In a first-ever achievement for a South African building, the V&A Waterfront’s No. 1 Silo has been awarded a 6 Star ‘As Built’ rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) for its impressive and environmentally-friendly construction.
The GBCSA rating follows the recent South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) Awards which ranked the No. 1 Silo as the best building in South Africa, and sister residential property No. 2 Silo as the greenest and best place to live.
The internationally-recognised rating is awarded to buildings which not only incorporate sustainable principles in their design but can also offer proof that these design principles work in practice, long after construction is complete. All design principles considered in the rating are subjected to rigorous testing, as was the case with the V&A’s No. 1 Silo.
“The V&A is committed to leadership in sustainability practices – this is an integral part of our operations and all development at the Waterfront. Our pragmatic role is commercial yet we are able to be slightly more experimental in our mission to adhere to green and sustainable practises. The GBCSA’s 6 Star ‘As Built’ rating, the first awarded to a South African building, shows that we have followed through on a sustainability promise made in the design phase,” said David Green, CEO V&A Waterfront.
Extensive commissioning was done on No. 1 Silo during the development and construction stage, all under the guidance of the Independent Commissioning Agent, to ensure that the building operates as designed and at optimum efficiency. This required a strong focus on training and raising general awareness amongst professionals and contractors involved.
“We are delighted that the No. 1 Silo has achieved our very first 6 Star Green Star ‘As Built’ rating,” said GBCSA CEO Brian Wilkinson, who described the V&A as “setting new benchmarks for [its] built environment peers”.
“The Silo building must be commended for its excellent design and integration of sustainability measures and the future plans for the Silo precinct are really exciting and we are proud to have rated the first 6 Star ‘As Built’ building for leading the charge. Undoubtedly Allan Gray and its staff, who now occupy the building, are already reaping the benefits of the green design and this certification confirms the project team’s status as green building leaders,” said Wilkinson.
Among No. 1 Silo’s most notable green features are the building’s high-performance, fully-glazed, double skin glass façade that ensures optimal use of natural lighting, and an advanced cooling system that uses cold Atlantic seawater to cool the building. Heat from the IT server room provides under floor heating in the reception area.
In an effort to reduce water wastage, No. 1 Silo was built with a grey water system designed to save potable water. Waste water from hand wash basins and showers is collected and treated within the grey water system, and reused for flushing water in the toilets. The building’s close geographical position to Cape Town’s MyCiti bus service and secure bike lock-up facility also means that No. 1 Silo promotes the use of sustainable public transport.
To test the implementation of some of No. 1 Silo’s sustainability features, the contracting team conducted an air tightness test, one of only a few ever conducted in South Africa, to ensure that uncontrolled air leakages were not happening. Finding the right ‘green materials’ was also a challenge and in the end, No. 1 Silo was built using sustainable timber, 60% less cement than a building of the same size built according to ‘business as usual’ practices, and more than 70% of all waste generated on-site was recycled.
“Based on my experience of working on 6 Star projects in Australia, I realised that we had the ingredients for something truly special on the No. 1 Silo project,” said Jaco Kemp, ARUP Sustainability & Green Consultant on the project.
“We had a client with a clear sustainability vision for the project, a willing design team with the technical know how to design innovative solutions, and a contractor that was fully committed to implement them. Through teamwork and a truly committed client and tenant, we created a legacy for Cape Town and South Africa that can truly be called world leadership in sustainable design,” stated Kemp.
No. 1 and No. 2 Silo buildings form part of the broader Silo Precinct development which includes the reimagining of the historical old Silo building by internationally renowned designer Thomas Heatherwick. When complete, it will house the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Arts Africa (MOCAA).
Other developments currently under construction at the V&A Waterfront include Ports Edge, the V&A Waterfront’s first-ever residential rental development and the refurbishment of the Watershed, comprising the old Red and Blue Sheds.