WWF-SA: 6 stars of sustainability

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By Ilana Koegelenberg

WWF South Africa’s newly refurbished building in the suburban hub of Braamfontein is the first retrofitted building in the country to receive a 6-Star Green Star SA rating with full marks in the ‘Water’ category.

The modest four-storey World Wildlife Fund (WWF) building includes a roof garden and sits on a tight 248m2 corner site in the Johannesburg CBD. It stands as a physical representation of the organisation’s values and attitude towards environmental responsibility and conservation of natural resources.

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This Johannesburg office sets a benchmark in sustainability and green building design. It showcases how innovative, practical, and sustainable solutions — combined with creative design flare and lower cost production practices — can be adapted to influence the environmental impacts of a retrofitted structure.

The project boasts several systems and strategies in its refurbishment, which resulted in an impressive environmentally innovative and intelligent structure achieving a top overall score of 76 points.

Consumptive use of non‐potable water through use as irrigation water is supplemented by a 10 000ℓ rainwater harvesting system.

Features include the reuse of 80% of the original building materials in the re-design as well as in natural ventilation, a closed water recycling system, light-sensitive blinds, various insulation solutions, and an indigenous rooftop garden with water-efficient plants that are watered by rainwater. In addition, the premises features state-of-the-art conferencing facilities, allowing the carbon footprint of the business to be reduced.

Construction started in 2012, with the building handed over to WWF at the end of January 2015 and the application for the Green Star rating submitted soon after.

SUSTAINABLE FEATURES

Sustainable building features of the WWF include the following:

Inside the new WWF-SA building. There is a great focus on saving water throughout the building. Potable water consumption is further reduced through the on‐site treatment of effluent. The outside area of the refurbished WWF-SA. COVER.jpgSmart metering has been installed throughout the building and connected to the building monitoring system.

SYSTEM DESCRIPTION

All sanitaryware installed within the building has been chosen to reduce water wastage. These include:

Hot water is supplied to the kitchenettes on the first and second floors, the shower WC on the ground floor, and the main roof kitchen only. No hot water is provided within the male and female toilet blocks. This minimises hot water consumption, reducing the amount of energy needed to heat domestic water.

Hot water is pre‐heated within a rooftop solar system and stored within an insulated 600kPA geyser located within the plumbing riser.

Potable water consumption is further reduced through the on‐site treatment of effluent. Treated water is then reused within the building to flush toilets and irrigate the roof garden. Following the collection and storage of effluent in three inter‐connected septic tanks, the Lilliput plant then treats the water in a four-stage anaerobic process, improving water quality to a level suitable for discharge into a stormwater or river system.

Smart metering has been installed throughout the building and connected to the building monitoring system. Inside the new WWF-SA building. Potable water consumption is further reduced through the on‐site treatment of effluent. The outside area of the refurbished WWF-SA. There is a great focus on saving water throughout the building.
Consumptive use of non‐potable water through use as irrigation water is supplemented by a 10 000ℓ rainwater harvesting system. Rainwater is collected from both the upper and lower roofs channelled to the basement, filtered, and then reused by pumping back up to the rooftop holding tank.

The automated drip irrigation system delivers optimal quantities of water to the indigenous plants within the rooftop flower boxes. The system includes a rain sensor to ensure overwatering does not occur, as well as minimise water consumption during rainy periods.

Source: www.gbcsa.org.za 

ABOUT THE WWF

The WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with almost six million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF South Africa (WWF-SA) is a national office that is part of the WWF network. They are a local NGO that, for more than 40 years, has worked towards the aim of inspiring all South Africans to live in harmony with nature, for the benefit of our country and the well-being of all our people.

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