While the demand for new green buildings continues to grow in SA, the vast majority of existing structures are of older designs, which has seen retrofitting become a trend.
Global engineering services company WSP implements green-building measures to ensure economical and sustainable operations. ‘The most important consideration for developers, and businesses who own and occupy their buildings, is to aspire to incorporate climate-responsive design into maintenance and refurbishments,’ says Alison Groves, regional director: WSP, Building Services, Africa.
‘There is a strong business case for implementing “green building” interventions aimed at ensuring that the building operates in an economically and socially sustainable manner, and improving the liveability of the space and, thereby, the desirability for future tenants. For example, if specified and installed correctly, systems and structures can produce a sustainable return on investment that may amount to between 20% and 70% of energy and gain revenue through this investment,’ she says.
The company’s certified green space in Africa has, to date, grown to 1 063 000 m², having been involved in more than 50 Green Star rating certifications for more than 33 buildings throughout SA and the rest of the continent.
One of WSP’s latest endeavours is the redevelopment of the Absa Towers in the Johannesburg CBD. Work on the R400 million project has already begun, and involves replacing the existing facade, extending floorplates and retrofitting the new structure with Bon-Dek slab.