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GBCSA awards V&A Waterfront’s Victoria Wharf with 5 Star rating

V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront’s far reaching waste management and recycling practices has earned the property a prestigious Green Buildings Council of SA (GBCSA) 5 Star Green Star Existing Building Performance v1 certification (EBP v1) for the popular Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre – the highest rating for any existing shopping centre in South Africa.

The Shopping Centre, situated in the heart of the V&A Waterfront, attracts almost 24 million visitors per annum, making it the country’s most visited destination. The Shopping Centre previously achieved a 4 Star Existing Building award in 2015. To retain the new 5 Star rating, it will have to show that its operations and maintenance consistently achieve the same high standard over a three-year period.

Existing buildings are rated according to an Existing Building Performance (EBP) measurement tool. The environmental categories used by the GBCSA to assess existing buildings and new buildings are the same, but the focus for an existing building is on ensuring that its ongoing operations and management are efficient. The EBP tool is therefore only available as an as-built rating.

The Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre was first constructed in 1992, and has since been extended several times to 88,647 m2. Improving the rating required significant effort from the Waterfront’s operations team and the tenants. The Victoria Wharf complex houses over 450 retail outlets and over 80 eateries, has five undercover parking garages and four open parking areas.

Items such as energy and water monitoring, and management policies and plans are required in order to achieve the 5 Star rating. The EBP measurement tool also addresses the relationship between landlord and tenants, setting up a win-win situation with the Green Lease toolkit.

According to Petro Myburgh, Operations Manager at the V&A Waterfront, “We have done a lot to decrease our water consumption since our 2015 4 Star rating. We have further improved our waste management systems and implemented a Wildlife Management Programme. With the 4 Star rating we committed to implementing the Green Lease toolkit and we now have just below a quarter of our tenants signed. This is quite an achievement given the size and complexity of the area.”

The categories according to which the Victoria Wharf was rated are management, indoor environmental quality, energy, transport, water, materials, land use and ecology, emissions and innovations. Stand-out sustainable building features noted by the GBCSA include:

  • Excellent recycling initiatives, incentives for tenants to recycle and an on-site waste handling facility
  • Skylights throughout the Wharf provide a large amount of natural light, saving on energy
  • Energy efficient LED lighting has been installed throughout the common areas
  • The building has access to public transport facilities, most notably the MyCiti bus system
  • The V&A property has cycle facilities, including dedicated lanes and bicycle storage right next to buildings
  • The V&A uses paints, flooring, adhesives and sealants without toxic emissions. Tenants are encouraged to do the same
  • All taps and toilets are water efficient, while the roll-out of hand sanitiser also assists with water saving
  • ‘Green Cleaning’ practices are applied in the building
  • Construction materials with a low environmental impact receive preference
  • There is an operational drive to eliminate single-use plastics from the Shopping Centre

While incentivising tenants to recycle, the V&A Waterfront also ensures the property keeps pace with global plastic recycling best practice.

Since January 2018 the Waste Recovery and Recycling Centre has sorted waste from 384 daily collection points (including wet waste) on-site, essentially clearing 550 bins twice a day.

To date, the Waste Recovery and Recycling Centre’s successes include:

  • Between 1 January 2018 and 31 May 2019, the V&A Waterfront diverted 3,200 tonnes of created on the property from going to landfill.
  • Created an additional 44 direct jobs related to waste management (the total number is now 86).
  • Created a training facility.
  • Introduced tenant education programmes.

The future focus for waste and recycling initiatives at the V&A Waterfront includes an ‘intensified separation at source’ campaign to further improve organic waste diversion and investigating further on-site solutions towards zero waste to landfill in the future.

In addition to the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre’s 5-Star rating, the V&A Waterfront has amassed a total of 12 GBCSA awards, making it one of the greenest precincts. The V&A Waterfront has also recently retained its Platinum Status through the Heritage Environmental Rating Programme.