UCT Comes Tops at South Africa’s Third Greenovate Awards

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Greenovate winners 2017 - Nicholas Tennick, Daniel Navarro and Mark McCormick
Greenovate winners 2017 - Nicholas Tennick, Daniel Navarro and Mark McCormick (Growthpoint)

South Africa - Young environmental game-changers from the University of Cape Town (UCT) took first place in the Greenovate Awards for the third year running. UCT scooped up the very first Greenovate Engineering Award too.

The awards programme is an exciting initiative by Growthpoint Properties in association with the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA). The prestigious awards recognise innovative solutions for the property industry to environmental challenges.

This is the third year the awards have strived to inspire and encourage students of the built environment to discover, explore and invent ways to live more sustainably. Also, for the first time this year, the awards were extended to include a second category for engineering students.

The students were challenged to come up with ideas for any property-related project that makes the way we live greener and our environmental footprint lighter.

A total of eight universities competed for both awards this year. UCT was the only one to take up the challenge in both award streams. Groups from each of the participating universities competed internally first, and the two top projects from each were chosen as finalists. This year the awards adjudicated a record 16 finalist teams.

For the Greenovate Awards, two finalist teams each came from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), UCT, Nelson Mandela University (NMU) and the University of the Free State (UFS), and one represented the University of Pretoria (UP).

For the first ever Greenovate Engineering Awards, two finalist teams each represented UCT, Stellenbosch University and North West University (NWU) and one team came from the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

The winners were announced at a gala dinner in Sandton Central with keynote speaker, serial tech entrepreneur Stafford Masie, who said, “as much as it is about technology, it’s more so about humanity. Sustainability of any idea or innovation is collectively harnessing latent human capital, augmented with AI, to coagulate around your business from the outside. We need to establish ecosystems versus just building cool stuff or even just cool businesses. Co-creativity is the absolute substrate of continuous leading innovation.”

Masie also called at the young innovators to make everything hack-able, derive less value than they create and ensure their leadership is focused on empathy. “Understanding what makes us human, and allows us to express that humanity, with the context of your services, builds exponential competitive edge and values,” Masie added.

The UCT team of Mark McCormick, Daniel Navarro and Nicholas Tennick, supervised by Karen Le Jeune, were named the winners of the Greenovate Awards 2017. Their submission was titled “upgrading existing medium-density residential buildings with strategic green building features and initiatives holds the key to increasing affordable housing in Cape Town” and won them R30 000 in prize money, as well numerous other rewards.

UCT also took second place, with team members Tarryn Coles, Anthony Testa and Gemma Watson investigating the viability of using self-sustaining shipping container homes as an affordable and sustainable approach to student housing. Saul Nurick supervised the team.

Third place was scooped by the Wits team of Thina Mangcu, Prudence Ndlovu and Yonwaba Mntonga, supervised by Dr Kola Ijasan, which undertook a Johannesburg explorative study of a project manager’s skill and knowledge for green building construction.

For the inaugural Greenovate Engineering Award, UCT student and young green thinker Craig Peter Flanagan, supervised by Dr Dyllon Randall, took top honours with a focus on the development of an on-site nutrient recovery urinal for buildings. The award came with a R30 000 prize.

NWU clinched second place in the engineering stream with student Reino von Wielligh, supervised by Dr Leenta Grobler and Dr Henri Marais, who submitted an investigation of a solar powered parking bollard for parking space management.

Third place went to Stellenbosch University student Petrus Johannes Stefanus Botes, with supervisor Prof Jan Andries Wium, who explored the development of sustainable construction systems in South Africa, specifically bamboo scaffolding.

Commenting on the awards, Werner van Antwerpen of Growthpoint Properties said, “Growthpoint is proud to collaborate with the GBCSA, the universities and their students, the award’s sponsors, and the mentors and judges that give so generously of their time and knowledge. Together, we can inspire environmentally innovative thinking among even more of South Africa’s future leaders. Everyone wins when we show and grow innovation for a greener, healthier, and more sustainable environment.”

Remy Kloos, the driving force behind the Greenovate Awards, also remarked on the awards saying, “This awards programme is an excellent way for leading green corporates like Growthpoint to link to university students – the future leaders who will become champions of the sustainability movement. It closes the gap between what is learned at universities and the practical solutions that today’s businesses are seeking. The Greenovate Awards are producing revolutionary student projects backed by smart thinking. These young green trailblazers are discovering new ways to drive green building thinking forward, to ensure a better future.”

I her remarks, Dorah Modise, CEO of the GBCSA, said, “GBCSA is proud to be part of this initiative, year on year these young men and women manage to amaze us with their raw talent. The innovative ideas that they present grow from strength to strength as the years go by. We are happy to see that our efforts in building the necessary skills required to transform the built environment are bearing fruit and we can happily look forward to a greener, more sustainable future.”

For Greenovate Award participants, the benefits go well beyond winning a prize. The programme provides students with an opportunity to work with leading green building thinkers in Greenovate workshops with industry professionals.