South African Public Sector Makes Strides in Green Building

4 Star Green Star SA certified South African Department of Education Building (GBCSA)

South Africa - The public sector in South Africa continues to show a commitment to sustainability as evidenced by the 4 Star Green Star SA Office Design v1.1 certification of a building belonging to the country’s Department of Education.

The building located in Port Shepstone in the Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) province was certified by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA).

The six storey Ugu District Office building spans 6,701 square metres of gross floor area.

“We are pleased to announce this certification, which once again places the public sector at the forefront of green building in South Africa – an achievement that everyone can celebrate,” said Dorah Modise, CEO of the GBCSA.  “We congratulate KZN’s Provincial Department of Public Works on embracing green building principles and practices to add to the growing number of green public buildings around South Africa.”

Green building is all about designing, building and operating buildings in a sustainable way. The South African Department of Education: Ugu District Office integrates this with all the amenities that come with its central location, including easy access for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, thus lightening its environmental footprint.

The building 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. A further push towards sustainability includes parking spaces allocated specifically for two wheeled and fuel efficient vehicles in close proximity to the entrance of the building as an incentive to encourage the use of these vehicles.

During construction, the majority of materials used were sourced within close proximity to the project, thereby reducing carbon emissions. Embodied energy was reduced through the use of industrial by-product in the concrete mixture and a large percentage of recycled structural steel. Dedicated areas for waste sorting and storage were allocated during construction and have been retained to date.

Particular focus on this project was placed on creating employment for the local youth labour market, with 218 positions created during the construction and operation of the office.

Kiru Naidoo, KZN Department of Education Director for Communications said, "We are very excited and proud to have built a Green Star rated green building for our education department in Port Shepstone. We congratulate the developer and professional team for achieving this important objective, which supports government's national resource efficiency and green building objectives."

Derrick Edwin Classen, Director of Zatovect, which developed the project, said, "This is the first green building in Port Shepstone, and how wonderful that it is a government building showing leadership in this region. We are privileged to have been involved in this project and hope to build many more green buildings."

“Sustainable public spaces are resource efficient and cost efficient. Hubs of green building have the power to appeal to and attract economically active and skilled people to live, work and visit. The development of this Department of Education building is a fine example of the best practice sustainable development our public sector is delivering, and the GBCSA is here to work with every level of government to achieve their green goals,” concluded Modise.