The Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) has awarded the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education a 4 Star Green Star SA Office Design v1.1 certification for its Ugu district office.
Located in Port Shepstone, the six-storey building spans 6 701 m2 of gross floor area.
Green building involves designing, building and operating buildings in a sustainable way. The GBCSA states that the department’s KwaZulu-Natal office integrates this with all the amenities that come with its central location, including easy access for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, thus reducing its environmental footprint.
The office features generous natural light with all office spaces having been designed and placed to have a direct line-of-sight to the outdoors. It has an energy-efficient lighting system and low volatile organic compound finishes.
In addition, the building was designed with dedicated parking spaces in close proximity to access points for motorcycles and fuel efficient vehicles, thereby promoting the use of such vehicles by staff.
During construction, the bulk of materials used were sourced within close proximity to the project, thereby reducing carbon emissions. Embodied energy of the construction process was reduced through the use of industrial by-product in the concrete mixture and a large percentage of recycled structural steel.
Further, dedicated areas for waste sorting and storage, which were allocated during construction, have been retained for future use.
GBCSA CEO Dorah Modise said the awarding of a 4 Star Green Star rating shows the public sector’s position “at the forefront of green building in South Africa”.
She also commended the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Public Works on embracing green building principles and practices, which contributed to the growing number of green public buildings around South Africa.