The Millennia Park office building, in Stellenbosch, has become the first refurbished building in South Africa to achieve 5 Star Green Star SA certification from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).
Project manager Bornman & Associates director Chris Bornman explains that achieving a Green Star SA rating on a refurbished building poses an entirely distinct set of challenges, compared with a new building, which can be designed according to green principles from the onset.
“With a refurbishment project, you have to take what you have and work with it. You cannot, for example, change the orientation of the building, which forces one to become more creative to overcome inherent challenges,” he says.
The refurbishment of the 29-year-old building, which was completed in April, was driven by a team of consultants, which included landscape architects, freshwater ecologists, environmental consultants, geohydrological consultants, acoustic consultants and an independent commissioning agent.
Compared with the original building, the refurbished building will consume around 30% less electricity as a result of interventions including efficient lighting, solar water heating and, most importantly, the use of a chilled beam air-conditioning system.
The original steel roof structure was reused in the manufacturing of the new undercover parking structures, with about 70% of all steel on site sourced from the original building.
In addition, more than 80% of the waste generated during the project was not dumped on landfill sites as much of it was reused in the refurbishment process. Crushed stone and concrete from the demolished components of the existing building were used to raise the level of the parking area above the 50-year flood line.
The building is expected to realise water savings of around 79%, compared with the original building, owing to the introduction of grey-water harvesting, rainwater harvesting and the use of waterless urinals. The new landscaping at the office park also reduces water consumption attributable to irrigation by some 50%.
Moreover, the ecological diversity of the site has been improved by 420%, which is due largely to the rehabilita- tion of the existing man-made wetland, as well as the introduction of indigenous and water-efficient plants during land- scaping.
An innovation point under the Green Star SA was also awarded to the project for Remgro’s ongoing participation in the river cleanup of the surrounding area.