Green development should become the norm, not the exception to the rule, and Assetmatrix are proving that their company is committed to practising what they preach by improving on sustainability and green ratings on each build they are involved in, says managing director Vivienne Gutsche.
Such is the case at 17 Park Lane, where the Green Building Council of South Africa has awarded a five-star Green Star rating to a building developed by Assetmatrix on behalf of Gutsche Investment and Management Company (Pty) Ltd (GIMCO,) a property investment Company based in Port Elizabeth. Phil Gutsche of GIMCO, the developer and owner of the prestigious Park Lane building, has said the company had a strong desire to further invest in the property portfolio already owned by GIMCO in Cape Town.
At Park Lane, Assetmatrix assimilated what they learned on their previous green development (also a GIMCO project) and have improved on systems to achieve an even better working environment as well as an ecologically sound building.
This can be seen by the manner in which the Park Lane building, from conception, was designed to be a building which could be flexible in how it was tenanted and also achieve a five-star Green Rating. The professional team developed an inspired design which led to the successful occupation of this prestigious building, which is at the forefront of modern sophisticated technology and complies with all the latest regulations including receiving this esteemed rating from the GBCSA.
As a result of this very successful development GIMCO is now considering further property development and investment into the Western Cape.
The professional team all had to have had the same vision and worked together towards a common goal – to achieve an outstanding green rating – and as an added bonus, said Vivienne Gutsche, this was done on time and on budget.
The Terramanzi Group, the green building design consultants involved with the planning and later assessment of the building along with the submission to the GBCSA, stated that the 61 weighted points achieved is an outstanding achievement. The five-star Green Star requirements are stringent and it is not only the actual building that is evaluated but the future management and use of the building as well, said Fabio Venturi of the Terramanzi Group.
Paul Truscott, the consulting architect at MLH Architects on 17 Park Lane, said numerous factors were taken into account in the designing of this building. Apart from adhering to GBCSA’s guidelines, they also had to bear in mind the Century City Property Owners Association guidelines for the Park Lane precinct, which are low mono-pitch roofs and small building forms. In order to meet with these requirements but use all the space available on the four erven available, the “look” of smaller buildings was put in place, with glass “boxes” joining each one to create the 3 629m² building it is today.
“MLH Architects have achieved a good balance between green building and timelessness and sophistication,” said Vivienne Gutsche.
The exteriors are fitted with integral architectural sun control in the form of vertical and horizontal fins, which minimises sunlight infiltration and thereby reduces the heat loading within the building. With regards to light, the width of the building is the optimal dimension to maximise natural light penetration, with the result that less artificial lighting is needed, which in turn reduces energy consumption.
A state of the art building management system monitors and controls energy consumption, and records the usage of all building services such as electricity, lighting, air-conditioning or airflow adjustments, water consumption, standby generator, and other electronic installations.
Full cyclist facilities have been installed, from secure bicycle parking to showers and locker facilities. Dedicated bays for recharging of electrical cars has been provided and the building is also situated to enable staff to make use of the comprehensive public transport system within Century City.
"We feel this encourages people to think about using an alternative to their motor vehicle to get to work, or to use greener methods of transport,” said Truscott.
Water consumption has been addressed and kept to a minimum, with indigenous plants chosen for the communal garden which will only need to be watered for the first year and will not need further watering after this. In the meantime, only non-potable water is used in the gardens, said Venturi.
Recycling of all waste has also been addressed with full recycling facilities in the basement.
"In order for a building like this to work and to keep the green rating viable,” said Vivienne Gutsche, “there needs to be a “buy-in” and commitment from the users, i.e. the tenants. To assist them in doing so, Terramanzi Group have provided a Building Users’ Guide, which explains in detail how the facility operates and the various green initiatives implemented, from energy usage and environmental strategies, heating and cooling within the building, transportation, recycling, and so on. This will ensure that the tenants reap the rewards of working in a green environment in the future.”