Bank aims for 5-star green-rated Rosebank building

15th March 2013 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Contributing Editor

Financial services group Standard Bank, which is typically associated with its blue brand identity, aims to achieve a five-star green rating for its modern customer service office in Rosebank that will open in May, says Standard Bank Corporate and Investment Banking Real Estate head Stewart Shaw-Taylor.

The building has already received a five-star as-designed green rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa. The group is confident that it will achieve a four-star as-built rating with- in two years of occupying the 65 000 m2 building.

Standard Bank Real Estate Asset Manage- ment head Rory Roriston explains that the Green Building Council of South Africa provides as-designed ratings for buildings, but developers must have the building audited to receive an as-built rating, which tests the design parameters against the physical measurements of a building’s performance.

The new office, on the corner of Oxford and Bolton roads, also has a trigeneration plant with a production capacity of 1 MW of energy, which contributes to the electricity, heating and cooling for the building.

Standard Bank selected the gas-powered trigeneration plant, which is expensive, but makes commercial sense in terms of efficiency and in mitigating the sustained electricity price hikes in South Africa.

Further, the building has south-facing saw-tooth skylights, a large atrium in the centre of the building, automatic sun-tracking blinds, escalators and mixed open spaces, all of which are aimed at using natural light and reducing energy consumption required for heating and cooling.

“Critical to us is the maturity of the different green building technologies which are needed to ensure the sustainability of the technologies, financial effectiveness and the practicality of maintenance in managing the building,” says Roriston.

Further, the lighting systems automatically switch on when a person is present at a desk, switch off when no one is present and dim or brighten as the amount of natural light in the building varies, he notes.

“The exterior 1 ha part of the stand will be open to the public and will contain 433 indigenous trees, which we have been growing for two years. The interior will house about 17 trees, including Natal mahogany,” says Roriston.

The atrium separates the eastern and western wings of the office. A cascade of escalators provides access to the floors and each landing has a networking and refreshment area. However, the office’s main rest area is its cafe- teria on the eastern part of the ground floor.

“Escalators are the most efficient way of moving people up and down, but have also been shown to increase staff interactions and networking, which are important for our business and staff. We are competing with other financial institutions for staff and a healthy office environment is an effective way to draw them to our company,” notes Shaw-Taylor.

Roriston further highlights that demolished materials were recycled and used for construction. The sourcing of materials was also considered in light of the distance from the source to the construction site, in Rosebank, to reduce carbon emissions during the transportation of construction materials.

“The construction is a continuation of our strategy to remain a responsible corporate, which was demonstrated by our head office in the central business district of Johannesburg. This office, though of older design, won awards from Eskom in the 1980s and 1990s for its energy efficiency.

The new building is a progression of our awareness of energy use and effi- ciency and our engagement with clients, who are increasingly aware of the impact our society has on the environment,” says Roriston.

Meanwhile, the atrium will also boast an installation by artist Marco Cianfanelli. It will depict Africa and comprise hundreds of indivi- dual pieces, suspended from the roof and made from natural materials, including wood and woven reeds. The pieces all align to represent the image of Africa when a visitor stands at the focal point of the installation, which is set inside the north entrance of the building.