Recently, the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) hosted Roger Platt, the USA’s Green Building Council Senior Vice President of Global Policy & Law at Melrose Arch in Rosebank. Platt discussed the drivers behind the explosive global growth of green development. Positive as the green ‘boom’ has been, he says an interesting characteristic which he refers to as the ‘aspiration gap’ has manifested within this sector.
According to Platt, it has become apparent that a percentage of green buildings are not performing optimally despite their environmentally friendly design. He says this is due to the fact that these buildings owners don’t always fully understand how best to utilise and/ or operate them, hence they don’t fulfil their green potential.
Explains Platt: “The difference between aspiring to own a green building and actually operating one are two very different matters. We refer to this scenario as the aspiration gap. Simply put, green buildings need to be operated according to their design to function optimally. Furthermore, the people who occupy such buildings also need to behave in a manner which will facilitate, not impede a green building.”
Amdec Property Funds, the developers behind Melrose Arch, are fully aware of the importance of operating their buildings to get the most out of their design. The fact that Melrose Arch has been awarded a number of energy efficient awards over the years pays testament to Amdec’s efforts in this regard.
Amdec’s latest residential addition – ‘40 on Oak’ - is set to bolster Melrose Arch’s green credentials still further. 40 on Oak is the first multi-unit residential project to be certified under the GBCSA’s Green Star system. Launched in June 2011, it received a four star Green Star SA PILOT certification in October 2011 and is due to be completed in October 2012.
The GBCSA awards two ratings: a PILOT rating for the design and an ‘As Built’ rating which can only be awarded upon completion of construction and specified targets met. Construction of 40 on Oak is already well under way on a site adjacent to the Protea Group’s Fire & Ice Hotel. The building will stand five storeys high and will feature 59 units measuring between 95sqm’s and 860sqm’s each. Apartment types range from single bedrooms to luxurious penthouses which range in price from R3, 5 million to R25, 5 million.
40 on Oak is worth R400 million. Prior to the official launch, sales in excess of R200 million had already been achieved with the sale of two of 40 on Oak’s five penthouses contributing to this equation. 40 on Oak’s green features include, amongst others, natural ventilation, double glazing, centralised hot water generated by Melrose Arch’s piped gas system which services the entire precinct, LED lighting and environmentally friendly low volatile organic compound (VOC) paint. The fact that 40 on Oak is located within a pedestrian orientated node which features good access to public transport such as the Gautrain adds to its environmental friendliness.
40 on Oak is the third residential phase to be constructed at Melrose Arch. The first two residential phases comprise 113 luxury apartments worth over R333 million. These residential nodes form but part of Melrose Arch which offers a balanced, integrated mix of offices, shops, restaurants, hotels and various other lifestyle orientated amenities. And there is still much more development to come.
As Guy Gordon, General Manager of Melrose Arch put it Melrose Arch is a great example of a city within a city and every effort is being made to ‘future proof’ it. He adds that the GBCSA’s PILOT tool has done much to inform their 40 on Oak activities which will hopefully translate into a successful end product and an ‘As Built’ rating in 2012.