With the value of green building now increasingly well-established in South Africa, developers are turning to experienced consultants to ensure their buildings are environmentally responsible and sustainably resource-efficient. Appointed by developer Atterbury Property as green building consultants for the new Novartis head office in Waterfall City, Aurecon has ensured compliance with best practices in green building design and construction.
The property’s owners, Attacq, recently announced that the Novartis building is now ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ (LEED®) Gold certified. The LEED rating system, developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), is the most widely adopted programme for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.
The Novartis head office achieved its certification for the implementation of practical and measurable strategies and solutions for high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. “Waterfall City has been developed as a live, work and play urban space where people can enjoy a balanced lifestyle in a pleasant urban development setting that takes both people’s needs and that of the environment into account. The philosophy reaches beyond pure environmentally sensitive construction and is embedded in the total holistic urban design. We are very proud of the LEED certification of our new Novartis building. This is a highlight achievement in line with our Attacq urban design principles. We thank Aurecon for the excellent innovative work done on the project,” says Morné Wilken, CEO of Attacq.
Attacq adopted international best practice urban design principles for all its developments at Waterfall City. “The aim of these urban design principles is to ensure that green building is the standard base approach in this major new development,” explains Carien Storm, Attacq Project and Sustainability Specialist.
Atterbury Property’s Development Manager, Jeanne Jordaan, is also highly complimentary of the commissioning process and of the service provided by Aurecon. “The LEED certification process is a thorough one and focuses on important sustainability features which will add significant value and quality to the building and its surrounds. We definitely intend to use this rating system again. Atterbury Property deemed it important to be associated with an established body such as USGBC as it views the recognition of the LEED certifications by international investors to be an important benefit,” he said.
The major differences between the LEED and the Green Star SA rating system lies in the rationale behind the building certification process. The LEED process consists of two stages: the initial ‘design review’, followed by the ‘construction review’. Projects receive ‘anticipated points’ on the completion of design review and only receive certification on the completion of the construction review. This approach ensures the implementation of the initiatives as documented in the design review. At the present stage of development of the Green Star SA rating system, creativity in green design is encouraged by the award of a star rating at the design stage, and an ‘As Built’ star rating on project completion which may differ from the original design concept. Green Star also requires the development of a custom rating system for project types not covered by their current tools, whereas the LEED rating system is adaptable to a broad range of project types.
“The increased focus on developing environmentally-sustainable buildings is indicative of a maturing green-building industry that is rapidly gaining a substantial foothold in South Africa. As a result, the company is now looking at utilising and developing a broad range of sustainability tools to best suit its clients’ needs,” says Marni Punt, Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) Consultant at Aurecon. “Aurecon is delighted to have delivered Atterbury Property’s first Green Star rating and now, Atterbury Property’s and Attacq’s first LEED rating.”