Park Lane receives five green stars

Vertical and horizontal fins minimises sunlight infiltration, reducing heat loading at 17 Park Lane, developed by Assetmatrix on behalf of Gutsche Investment and Management Company.

Green development should become the norm rather than the exception, says Vivienne Gutsche, managing director of Assetmatrix, which is committed to practising what it preaches by improving sustainability and green ratings on each build it is involved in.

The Green Building Council of South Africa has awarded a five-star Green Star rating to 17 Park Lane building at Century City, which was developed by Assetmatrix on behalf of Gutsche Investment and Management Company (GIMCO), a property investment company based in Port Elizabeth.

Phil Gutsche of GIMCO says the company wanted to further invest in the property portfolio already owned by GIMCO in Cape Town.

“At Park Lane, the Assetmatrix team assimilated what they had learned on their previous green development – also a GIMCO project – and have improved on systems to achieve an even better working environment as well as an ecologically sound building,” says Gutsche.

“From conception, the professional team designed Park Lane to be flexible in the way it is tenanted and also achieve a five-star green rating. As a result of this successful development, GIMCO is now considering further property development and investment in the Western Cape.”

“The professional team all had the same vision and worked together towards a common goal – to achieve an outstanding green rating – and as an added bonus this was done on time and within budget,” says Vivienne Gutsche.

According to the Terramanzi Group, the green building design consultants involved with the planning and later assessment of the building along with the submission to the GBCSA, the 61 weighted points achieved is an outstanding feat.

“The five-star Green Star requirements are stringent and include evaluation of the building as well as the future management and use of the building,” says Fabio Venturi of the Terramanzi Group.

Paul Truscott, the consulting architect at MLH Architects on 17 Park Lane, says several factors were taken into account in designing this building.

“Apart from adhering to GBCSA’s guidelines, we also had to bear in mind the Century City Property Owners Association guidelines for the Park Lane precinct, such as low mono-pitch roofs and small building forms. To meet these requirements and still use all the space available on the four erven, the “look” of smaller buildings was put in place, with glass “boxes” joining them to create the 3 629m² building,” says Truscott.

External vertical and horizontal sun control fins minimise sunlight infiltration and reduce heat loading inside the building. The building width has been optimised to maximise natural light penetration, so less artificial lighting is needed, which in turn reduces energy consumption.

The modern building management system monitors and controls energy consumption, and records the usage of all building services such as electricity, lighting, air-conditioning and airflow adjustments, water consumption, standby generator, and other electronic installations.

Cyclist facilities have been installed, from secure bicycle parking to showers and locker facilities. Dedicated bays for recharging electrical cars have been provided and the building is also situated to enable staff to make use of the comprehensive public transport system at Century City.

“This encourages people to think about using alternatives to their cars to get to work, or to use greener methods of transport,” says Truscott.

Water consumption has been addressed and kept to a minimum, with indigenous plants chosen for the communal garden. They will only need to be watered for the first year and will not need further watering after this. In the meantime, only non-potable water is used in the gardens, says Venturi.

Recycling of all waste has also been addressed with full recycling facilities in the basement.

“For a building like this to work and to keep the green rating viable the tenants need to buy into and be committed to the project,” says Vivienne Gutsche.

“To help them do so, Terramanzi Group have provided a building users’ guide, which explains in detail how the facility operates and how the various green initiatives are implemented – from energy usage and environmental strategies, heating and cooling in the building, transport, recycling, and so on. This will ensure that the tenants reap the rewards of working in a green environment in the future.”

The professional team at 17 Park Lane included: MLH Architects (architects), DSV Consulting (electrical engineers), Sutherland and Associates (fire engineers, lift specialists and mechanical engineers) De Leeuw (quantity surveyors), S&T Consulting Engineers (structural engineers), Terramanzi Group (green building design consultants), Tri-Star Building, Cape (main building contractor), Assetmatrix (project manager).

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