City’s Manenberg Human Settlements Contact Office remains a sterling example of ‘green buildings’

The Manenberg Human Settlements Contact Office has been awarded a 4-Star Green Star SA rating – and is the first fully-constructed local municipal building in South Africa to achieve this rating.

From a construction point of view, local community members were trained and employed to construct some of the walls of the Contact Office using sandbags. The building also features street art from the community. Three local schools were involved in the creation of the artwork which is said to represent the core expressions of the youth in the area.

The materials used in the construction were chosen for their ecologically efficient properties. Flooring in the building sees a variety of finishes, including eco-friendly carpets, polished concrete and wood.

Water collected on the roof is used to flush toilets and fresh water is used only for drinking – the rest is treated and re-used. For example, the garden is irrigated with a drip irrigation system using recycled water from the on-site black-water treatment system.

Further sustainable initiatives include 30% – 40% of energy consumed by the building supplied by solar panels, while the amount of concrete used in the construction was reduced.

The Manenberg Human Settlements Contact Office project is but one of a number of initiatives aimed at environmental sustainability in the city.

“Last year, the City of Cape Town received the South African National Energy Association’s Energy Project Award. The City was described as demonstrating leadership, innovation and visionary qualities through its various campaigns and projects designed to ensure the responsible use of energy,” said Councillor Gqada.

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