The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) on Thursday broke ground on its new R8-billion head office in Pretoria, which will be South Africa’s first government-owned green building.
The building, which was designed to meet the green output specifications outlined in the Climate Change policy, would be energy and resource efficient, as well as environmentally responsible.
The building incorporated design, construction and operational practices that would significantly reduce or eliminate any negative impact on the environment and the buildings occupants, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said.
“When we occupy this building in two years, we will literary be walking the green talk,” Molewa said at the sod turning of the National Treasury-funded project, in Arcadia.
The R8-billion project included the design and construction of the building over the next two years, as well as facility management services and complementary support for the next 23 years.
The 34 143 m2 building would be set on 3.1309 ha and would accommodate 1 305 employees. It would also hold over 1 100 parking bays.
The facilities of a “resource” centre would include, besides others, training venues, a conference centre and catering facilities for prominent international events.
Overall energy consumption, 10% of which would be sourced from solar power, would equate to 115 kWh/m2 a year. It was expected that the building would result in a 30% drop in the use of municipal water, owing to the harvesting of rainwater.
Other features included sensor-monitored lighting, compact fluorescent lights, internal climate control, environment-friendly building materials, some of which would be locally made, and ergonomic and worker-friendly spaces.
The green building was designed to maximise natural light resources and enable efficient staff movement.
Further, the building’s strategic position allows for easy mass transport, commuting and cycling.
The DEA was aiming for five-star Green Star South Africa ratings for the building, but believed it would, at the very minimum, achieve four-star design and as-built ratings.
The construction, which was undertaken by a public-private partnership between the DEA and the Imvelo concession company, would be complete by June 1, 2014.
Imvelo partnered with construction group Aveng Grinaker LTA and construction company Keren Kula. The consortium also comprised broad-based black economic-empowerment partners Wiphold and Kagiso Tiso.
The consortium appointed Dijalo property management and Old Mutual Property Investments Group to manage the 23-year services contract.
The facilities management would include building, landscape and facility maintenance; facility cleaning; energy and utilities; as well as supply and waste management; furniture management; parking, pottering and churn management; pest control; internal plants; telephone equipment; fire and emergency services; and management of a help desk facility.