Emcon scores a world leading Green Six
Emcon Consulting Group occupies the “greenest” building in Namibia, after their office building in the heart of Klein Windhoek was recently awarded a coveted 6-Star Green Star SA (GSSA) Existing Building Performance (EBP) rating.
A 6-Star rating is the highest possible and is considered to signify “World Leadership”.
Green building is in its infancy in Namibia, with the recent establishment of the Green Building Council of Namibia (GBCNA). Globally, the World Green Building Council (GBC) has over 100 member countries, and the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) already has certified 160 green buildings in only 8 years. The trend in neighbouring South Africa is that the number of certified green buildings is doubling every year.
The GBCNA applies Green Star SA rating systems with support and permission of the GBCSA.
Emcon’s team of six Accredited Professionals achieved the top rating after a stringent 12-month performance period and after only a single submission, where two submissions are usually required.
Emcon occupied their office building four years ago, a former residential property in Klein Windhoek, after renovations that incorporated a number of sustainability measures.
“We are passionate about saving energy and have been designing energy efficient buildings for twenty years,” said Glenn Howard, Director at Emcon. “So the Green Star process has been an easy transition for us. We currently have six Green Star accredited professionals (APS) in our office, and our goal is that all of our design staff will be accredited.”
Derrick Langford, Director at Emcon responsible for the services design of the offices noted, “Our Company’s proactive approach to energy efficiency contributed significantly to the success of the 6-Star rating”.
The results speak for themselves, as the offices use 79% less energy than the average office building.
LED lighting was installed with task lighting where needed at work stations; and motion and daylight sensors control lighting throughout. The photovoltaic system generates up to 4.3kW, producing a third of the company’s energy requirement. The intention is to expand this capacity going forward when REFIT regulations and tariffs become available for feeding back into the Windhoek grid.
The efficient evaporative cooling air-conditioning system only contributes 10% to the energy cost compared with 60-70% typical of conventional office buildings. The system provides 100% fresh air to the building, thus providing healthy indoor air quality with no difference between the indoor and outdoor ambient CO2 levels.
Howard said, “We always believed that we had a comfortable, healthy working environment, but now we know for sure! Of course we’re reaping the benefits of far lower operating costs, but the real benefit comes from the morale and productivity boost from the certification process and the 6-Star result, which even surprised us!”
Emcon’s custom-developed building management system (BMS) monitors water and energy consumption at various locations in the building; and waste production is measured weekly.
“We get sms and email alarms if consumption is out of range, and can see in the morning if the water consumption the previous night was compromised,” Langford said.
From the BMS, Emcon noticed early on how much water was used for irrigation, and took a decision to implement xeriscaping by not irrigating at all and potentially losing any plants that couldn’t survive.
Furthermore, Howard, said this is something that Windhoek residents and businesses should emulate at this time of critical water shortage.