President Jacob Zuma has officially opened the first government building to receive a six-star Green Star rating.
“The construction of Environment House signals a new era for the construction industry,” President Jacob Zuma said at the official opening of the Department of Environmental Affairs’ (DEA’s) green building head office in Pretoria on 17 October 2014.
“South Africa has relatively high emissions for a developing country and we should make the most of every green opportunity to change this trajectory,” he stated. “With this construction, the government has taken a bold step with 25 years’ public-private partnership investment worth R8 billion in this green building.”
The building has received a six-star Green Star SA Office V1 Design rating from the independent Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA). It is the first government building in South Africa to achieve a six-star Green Star SA rating. It is also the first six-star Green Star rated building in the City of Tshwane.
According to a statement by the GBCSA, the building’s most significant savings are around energy, the most heavily weighted environmental category due to South Africa’s energy sources being mainly coal-based. The DEA’s predicted energy consumption is about 108kWh/m²/annum for the base building, and the estimated savings are in the region of 3,5 million kWh per annum, which translates into 4,4 million kilogram CO₂ per annum.
With a gross floor area of 30 654m², the building which is located in Arcadia, Pretoria, showcases green building principles and targets the green output specifications outlined in the government’s National Climate Change Response Policy.
“For any building to achieve a six-star rating is a feat that should be celebrated because of the high standard of green building design and construction applied,” says Brian Wilkinson, chief executive officer of the GBCSA. “For a government building, this is a precedent-setting move by the leadership of our country and is quite a progressive demonstration of consciousness for the green movement.
“As the biggest owner of property in the country and one of the biggest occupiers of office buildings, the government is a key stakeholder. It can play a crucial role in not only driving the development of green buildings within its own portfolio, but also incentivising the private sector by occupying office buildings that are green rated,” he adds.