First National government building in South Africa to receive a green rating

The Agrivaal National Department of Public Works building has been awarded a 4 Star Green Star SA – Office v1 Design Rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA). This is a notable milestone for the country, being the first National Government building to be certified – underlining the Governments’ commitment to following a lower carbon-path, through the built environment.

Other Government buildings that hold Green Star SA ratings
The Agrivaal building joins the Corporate Head Office for the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL), which was awarded a 4-Star Green Star SA – Office Design v1 rating; the new Sisonke District Offices in Ixopo in KwaZulu Natal which achieved a 5-Star Green Star SA office design v1 rating; the City of Cape Towns’ new Electricity Services Head Office, which has achieved a 4 Star Green Star SA – Office v1 Design Rating as well as the Human Settlements Contact Centre in Manenberg, Cape Town, which also achieved a 4-Star Green Star SA Office Design Rating v1 certification from the GBCSA.

Best practice in green building
“A 4-Star rating is defined as “Best Practice” in the Green Star SA rating system and we are very proud that the Green Star SA rating system has been recognised and gazetted by the department of Public Works as best practice,” says Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA.

Categories within the Green Star SA rating system
Green Star SA rates buildings on nine categories. These are: Indoor Environmental Quality, Energy, Water, Materials, Emissions, Management, Transport, Land use and Ecology and the ninth category is Innovation. The 27 000sqm Agrivaal office building is a refurbishment of old government buildings – all of which were demolished with the exception of the façade of the 1938 southern office building which was retained and restored as part of the new building. Located in Schoeman Street in Pretoria, the building scored highest in the ‘Water’ category followed by the ‘Management’ category.

Water and Management rated tops
Measures taken within the Water category include the installation of efficient water fixtures in the building, and the use of the Pontos Grey Water treatment system. The grey water is collected from all gym showers and basins and used for the flushing of all toilets and urinals as well as for irrigation. The grey water system is also used to filter collected rainwater which is stored in the same tank as the treated grey water. Water meters have been installed and an air cooled chiller system, with isolation valves on each floor, is also in place.

To address the Management category, comprehensive training of building management staff and the provision of a design intent report for all building systems was implemented. A comprehensive Building Users’ Guide has also been compiled for the building owner. In addition to this, building tuning is being implemented for a full year, which will include monthly monitoring, quarterly reporting and a full re-commissioning at the end of the period.

Measures taken to score under the other seven categories include carbon dioxide monitors, energy meters, motion sensors, the use of low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) paints, carpets and sealants, the use of chillers during unoccupied hours to produce ice which is then used during the day to cool occupied areas, the reduction of cement by substituting with Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag (GGBS), and the planting of indigenous and xeriscape vegetation.
Green Building gaining traction in SA

“As the largest owner and operator of property, the Government is playing an influential leadership role in accelerating sustainability in the built environment. The Agrivaal building is the GBCSA’s 28th Certification and National Government has now joined a select group of leaders who are exhibiting their commitment to environmental sustainability through building design,” concludes Wilkinson.

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