Portside building set to become SA’s first Green Skyscraper

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Aerial view of Portside building in Cape Town Construction Progress. A joint initiative between Old Mutual and FirstRand Bank. Aerial view of Portside building in Cape Town Construction Progress. A joint initiative between Old Mutual and FirstRand Bank.

The R1.6 billion Portside development project in Cape Town, is a joint venture between Old Mutual and FirstRand Bank set to become South Africa’s first green tall building.

At the forefront of innovation and sustainable design, Cape Town’s new Portside building is well on schedule to become South Africa’s (and perhaps even the African continent’s) first green tall building.

As the construction of this 32-floor building climbs above the city’s existing high-rises, green building principles are being incorporated at every level.

“Work began in August 2011, with the City of Cape Town proactively supporting the project by adopting a phased approval process in an attempt to facilitate the rapid development of the site,” explains Brent Wiltshire, Property Development Executive, Old Mutual Property. “I’m very pleased to report that we now have all the final approvals in place, so it is ‘full steam ahead’ and we are on schedule for completion of the building in March 2014.

“A building of this scale has far-reaching impacts on both employment creation and the ongoing revival and growth of Cape Town’s CBD. Not only will Portside be Cape Town’s tallest building, but we have incorporated environmental considerations in the design, construction and future management of the building. Our aim is to achieve a Green Star SA Office rating for both the design and construction (‘As Built’ Rating) of the building, confirming Portside as one of the most sustainable buildings in South Africa, and certainly the first high-rise to achieve this accolade.”

Half of the 50 000m2 building is set to house some 2 000 employees across First Rand, FNB, RMB and Wesbank’s provincial headquarters. The remaining 25 000m2 of AAA premium-grade office space will be available for leasing through Old Mutual Property. “This will be our home in the Western Cape, and we are very excited about the growth in the city of Cape Town, and the opportunity to be part of a project that will form the cornerstone of the new financial district,” say Stephan Claassen, provincial head of FNB.

The Green Star SA rating system incorporates measurable environmental initiatives such as management, indoor environmental quality, energy, transport, water, materials, land use and ecology, and emissions.  In conjunction with the architects, DHK and Louis Karol Architects, the developers have ensured that Portside sets the benchmark in creating an exceptionally healthy working environment, while implementing sustainable principles from construction through to property management.

An environmental management plan (EMP) covering all construction activities has been devised for the project.  This includes a waste management plan that ensures 70% of all construction waste is either reused or recycled. In addition, the façade of the building is designed to be disassembled and re-erected on another site should Portside ever be altered in the future.  

Both Claassen and Wiltshire confirmed: “It is very important to both FirstRand and Old Mutual to invest in green project, both for the city and environment, and in order to create a green working environment for our staff and tenants.” Building and creating a healthier work environment for Portside’s future tenants will include providing 150% more fresh air than stipulated standards and maximising the views will provide both natural day lighting and a more stimulating, appealing work environment (all office space, housed from the 10th floor upwards, has uninterrupted views).

In addition, Portside will provide secure racks for around 260 bicycles, as well as shower and locker facilities. Various studies have shown that green building can lead to reduced sick leave and increased productivity, while also making it easier to recruit and retain employees – all of which can impact positively on a business’ bottom line.

In addition, tenants can expect to pay 30% less for electricity than a “normal” building, as green energy innovations include greater use of natural light and a lighting system that incorporates light and movement sensors. Grey water will be captured and filtered from showers and hand basins and, along with harvested rainwater, used in the toilets. All of these combined green design features of Portside will make it one of the cleanest, healthiest urban working environments in Cape Town.

Read more on:

Cape Town  |  Property Developments in South Africa  |  Old Mutual Property  |  Portside  |  FirstRand Bank Ltd  |  Cape Town Property Developments
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