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GBCSA awards a 5 star Green Star SA Interiors rating to Simmonds Street Office

A look at the interior of Standard Bank’s recently re-furbished office in Simonds Street, Johannesburg.


The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) celebrated another milestone in the movement to a greener built environment with the recent Green Star SA Interiors certification of Standard Bank’s newly-refurbished 3 Simmonds Street office in Johannesburg.

Reinforcing Standard Bank’s green leadership, the first to seventh floor of the building located on Simmonds Street in the Joburg CBD has achieved a 5-Star Green Star SA Interiors rating. It is only the second interior project in the country to be rated using the Green Star SA Interiors Pilot rating tool, making it a landmark achievement for design and interior fit-out in South Africa.

And, hot on the heels of this landmark rating, Standard Bank Century City Branch, located inside Canal Walk Shopping Centre, has achieved a 4-Star Green Star SA Interiors v1 rating.

Says Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA: “Standard Bank was the main sponsor of the innovative Interiors rating tool, which will go a long way to assure people that they are working, shopping and living in healthy environments. They have also taken their commitment beyond this, and walked the talk, by using the tool on their very own offices. The overall aim of this new rating tool is to encourage the reduced environmental impact of interior projects.”

Wilkinson explains the tool gives recognition to the design of interior spaces that provide spatial efficiency, improves productivity and occupant performance. It looks at a whole range of important factors including the quality of internal air, lighting, temperatures, and visual comfort, acoustic quality, ergonomics, as well as energy monitoring and greenhouse gas emissions.

With a focus on educating staff and visitors about the sustainable initiatives that were implemented at Standard Bank, and to help staff use the building in a way that maximises its advantages, the building has its very own Occupants User Guide. The building now also features a ‘green owner’s commitment’, making energy, water and waste monitoring and reporting a priority. Visual displays of these results and consumption data recorded by water and energy meters are also displayed in the foyers and lifts of the refurbished building as a learning resource for building users to show them their environmental footprint.

Nathi Manzana, Standard Bank’s Head of Professional and Technical Services, comments: “As a proud sponsor of the Green Star SA Interiors Pilot Rating, it only made sense for us to apply this tool to our own building. We are committed to sustainable business and sustainable building practices. Not only are we supporting the environment but also providing a productive, comfortable space for people to do their jobs effectively, educating them on their environmental impact at the same time.”

In addition to energy and water sub-metering, other features of the refurb include occupancy sensors for all light fittings, daylight harvesting and dimming of fluorescents lights and an energy-efficient, water cooled chiller plant.

Underfloor air distribution via fan coil units has been put in place and a full economy cycle fresh air plant has also been provided. This has ensured that the quality of internal air provided is operating at a rate 33%, greater than the requirements of SANS 10400-O-2011. The building also makes use of Energy Star rated appliances and all printers and photocopy equipment are certified as having low emissions.

Low volatile organic compounds paint, adhesives, sealants and carpets were also used throughout to reduce the internal air pollutant levels, and innovation points were achieved for the reuse of an existing building as well as having an educated Green Star SA Accredited Professional (GSSA AP) design team.

The initiative has not only benefitted Standard Bank, its people and the building’s visitors, but had many other far-reaching positive impacts.

As part of the development, the project design team passed their GSSA AP exam and are now qualified Accredited Professionals either in the Green Star SA new building rating tool or Interiors rating tool.

Wilkinson believes that this proved an enormous benefit to the project and helped the project team integrate the Green Star SA Interiors tool aims and processes effectively.

Marloes Reinink founding member of Solid Green Consulting, the Green Building consultants for the projects, notes that Standard Bank made a real effort to green its building interiors.

“The requirements for the Green Star Interiors rating are stringent, especially for materials. They aren’t easy to achieve, but working with a client and professional team with experience in green buildings made the process easier. Standard Bank will reap all the good benefits of its new green interior, including a healthier workplace, as well as energy and water savings,” says Reinink.

Materials used within the fit-out were sourced locally whenever possible. To further reduce the environmental impact it was also a requirement for the majority of all furniture, assembles, flooring and wallcoverings within the refurbishment to either be reused, have a recycled content, have a certified label or alternatively, be designed for disassembly so that the item could be easily moved or reused at a later stage.

Reducing the building’s environmental footprint by keeping cars of the roads and cutting down harmful emissions, the Standard Bank building also provides easy access for staff and visitors to amenities in and around the Standard Bank complex. Public transport facilities are all located within 800 metres walking distance of the offices, ensuring both staff and visitors have access to alternative traveling options that result in better environmental outcomes across a variety of impact categories.

At the Standard Bank Century City branch, the bank has gone the extra mile by continuously displaying sustainability initiatives implemented in its fit-out as learning resources for users and visitors. The branch displays energy and water consumption data, as well as initiatives to encourage environmentally responsible steps, in its foyers. Recycling is encouraged through informative posters on designated bins to demonstrate waste types that can be recycle in the branch.

Besides its energy-efficient operation, low-emission equipment and low volatile organic compound materials, Standard Bank also undertook an ergonomic assessment of its office furniture and workstations and achieved innovation points for its Hazardous Materials Survey and Universal access.

“Green Star SA Interiors Rating tool gives businesses a competitive advantage. It identifies industry leaders who are willing to provide smart and healthy work, shopping and meeting places that stand out in the marketplace. It is not only a responsible investment, but serves to heighten a business’s appeal as an investment, a partner and an employer,” says Wilkinson.