Gugulethu retail centre setting ‘green’ pace for South Africa
GUGULETHU Square, the R350 million retail development due to open in Gugulethu in November, may help shape the rating tool to be applied to shopping centres by the Green Building Council of South Africa.
South Africa has adapted the Australian Green Star rating system to assess buildings for their energy and resource efficiency and environmental friendliness, says Mzoli Ngcawuzele, spokesman for the developers, Mzoli Properties.
It is part of a consortium comprising the IDEAS Fund, a partnership product between Old Mutual and Unity (a consortium of trade unions), Group Five and Khula Finance.
Ngcawuzele says energy-saving alternatives applied to Gugulethu Square include an energy-efficient water-cooled air-conditioning system, a rainwater system, intelligent lighting and tilt-up concrete façade construction requiring no external painting and less transport than usual construction methods.
Other measures were the use of on-site material for backfilling, reuse of 4 000m brick paving from the site on which the centre has been developed, salvaging of demolished material for community use, and the introduction of operational waste management systems.
“The former Eyona Centre on which Gugulethu Square has been developed was not demolished conventionally,” he says. “It was dismantled at a higher cost s o t hat materials and components from this building, with a value of R300 000, could be donated to and recycled by the immediate community.
“Apart from salvaging brick paving from Eyona, demolished concrete was set aside for re-use under roads and for some concrete work. Recycling crushed concrete into bricks specified for the project also meant reduced waste to landfill and fewer new materials.”
Ngcawuzele says the use of a concrete additive as a waterproofing agent eliminated the additional application of bitumen, acrylic or epoxy coatings, a layer of screed with either paving or tarmac. This meant fewer trades and materials and also reduced future costs of maintenance and replacement of material. He says the water-cooled air-conditioning system cost 21 percent more than an air-cooled system, but its energy consumption was 30 percent less.
Better working and shopping conditions would be produced by an air-conditioning monitoring system which converts to an economy cycle wh e n e x t e r n a l c o n d i t i o n s a r e favourable.
“This will mean more fresh air circulating around the building, a clearing of carbon dioxide build-up after hours, and a reduction in thermal build-up,” says Ngcawuzele. “Reduced energy consumption and air conditioning requirements will flow from the use of efficient light fittings to curb heat loads and sensors controlling light activation.
“Gugulethu Square will also supply all irrigation for its landscaping from its own rainwater and grey water tanks.
“It is also aiming to reduce the amount of waste transported to landfill sites through waste separation by retail tenants and collection of recyclable material by service providers.”
Ng c aw u z e l e s ay s Gu g u l e t h u Square’s offering as a major retail centre will mean less transport and time spent on shopping by residents.
“Also, since the centre accommodates most of its parking requirements on the main roof, less valuable land at g round level is dedicated to parking. Direct contact between the street and the centre will encourage foot traffic and make for a safer environment.
“The introduction of bicycle racks and facilities for people working at Gugulethu Square is intended to reduce vehicle trips, make it economical for them to commute and give them a healthy alternative,” says Ngcawuzele.