Sandton: the epicentre for green building in Africa

A view of Sandton Central and the landmark Sandton Gautrain Station in the Sandton CBD, which has become an epicentre for green building in Africa. The two buildings on the left of the photo are amongst more than 20 certified Green Star SA projects in Sandton by the Green Building Council South Africa.

Home to a burgeoning list of green buildings – including some of the largest and most cutting edge on the continent – Sandton Central and the broader Sandton node is an epicentre for green building in Africa.

Now Sandton Central’s landmark Sandton Convention Centre has been selected to host the Annual Green Building Convention for the first time, which will put the spotlight on Sandton and Gauteng as a hub of green building.

Elaine Jack, City Improvement District Manager of the Sandton Central Management District (SCMD), which manages the public urban spaces of SA’s cosmopolitan financial hub, comments: “With amongst the largest number of standing and under construction green buildings in Africa – many of which are ground-breaking sustainable developments – it is fitting that the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) has decided to move its Green Building Convention to Sandton.”

Jack adds: “Ever since it was launched eight years ago, it has been hosted in Cape Town, and this year for the first time the convention will be hosted in Sandton. It is South Africa’s flagship green building and sustainability event, and will put the spotlight on Sandton as a major centre of green building activity in Africa when it takes place in July”.

“The Sandton node is home to possibly the largest collection of green rated buildings of any CBD in Africa, with more than 20 certified projects by the GBCSA. In fact, the first ever Green Star SA rated building in the country to be officially certified by the GBCSA back in 2009 was Nedbank Phase II, the landmark head office building of Nedbank on the corner of Rivonia Road and Maude Street in the Sandton CBD.”

After being awarded a 4 Star Green Star SA Office Design V1 rating in 2009, Nedbank Phase II secured the 4 Star Green Star SA Office V1 ‘As Built’ certification in 2010. Some of the sustainable features of this pioneering green building include a rainwater harvesting system and blackwater treatment system, an energy-efficient lighting system as well as highly efficient water fixtures and fittings. The rainwater harvesting and blackwater treatment systems provide recycled water for all non-portable water uses such as irrigation, toilet flushing and for cooling towers, while the water efficient plumbing reduces outflows to the sewerage system by 50%.

There are several ground-breaking new office buildings under construction in Sandton Central that are green developments. This includes the multi-billion rand new Discovery head-office being developed by Growthpoint and Zenprop, and designed as a 5 Star Green Star SA building; Sasol’s new global headquarters, which opens later this year and is aiming for a 5 Star Green Star SA rating from the GBCSA; and, Alice Lane Phase III, the final development in Abland and Pivotal Property Fund’s massive Alice Lane development.

“The new Discovery and Sasol head office buildings are two of the largest green buildings developments in Africa. They are going to be cutting edge marvels of green building and sustainability when they are complete, and will add to Sandton’s ever-growing list of landmark green buildings,” says Jack.

She adds:“Besides being SA’s financial hub, what adds to Sandton Central’s appeal from a broader sustainability perspective, is that it is home to one of the main Gautrain stations. Many of the new green buildings to come up in Sandton are surrounding or in close proximity to the Sandton Gautrain Station”.

“Sustainable public transport and eco-mobility form a crucial part of Sandton’s future as a major hub. New and even existing buildings in Sandton that are targeting a green building certification, can benefit from the Gautrain and other eco-mobility projects, like the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System in the future, in terms of the sustainable public transport element of the GBCSA’s Green Star certification scheme.”