12 March 2014 - Engineering, management and specialist technical services company Aurecon achieved a first in Tshwane in 2011 when its Lynnwood Bridge Office Park building, situated just off of the N1 highway, achieved a 4 star GreenStar SA – [Office Design v1, Office Design v1] rating from the Green Building Council of Southern Africa.
The company is currently undertaking work on another ‘green’ office building in the same precinct which will comprise five basement levels, as well as ground plus five floors.
The project is being developed by Atterbury, with Studio 3 Architects International (Pty) Ltd as architects, and Aurecon responsible for the majority of engineering design disciplines on the project. “It’s been encouraging to work with a project team who is committed to and sees the value in ‘going green’,” comments Smith. The entire project team has tackled multiple challenges thus far, including an adjacent wetland and the two podiums being rated as a single development, as a team effort. “This kind of collaboration is only possible when a professional team sees the value in pursuing sustainable developments,” explains Aurecon’s national green building expert, Martin Smith.
“A wetland in close proximity to the building threatened registration with GreenStar SA, unless a viable solution to mitigating potentially harmful water run-off, which could negatively affect the surrounding flora and fauna, was found,” explains Environmentally Sustainable Design consultant at Aurecon Marni Punt. Aurecon’s building makes use of various species of plants affixed to the building’s northern car park façade to act as a natural filtration system. “This system, although effective, was a costly solution for these offices,” explains Punt. “This building will make use of a mechanical water filtration system which is more cost-effective and integrated with the building’s other water systems.”
Additional features aimed at achieving maximum sustainability include, amongst others:
Smith goes on to say that these offices have been designed to provide a comfortable and stimulating environment for tenants, with indoor environment quality enhanced by the following features:
Punt adds that because the building consists of two towers, many of the tower’s systems could not be fully integrated. “The two towers will be submitted as one development with a single rating, which means both towers are jointly required to achieve a high level of performance.” She explains that this will be achieved through careful modelling of the towers’ performance and constant tweaking of the building systems to achieve desirable performance levels.
After handover, the building owner will implement tuning of all building systems. Monthly monitoring will be undertaken, and the outcomes will reported to the building owner quarterly to allow corrective action to be taken. What’s more, full re-commissioning will be undertaken 12 months after practical completion. These initiatives will ensure that the building systems perform optimally, in the manner in which they were designed.
On the question of whether the investment in green technologies is more costly than a conventional building, Smith believes: “It’s critical to realise that a green building is a long-term investment. Paybacks such as increased productivity and decreased sick rates, although difficult to quantify, also represent significant gains. Both Aurecon’s current offices and this ‘green’ office building in the same precinct demonstrate that it’s possible to deliver a superior, integrated end product that is an asset to the people who use it and the natural landscape which surrounds it.”