Green the biggest trend in new buildings

The global trend towards ‘green buildings’ has taken hold in South Africa as property developers demand improved energy efficiency and enhanced comfort for building occupants.

“This is by far the strongest demand we see when preparing proposals for new buildings. And it is across the board – shopping malls, data centres, office blocks and accommodation establishments like hotels,” says Stefan Sander, CEO of Two Oceans Air Conditioning (TOAC).

“This requires our company, and the industry in general, to continuously innovate and find new solutions to drive efficiency. However, ‘greening’ a building does not only consider the possible energy savings. It relates to all aspects of facilities management – energy, water use, materials used, design and construction. We work closely with all different contributors to projects to collectively deliver on more efficient projects,” Sander says.

Heating and cooling are a big expense for businesses and can account for as much as 40% of the electricity buildings consume. “Smart controls, new designs of equipment to reduce energy consumption, automation and improved monitoring of all data related to building management – humidity, occupancy and temperature – all contribute to improved efficiency,” Sander added.

A recent report of The Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA) noted that the SA body is now recognized as the fastest-growing member of the World Green Building Council. The report further stated that the 400th green building certification has been awarded in SA; a significant milestone for the local property industry.

“What is also encouraging, is that there is growing awareness around green buildings in the public sector and the GBCSA has done great work to drive skills development in this sector,” Sander says.

TOAC’s largest green building projects include the Aurecon Head office, Chevron Head office, Sanlam’s Glacier Place, Century City Urban Square, ABSA Bridge park and Sable Park amongst other, all in the Western Cape.

What makes these projects green:

  • Heat reclaim through the desuperheater circuit of the chilled water system (often transferred to partially heat domestic hot water storage tanks)
  • 4-pipe, chilled water and hot water reticulation systems to reduce electrical resistance heating
  • Heat recovery wheel configurations within air handling units to reclaim energy from the return air path
  • Variable air volume (VAV) electronic diffuser control
  • Occupancy sensing on electronic diffusers
  • Variable speed, Carbon Monoxide (CO) control for parking ventilation systems
  • Carbon Dioxide Monitoring within occupied spaces, which regulates the volume of fresh air (outside air) intake by the system
  • Building pressure testing to reduce air leakage
  • Duct pressure testing to reduce air leakage

ISSUED BY: Two Oceans Air Conditioning