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WSP sets a benchmark in sustainable building

WSP sets a benchmark in sustainable building

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff Africa, an engineering consultancy, achieved the first 4-Star Green Star rating in Namibia for the FNB Namibia Holdings’ @Parkside building – which is also well on track for its ‘As Built’ rating.

Located in Freedom Square, Windhoek, @Parkside is the first building to achieve a Green Star rating and with its innovative, environmentally-friendly design, and sustainable operational energy management – the building sets a benchmark for building sustainably in the country for the future.

Construction of the building started in August 2013 with the buildings practical completion achieved in October 2015. During this time, the building was awarded its 4-Star Green Star Office SA-Namibia ‘Design Rating’ from the Green Building Council of South Africa in 2014. Since completion and being fully operational, the project is aiming towards an ‘As Built Rating’ by demonstrating that the sustainability initiatives designed into the building are installed and operating to their full efficiency potential.

As market leading sustainability consultants, WSP’s GREEN by DESIGN team has been involved with this project from conceptualisation through every phase of design and construction, consulting with the project team on sustainability and Green Star requirements – and now reviewing the operations of the building for the ‘As Built’ rating submission.

Greg Rice, Sustainability Consultant, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, Building Services Africa, said, “There are a variety of innovative and sustainable factors evident in the morphology of the building that have all contributed to this building receiving its Green Star rating.”

“We are also confident that the building will receive it’s ‘As Built’ rating, as the initial energy modelling has already shown a 40% reduction in operational energy compared to a building constructed according to minimum building regulations. This saving amounts to an estimated 1 million kWh reduction per year in operational energy,” he added.

However, Rice admitted that this journey has not been without challenges: “Being the first Green Star rated building in Namibia, the principles of Green Star were new to the context and contractors. Added to this, working remotely across borders, and dealing with; obtaining work permits, paying import duties, delays at customs and, overall, keeping up to speed with the site activities more complex. While these were crucial challenges to the success of the project, overcoming them also offered an important knowledge sharing opportunity that was led by regular teleconferencing and various site visits during the construction phase. Each site visit also included an evaluation of Green Star requirements that assisted in growing the knowledge base of the heavy documentation process,” he said.

“Throughout this project we also placed significant focus on relaying the importance of future proofing the building, for instance, by installing and/or designing initiatives that are likely to account for unknown future energy, water, waste management, environmental and societal changes. Incorporating such initiatives ensures that the design and development of this building is innovatively smart, ergonomic and more sustainable – not only for today, but well into the future lifecycle of the building as well,” concluded Rice.

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