The Millennia Park office building in Stellenbosch has been awarded a 5 Star Green Star SA Office v1 ‘Design’ certification by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) making it the first refurbished building in South Africa to receive an accolade of this nature.
A 29 year old structure, Millennia Park has been lauded as an architectural gem and previously played host to Gilbey Distillers and Vintners, the Peace Parks Foundation and the World Wide Fund for Nature. Over the years, time took its toll on the structure and a decision regarding its fate had to be made. Fortunately, investment giant Remgro was on the lookout for new premises and decided to take on the challenge of refurbishing the building.
According to the GBCSA, achieving a Green Star SA rating for a refurbishment project poses an entirely different set of challenges to that of a new building which can be designed to be ‘green’ from the start. Aware of these challenges, Remgro instructed TV3 Architects, Project Management firm Bornman & Associates and Quantity Surveyor De Leeuw Stellenbosch to compile a professional team capable of completing the refurbishment of the building on time, within budget and importantly, in an environmentally friendly fashion.
Additional consultants such as landscape architects, freshwater ecologists, environmental consultants, geo-hydrological consultants, acoustic consultants and an independent commissioning agent were also brought on board.
Chris Bornman, director of Bornman & Associates commented: “With a refurbishment project, you have to take what you have got and work with it. This forces you to be more creative and overcome inherent challenges.”
TV3 Architects director Edwin Swanepoel shared his thoughts on the project: “With a project of this nature, one would typically consider demolishing the existing building, digging a basement for parking and maximising the bulk and coverage to ensure maximum use of the site to ensure an acceptable yield for the developer. The Green Star SA initiatives encouraged us to change our perceptions and the outcome was very different to what would normally have been planned.”
One of the challenges Millennia Park posed was the low floor to ceiling height. In dealing with this, it was decided that ceiling space of 260mm would be left in the redesign and all the services would need to fit in this space. This aided the decision to use a chilled beam air conditioning system, rather than conventional air conditioning. The chilled beam system takes up less space, operates at lower costs, is quieter and significantly more energy efficient.
The chilled beam air conditioning system, coupled with other interventions including efficient lighting and solar water heating has resulted in a 30 percent drop in Milennia Park’s electricity usage. Over 96 percent of the original structure was retained and the park now houses approximately 120 Remgro staff members who moved in to the building in early May following the completion of the refurbishment in April.
GBCSA CEO Brian Wilkinson commented: “The GBCSA is proud to award a Green Star SA rating to a refurbished office building for the first time. We are pleased to see companies are giving new life to existing buildings in South Africa and are encouraged by the results of this project in improving the environment and combatting urban sprawl.”
Additional Millennia Park facts:
• Approximately 70 percent of all the steel used on site came from the original building.
• Over 80 percent of the waste generated during the project was diverted from landfill. A large proportion of the waste was re-used in the refurbishment process.
• The refurbished building is estimated to realise water savings of about 79 percent.
• The ecological diversity of the site has been improved by 420 percent thanks largely to the rehabilitation of the existing man-made wetland which had fallen into disrepair.