How green are Cape Town’s office spaces?
Many of Cape Town’s office blocks are no longer new. This causes challenges for developers, owners and tenants who want to make these buildings more environmentally friendly. Businesses have to be pragmatic and commercially minded, but they are also increasingly aware of their responsibility towards the environment, and mindful of their legacy.
But there is positive evidence that eco-friendly workarounds can be found. A building within a Cape Town development, Black River Office Park, awarded the first Existing Building Certification from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), showing that existing structures can be transformed.
This office park, also home to the GBCSA’s head office, has the largest roof-mounted photo-voltaic (solar energy) system in Southern Africa. Waste is sorted and recycled, and care is even taken with the correct disposal of fluorescent tubing.
Power of planning
At a number of large new developments in Cape Town, environmental considerations are prioritised from the earliest planning phases, through to design and construction, and beyond. Building like this demonstrates the power of planning because once occupied, the overall development can then also be run sustainably for the duration of its lifespan.
The office buildings in the Silo District of the V&A Waterfront, have sustainability at the core of their development strategy from the outset, adhering to the highest internationally recognised standards. No.1 Silo was the first commercial office space to achieve a 6-star Green Rating from the GBCSA, signifying world leadership. It’s the largest of its kind in the country and a first for Cape Town. Two of the many innovative ways in which it saves resources and energy, is seawater from the nearby Atlantic Ocean instead of using clean freshwater, and diverting heat generated by the server rooms to the underfloor heating system in the foyer.
In the making
The Amdec Group is a founding member of the GBCSA. Their upcoming Harbour Arch precinct will include office space, along with residential, retail and hospitality in the shape of two Marriott hotels. The way in which this mixed-use model, which Amdec does so well, incorporate all the different types of property, it means they will all benefit from the expansive eco-friendly measures of the entire development. For example, working cleverly with light – maximising natural light, not lighting areas that aren’t in use – sophisticated greywater systems, careful sorting and recycling of waste, and more. Whether it’s large-scale developments like these, or small offices where, for example, individuals are making concerted efforts to save or recycle paper… it all contributes to a culture of greener office spaces for which Cape Town is increasingly becoming known.