Lifestyle and commercial property developer Legaro has been given an award for developing South Africa’s highest-rated green building, 78 Corlett drive, in Melrose North.
The award was presented at the Green Building Council of South Africa’s (GBCSA’s) eleventh Green Building Convention gala dinner earlier this month.
The GBCSA awards recognise property owners, accredited professionals and individuals for excellence in leading green projects in South Africa.
Solid Green Consulting was the green building consultant on the 78 Corlett drive project.
The criteria for qualifying green projects are based on submission data gathered during the GBCSA’s Green Star certification process and the strength of the submissions.
Individuals are nominated by the industry and their Green Star engagement is also taken into consideration.
The building in question was a brownfield conversion, presenting a unique set of challenges. This included removing harmful materials suitably before undertaking demolition of the old building; process administration of all waste; and internal finishings having to comply with strict regulations around volatile compounds, says projects director Roger Brookes.
“Our biggest challenge was soil preservation: it can take up to 500 years to produce 2.5 cm of topsoil. All the topsoil removed was relocated and used in gardens. We managed to recycle about 90% of the waste from the demolition,” Legaro pointed out.
Legaro was the developer and main contractor for the construction and is also the anchor tenant of the multi-storey building that comprises a gross lettable area of 1 586 m2 on a 2 000 m2 land parcel.
Daffonchio Architects was responsible for the conceptualisation and design.
The architects applied intuitive software to do light and heat studies, ensuring the building is functional, as well as carbon neutral.
Daffonchio also ensured that the staircase remained a focal piece in the overall interior design, encouraging tenants and visitors to walk up to the second story instead of making use of the lift.
Services and circulation were located in the core, minimising service costs, such as long pipes requiring more insulation.
Apart from a carbon neutral design, the building also boasts recharging facilities for electric vehicles, as well as full cyclists’ facilities, including undercover parking, showers and change rooms.
All lights are energy efficient, only reaching a predetermined maximum energy level. Owing to space restrictions, greywater harvesting was not included, although the building is water efficient.
Development costs were about 8% higher than conventional construction methods, mainly as a result of the solar panels and shuttering installations. The shutters play a critical role in maintaining the building’s ambient temperature throughout the seasons.
Legaro expects the energy savings from the solar panels to reduce energy costs.
Legaro used the GBCSA’s Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) software to measure the resource intensity of the development.
The EDGE standard is set at a minimum of 20% reduction across energy consumption, water use and embodied energy.
Legaro intends to implement the same principles in its other residential and commercial developments.