Property investment company Growthpoint and washroom solutions company Serra Services have achieved the first Green Star Existing Building Performance (EBP) rating for an industrial building in Gauteng, with a 5-Star certification for a 7 400 m2 facility in Meadowbrook, Germiston.
An extensive process was undertaken by both landlord and tenant, in consultation with green building consultancy Solid Green Consulting, to achieve this rating.
The light manufacturing building, comprising a workshop and offices on two floors, is owned by Growthpoint Properties and was leased by Serra in 2016.
Key features of Serra’s building’s performance include energy and water efficiency. “Serra consumes about 16 kWh/m2 in a year, which is an 85% improvement on a typical light industrial building of this scale (106 kWh/m2 in a year),” says Solid Green sustainable building consultant Dashiell Coville.
Installed as Phase 1, the building incorporates a large solar photovoltaic system on the roof to provide renewable energy to the facility using 130 panels, with a peak yield capacity of 25 kW.
Phase 2 will involve an additional 110 panels, with a maximum of 550 panels to be installed in total.
Three lithium-ion battery banks provide the office component with 24 hours of uninterrupted power. In winter – June to August – these are bled during peak load periods to reduce Serra's electricity consumption and carbon footprint.
Further, with water saving initiatives and efficient habits of the Serra staff, the facility has demonstrated an 88% improvement in water consumption on a typical light manufacturing industrial building of this scale.
The Serra building uses energy- and water-monitoring systems to accurately report on consumption. Data is monitored through online dashboards and used to analyse trends and highlight problem areas.
The utility metering process is outsourced to a specialist contractor that manages meter reading and processing.
Periodic audits and occupant surveys are carried out to ensure sufficient fresh air is provided to meet or exceed national design standards, that lighting levels are enhanced and that temperatures are comfortable.
Serra group marketing director Paul Thomaz says Serra is duty bound to highlight health and sustainable environmental practices as they become more relevant. “From the outset, our discussions with Growthpoint hinged on our mutual determination to regard sustainability as a joint core value. This is in keeping with Serra’s all-encompassing philosophy and long-term vision of ‘no harm’, and our commitment to applying best international practice in reducing our overall carbon footprint.”
Growthpoint Properties asset management: industrial head Errol Taylor says it is interesting to note that this small but prominent corner of Meadowbrook has become a shining example of green building in South Africa.
“Serra’s premises are directly adjacent to Growthpoint’s award-winning 5-Star Office Design v1-certified Grundfos development.”
He adds that the EBP certification for the building occupied by Serra is part of a pilot programme to develop an industrial EBP rating tool for the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), which can be used by everyone in the industrial property sector.
“Growthpoint works in close collaboration with our clients and professional teams to achieve enhanced environments for occupants while ensuring that our buildings operate efficiently, sustainably and with minimal impact on the environment.”
Solid Green sustainable building consultant Dashiell Coville explains that the GBCSA’s
EBP tool focuses on the operational phase of an existing building’s lifecycle, to enable facilities management to set in place policies, plans and processes to enhance the operations and performance of the building.
“The certification process for industrial buildings requires a lot more tenant engagement than for office buildings, as industrial tenants are typically in charge of all aspects of property management and cannot simply gain credit from the landlord's green policies.”