Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  22 Mar 2013

GREEN BUILDINGS: Bryprop Aims for 6 Star Rating – a First for Southern Africa


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Bryprop, one of JohannesburgÂ’s niche sectional title property development firms, is enhancing its focus on sustainability, an area expected to deliver both cost savings and greater comfort for building occupants, as well as revenue-generating opportunities in the market.

Bryprop has just become the first firm in Gauteng to receive a Green Building Council 5 Star award for its development of Block E, Upper Grayston, South AfricaÂ’s first smaller building to hold this accolade.

Buoyed by this success, Bryprop is now developing Block F next door and is targeting a 6 Star GBCSA rating for that building which will be complete by June 2013. Block F will be the one and only 6 Star-rated commercial building in South Africa on completion.

"Sustainability for us is at the core of our construction model," says Ron Henderson, director at Bryprop. “We’re constantly seeking new ways to decrease our environmental footprint while still maintaining revenues.”

Components to its buildings, such as recycling, waste management, local sourcing, and community mass transport positioning, are also attracting attention from interested tenants. “In terms of market opportunities, a huge part of our current and future revenues depends on major global trends such as urbanisation, climate change and global warming," says Henderson.

If the construction of the Green Star-rated building requires demolition of an existing structure then it is required that everything in the existing structure must be reused or recycled in some way. “For example, all windows, doors and the like must be reused in a new building. In addition, the fabric of the building is crushed and must be used as fill on another site or as subgrade for a new road or paving project,” Henderson adds.

Moreover, local sourcing practices must come into play in order to reduce the carbon footprint of the new building. It is important to source materials from as close to the building site as possible – preferably less than 40km.

Furthermore, light in the building – energy, light power density and lighting zoning – for a Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA)-rated building it is important to have as much natural light as possible. Therefore, light shelves are made use of to allow the reflection of natural light as far and deep into the new building as possible. This is to reduce the amount of power consumed for artificial lighting. Equipment is installed which measures the amount of natural light coming into the building and if it is high enough, switches the artificial lights off. In addition to this, the building must have a motion detection system which will switch lights off when no one is occupying any particular space. “It has come to the point now where we do not install light switches in the building at all and motion detection is used exclusively to switch banks of lights off and on. Combined with this, the level of artificial light available in the building must not be too high, and nowadays we are not providing building occupants with the lux levels which we were utilising a few years ago,” says Henderson.

One of the major contributors to electricity cost today is the maximum demand which any building takes up on the electricity grid at any given time. The tariff increases as the maximum demand increases, so it is obviously beneficial to limit the maximum demand and thereby work on a lower tariff. Upper Grayston has an automated maximum demand-limiting functionality. Given that it is the AC system which utilises the most power, this system is tied into the AC equipment, and if electrical demand starts to exceed certain set limits then the AC system is shut down progressively in various stages without dramatically affecting the comfort of the occupants. As the maximum demand decreases below the set limits, then the AC progressively ramps up again.”

The green buildingÂ’s rainwater collection system collects rainwater that falls on the roof in tanks, which is then filtered, purified and used in the building as a first option. Only when there is no rainwater in the tanks does the Municipal system come on line. This water is metered so that a record can be kept of the saving of Municipal water.

According to the latest stats, if you're a consumer in a developing country, you are more likely to care about all things green than someone from the developed nations. A recent survey suggests that two-thirds of consumers globally will say they “feel a sense of responsibility to society” – 81% in emerging markets and 50% in developed markets.

“South Africans are interested in being green, and Bryprop looked at what behaviours people are adopting globally that have a positive impact on environmental sustainability, and one interesting point was that of cycling to work. To that end, our buildings have designated bicycle parking spaces (preferential to cars), and a shower with which to freshen up before beginning work. There are also cycle routes demarcated in the business park. We hope this trend grows exponentially in South Africa,” says Henderson.

All Bryprop buildings also have a forward-thinking approach to measure and monitor consumer progress towards environmentally sustainable consumption. At the reception of each building is a monitor whose key objective is a unique round-the-clock consumer-tracking survey. The aim of the screen is to provide regular quantitative measures of corporate behaviour and to promote sustainable consumption.

Block F, which is currently under construction, will also generate its own electrical power from photovoltaic cells housed on the roof. At least 5% of the power consumed by the building annually will be generated by the building itself.

“By tracking, reporting and promoting environmentally sustainable consumption and citizen behaviour, we believe it will inspire action and translate into changing the world we live in. Our plans for the future involve ensuring that our development focus is not only on GBCSA-rated buildings but to ensure that they are also commercially viable,” concludes Henderson.

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