Tshedimosetso House scoops sustainability award

A nano-technology powered flat sheet of wall glass with an ability to generate electricity and the first solar face in Africa is one of the remarkable features which propelled Tshedimosetso House to take top honours at the 2014 Nedbank Capital Sustainable Business Awards.

Featuring the first solar façade in Africa, Tshedimosetso House was developed by Growthpoint Properties which then took the 2014 Nedbank Capital Sustainable Business Awards for Infrastructure and Renewable Energy.

The building was developed for the department of communications and has been awarded a 4-Star Green Star SA Office v1 Design rating. It is a six storey building located on the corner of Festival and Francis Baard Streets in Hatfield, Pretoria. Tshedimosetso House was earlier this year awarded the “Overall best innovation merit” at the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) International Property Convention & Exhibition awards.

Highlighting the features which make the building to be ranked high in green ratings, Growthpoint mentioned Tropiglass which is powered by nano technology to generate electricity.

Werner van Antwerpen, the head of Growthpoint’s Sustainability and Utilities division, said this building has also been fitted with an innovative patented nano-technology solution. “Tropiglass has the ability to generate electricity from a flat sheet of glass, while still maintaining its transparency. This glass has the potential to be a renewable energy source that can also reduce heat, infra-red and ultraviolet radiation from entering the building.”

He highlighted the fact that Tshedimosetso House features the first solar façade in Africa. The façade comprises of integrated photo-voltaic cells in the fenestration which generate power from the sun. Apart from generating power from the sun, the panels also provide shading and insulation to the interior of the building.

Tshedimosetso House also uses External Thermal Insulating Composite System (ETICS) technology which insulates the building from the outside. This means that the walls have higher heat storage ability. As the temperature changes, the walls are able to both release and absorb energy to regulate inside temperatures. This technology also protects the walls against constant climate change, which not only reduces degradation, but extends building life too.

Growthpoint noted that overall, great care has been taken to ensure every aspect of the daily running of Tshedimosetso House is environmentally friendly. Occupancy sensors automatically switch off lights in areas that are not in use and sub metering is used to monitor energy consumption throughout the building. Water collection tanks with a capacity of 36,600 litres were also installed for rainwater harvesting, as well as water efficient fittings and fixtures, including dual flush toilets and waterless urinals.

Water meters linked to the building’s management system provide the building manager with insight on water usage levels. The paints and adhesives used in the interior are specialised low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paints that emit lower vapours into the indoor air and the air quality is regulated by a complex mechanical system that is designed to ensure that carbon dioxide is monitored and controlled.

“It is especially important to pay attention to what may seem like the small details, it is sometimes the little things that could have the most impact on a truly sustainable development,” says van Antwerpen.

Growthpoint CEO Norbert Sasse said “We’re committed to green building and working hard to establish ourselves as a pronounced ‘green’ property owner, manager and developer. Winning this award for a second year in a row only proves that we are definitely on the right track.”

Antwerpen added that “The results of an eco-friendly building like this don’t just benefit the planet, but also the pockets of our clients and investors too. Based on the Green Star energy modelling guide and energy calculator, there is a reduction of 59% in annual building CO2 emissions. Based on a rate of R0.4145/kWh, the estimated saving is R830,000 annually.”


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