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The grass is always greener on Growthpoint's side

5th November 2014
Contributor: Growthpoint Properties

Acknowledged for dedication to sustainable development, Growthpoint Properties took home the award in the Infrastructure and Renewable Energy category for its Tshedimosetso House project at the 2014 Nedbank Capital Sustainable Business Awards for Infrastructure and Renewable Energy.

A six storey building, Tshedimosetso House is located on the corner of Festival and Francis Baard Streets in Hatfield, Pretoria. The building - designed for the Department of Communications (DOC) – is an innovative 4-Star Green Star SA Office v1 Design rated building.

Norbert Sasse, CEO of Growthpoint Properties, comments: "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."

Growthpoint is at the forefront of the green building movement in South Africa. Beyond being part of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) since it was established, Growthpoint is one of the select members of the council's Green Building Leader Network – an elite network of members committed to supporting green building. Growthpoint leads the way in green rated buildings in the SA REIT sector with seven GBCSA Green Star SA rated buildings and 10 registered projects for the Existing Building Performance GBCSA Green Star SA rating.

Werner van Antwerpen, who heads up Growthpoint's Sustainability and Utilities division, explains: "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."

One of the building's most innovative green features is the installation of 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.

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," van Antwerpen explains.

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 sometimes the little things that could have the most impact on a truly sustainable development," says van Antwerpen.

Growthpoint Properties Limited is a leading South African REIT and a JSE ALSI Top 40 Index company. It owns and manages a diversified portfolio of 434 directly owned properties in South Africa, 51 properties in Australia through its investment in GOZ, and a 50% interest in the properties at V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. It also has investments in the REITs Acucap Properties (34.7%) and Sycom (15%). Growthpoint's consolidated property assets are valued at R76,2 billion.

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