructure of the new corporate head-office. The No.1 Silo building has been awarded a six-star Green Star SA rating (Office Design) by the GBCSA. It is only the second building to be awarded a six-star Green rating in South Africa and the first in the Western Cape.
Hemphill concludes: “We at EES are proud to be able to contribute to the environmental sustainability initiatives of our clients, to help the built industry reduce its carbon footprint, and to play a role in shaping South Africa’s green future.”