Property fund commits to greening its portfolio

Property fund commits to greening its portfolio

Emira Property Fund receives a four star Green Star – Office v1.1 Design certification from the Green Building Council South Africa for its Knightsbridge development in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

SA Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), Emira Property Fund, has committed to sustainable development through greening its portfolio with the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).

The REIT has committed to pursuing Green Star ratings for all new developments. Emira has recognised the value in managing and operating buildings in a sustainable manner, so has also committed to pursuing Green Star existing building performance ratings for all new developments, commencing one year after the 70% occupation rate has been reached.

The triple certification for Knightsbridge, Emira’s flagship development in Bryanston, demonstrates the fund’s commitment to building green. Each of the three of the phase one buildings achieved four star Green Star – Office v1.1 Design Rating from the GBCSA.

Knightsbridge is developed around the idea of a central urban park where buildings are placed within a dense urban forest. Running tracks and outdoor relaxation spaces are provided in the forest which incorporates the 30-year old trees that were transplanted from the old property. Landscaping includes various sensory experiences with a wetland home to birds and frogs, a Zen garden, and a floral area to fill the air with fragrance.

Tenants are offered a new type of office lifestyle, with a centrally located restaurant with boardroom facilities, roof gardens and entertainment spaces. The development promotes sustainable transport and eco mobility by including a safe public transport stop near the main entrance, preferential parking for fuel efficient vehicles, and showers and locker facilities for those who cycle or run to work.

Emira development manager, Justin Bowen, says, “Knightsbridge is the new way of working, and we are committed to healthy buildings and a healthy environment because it is the right thing to do. We are encouraged by the uptake of tenants for the development. This reinforces our commitment to sustainable construction and operations.”

Manfred Braune, the GBCSA’s executive director: certifications says: “The GBCSA congratulates Emira on this triple achievement and for demonstrating their firm commitment to green building, both for new buildings and their buildings in operation.”

The buildings have a number of sustainability focused measures, which also protect the health and improve productivity of occupants. There is a heavy focus on the indoor environment and the buildings are characterised by high fresh air rates – well above SANS 10400:2011 regulations. Only low VOC finishes have been used, and high quality daylight levels and access to views to the outside enhance the indoor environment, which is beneficial to the health and wellbeing of building occupants.

Energy is reduced through a combination of natural and efficient mechanical basement ventilation, efficient light fittings and zones controlled by occupancy sensors, as well as efficient air conditioning systems that meet the thermal comfort needs of the South African climate with low energy consumption.

Water efficient flushing systems, taps and shower facilities, as well as rainwater harvesting contribute to the overall water resilience of the precinct: in fact the water tanks allow for two days of drinking water self-sufficiency. Demand for high quality potable water for irrigation is reduced through water wise plant selection, as well as the use of harvested rainwater.

Water and energy meters are installed and are connected to the precinct building management system (BMS). This allows the precinct and building managers to effectively monitor, trend and identify wasteful consumption during the operational phase of the buildings.

The construction materials were selected for their low carbon content: concrete with a high fly ash content and reinforcing steel with a high post-consumer recycled content have been used.