The V&A Waterfront continues to live up to the ideals of World Environment Day by achieving a significant drop in carbon emissions over the past fiscal year, reducing its carbon footprint by a further 6 746.42 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions (mtCO2e) for the period 2011/2012 to 2012/2013.
In a conscious move towards sustainable business practices initiated in 2008, the company has seen a total reduction of 32 454.33 mtCO2e since 2009. For comparative purposes, a typical passenger vehicle emits about 5.1 mtCO2e per year. The total reduction in carbon dioxide from the V&A is equivalent to the emissions from 1,340 cars per year.
World Environment Day (WED), an initiative driven by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is held on 5 June annually and is celebrated to encourage positive action for the environment.
David Green, V&A Waterfront CEO said, “Sustainability is a delicate balancing act between the human need for natural resources and preserving the environment so that these needs can be met, not only today, but for generations to come. We recognise that sustainability is not just a trend, but a necessity.
“Although South Africa is the world’s 12th largest greenhouse gas emitter and Africa’s largest, we can reverse this statistic if we all assume a more active leadership role”.
Since its greater focus on sustainability, the V&A Waterfront has accumulated an impressive list of environmental accolades:
- November 2012: Eskom Eta Award in the Commercial Category.
- November 2012: Energy Efficiency Forum Award for Commercial Buildings.
- December 2012: V&A was upgraded to a gold level recipient of the Heritage Environmental Rating Programme, one of the world’s top eco-labelling and rating systems.
- February 2013: No. 1 Silo becomes the first commercial building in the Western Cape to be awarded a 6 star Green Star SA rating for Design by the Green Building Council of South Africa.
- July 2013: No. 2 Silo is the first residential building in the country to be awarded a 4 star Green Star SA rating under the Green Building Council of South Africa’s version 1 rating tool.
- September 2013: V&A picks up two Lilizela awards for leadership in sustainability.
The V&A’s decline in carbon emissions can be attributed to a wide range of Waterfront activities including streamlining business processes, development and implementation of various policies and procedures, tenant behavioural changes and various energy saving initiatives.
“Sustainability has benefits not only in reduced long term operating costs but in staff productivity that has been shown to increase by 20% due the healthy indoor environment created. This shows environmental and human responsibility,” said Green.
In 2010 the V&A Waterfront implemented a variety of energy efficiency projects including addressing the property’s power factor, the electricity tariff structures, lighting and temperature control – totalling an investment of R30 million.
The company has saved over R15 million on energy, water and waste costs since 2008 and had benefitted from significant resource usage savings:
· Energy: a saving of 19 216 345 kWh or 26% using 2008/2009 as the base year. There has been a cumulative saving of 44 631 349 kWh for the period April 2008 – March 2014
Water: savings of over R700 000 per annum, or enough water to fill 620 swimming pools.
Waste: reduction to landfill in excess of 46%, or 80 dump trucks not sent to the landfill.
Other initiatives to reduce their environmental footprint includes using low or no VOC paints, introducing cleaning products that are ISO 14001 approved, a greater focus on indigenous plants, education and training of staff and tenants and reducing the company’s vehicle fleet from 50 to 26 vehicles, thereby contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions.