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New Discovery head office is certified green

The new Discovery global headquarters in Sandton Central has become the largest new build project to receive a five-star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA).



Developed in a joint venture by Growthpoint Properties Limited and Zenprop Property Holdings, the new 112 000m2 resource-efficient, cost-effective and environmentally-innovative Discovery head office is the largest single-phase commercial office development in Africa.

From its design to construction and operation, sustainable development has been a key priority for Discovery, Zenprop and Growthpoint.

Growthpoint Properties office division director, Rudolf Pienaar, says: “The new Discovery head office is now among the most environmentally sustainable and efficient buildings in SA. Green building plays a key role in providing spaces in which businesses can thrive.”

Zenprop Property Holdings chief executive, James Tannenberger, says: “This is a significant milestone for Zenprop, which has been involved with developing Green Star buildings since the commercial rating tool was first launched in SA in 2008. We are extremely satisfied with what the development team as a whole has been able to achieve on a project of this magnitude and profile.”

GBCSA executive director: certifications, Manfred Braune, says: “It is the largest new building certified as Green Star to date in SA. It’s a remarkable achievement, as a five-star Green Star rating for a building of this size would have been a challenge to achieve. The combination of low-tech and hi-tech is outstanding, ensuring the perfect marriage of load reduction through passive features with technology that ensures optimal efficiency.”

Aurecon is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the developers’ and Discovery’s green intent for the building. Their role has been to ensure it has been designed and constructed with the highest sustainability credentials to demonstrate leadership in the transformation of the South African real estate industry.

Features of the new building which have contributed to the rating include energy optimisation through the advanced design features of its envelope and building services. High-efficiency air conditioning that leverages an outside air economy cycle and indoor air CO2 monitoring. Added to this is low-energy lighting, occupant control and daylight optimisation, as well as the building’s standout high-performance double-glazed curtain wall.

The building is wrapped around a series of sunlit atria that plug into a central concourse. The design of the atria and skylights result in an abundance of natural light without compromising occupants’ comfort and energy performance. Grey and rainwater systems, efficient sanitary fittings, efficient irrigation system and water-wise landscaping contribute to the building’s optimal water performance.

Yovka Raytcheva-Schaap, the Aurecon associate for environmentally sustainable design consulting and project management for the project, says that, most notably, the Discovery building creates an environment that is centred on occupants’ health and well-being.

Raytcheva-Schaap says: “The design provides for an ample amount of fresh air, thermal comfort, daylight and connection to the exterior. A gym, a running track, yoga decks and multipurpose courts are set in the indigenously landscaped roof and encourage an active lifestyle, in line with the Discovery Vitality ethos.”

Aurecon’s Martin Smith says the expansive ground floor of the building accommodates Discovery’s retail partners, client services, walk-in centre, staff restaurants and coffee shops, offering an energising experience to visitors and staff.

Smith says: “Upper floor plates, designed for activity-based working, enhance staff collaboration, enjoyment and business efficiency.”

Located on the corner of Rivonia Road and Katherine Street, diagonally opposite Sandton City and one block from the Sandton Gautrain Station, the building comprises three linked office towers which consist of a ground floor, eight office floors and a roof level, which holds Discovery’s sports facilities. It will also offer nine basements with over 5 000 parking bays.

Discovery is expected to take occupation of the property towards the end of this year.


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