Pretoria gets SA's first 'green city'

For this reason Henk Boogertman, founder and director of one of the country's most successful architectural firms, Boogertman & Partners, will dedicate himself to developing the country's first green city development.

Boogertman was recently appointed the managing director of the Menlyn Maine City development team, which will be developing this massive Pretoria project over the next eight to 10 years at a cost of around R6bn.

The project will be constructed alongside the N1 freeway and adjoining the Menlyn Park business and retail node.

“We want not only to build individual green buildings, but an entire green city, where all the structures and the public space will be environmentally friendly and sustainable.”

For Boogertman, who has practised as an architect for the past 30 years, the new appointment is a gigantic leap that he regards as a once-off opportunity and challenge.

“To be involved in the vision, draft design and their execution is an opportunity afforded to few architects.”

He said Menlyn Maine in Pretoria will be somewhat comparable to Johannesburg’s Melrose Arch, only on a much larger scale and in a green format.

This development will be one of the world’s 18 green cities that form part of the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI). The CCI works together with governments and businesses across the globe and focuses largely on raising urban energy efficiency.
The aim of the development is to offer access to an urban environment that is specifically designed for prospective tenants who want to invest in a sustainable future, pursuing green building principles.

Boogertman said Menlyn Maine will have a total mixed-use space of 287 000m², which will later be expanded to around 307 000m². It will include 143 000m² of office space, 44 000 m² of retail space and 100 000m² of residential units and hotels.
He said the objective is for all the buildings to receive a rating from the Green Building Council of SA.

South Africa currently has two rating instruments - for offices and for retail. An instrument for multi-unit residential developments is busy taking shape.

He said the hope is for the Menlyn Maine residential to be rated in terms of the new residential instrument.

The development targets the high-income market in the LSM 10 category. The residential units will be relatively small - 30m² to 80m² - and luxurious.

Architects often consider mixed-use developments as new urbanisation, but Boogertman reckons they are in fact old urbanisation making a comeback. "There's nothing new under the sun."

Boogertman said that although it is 5% to 8% more expensive to construct green buildings than conventional buildings, in the long run the additional expense is recovered through savings in energy and maintenance costs.

“Green can be 30% to 40% more energy efficient than the average commercial building and have 33% less carbon emissions.”

This amounts to annual savings in operating costs of more than R100/m².
He said if the quality of environmental and energy management is taken into account, it's not such a big premium to pay. Against the background of the steep increase in electricity costs in South Africa green building is undoubtedly the route to follow.

The country’s corporate sector has welcomed green building principles with open arms. Nedbank already has three green-rated buildings to its credit, with the latest to be built in Menlyn Maine, the Nedbank Falcon building, which is designed to save 4.5 million litres of water a year.

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