Shimwell Designs is privileged to work on the refurbishment project of the NUMSA building in the Johannesburg CBD. Their brief was to design and implement a variety of solutions to reduce the carbon footprint and to refurbish the long-term use of the building. Because the budget was set two years ago, feasible, sustainable solutions needed to be cost effective. NUMSA delegates, the mayoral representative from Johannesburg, the MEC and other guests had a tour of the facilities in the run up to the opening in July 2013.
Kate explained some of the features that are part of the low carbon, eco sensitive solutions to all who were there:
REUSE AND RECYCLE
- The façades have been kept intact to avoid additional concrete;
- Internal doors and partitioning were reused;
- Metal items were reclaimed and sold to offset expense;
- Two original lifts were reused with only the interior of the cars being refurbished;
- Old style plaster applications were reused, repaired and freshly painted;
- 80% of the original window frames were kept and refurbished;
- The Nexus carpets have 37% recycled material and are manufactured in South Africa;
- The rubber flooring in the Pause areas is 79% recycled car tyre and made in South Africa;
- Low COC paints were used on the walls.
- The building water supply is gravity fed from tanks mounted on the roof to supply water for two days in the event of a water cut;
- The WC’s and bathrooms are fitted with cobra demand taps, which prevent wastage as the tap automatically turns off if you are not pressing down on the top valve;
- Kwik hot under-counter and above-counter 5L geyser units at the point of use were utilised. No wait for the water to get hot eliminates wasting water and electricity;
- One geyser is used for the two showers;
- The lower balcony has a water tank that harvests rain water to supply the planters.
- Low-energy fluorescent lighting and LEDs that reduce power consumption are fitted throughout the building;
- The floors occupied by NUMSA are fitted with motion and ultra-sonic sensors, which switch lighting on and off in areas based on occupancy. Tesla Engineering showed that the savings would be 29,160KWh and have a rand savings of R33,534 per year;
- A central control system is installed with the ability to switch on lighting and air conditioning on all floors at preselected times. Due to limited bulk supply to the building the control system can switch non-essential loads to manage the maximum demand;
- Each floor is independently metered for on-going consumption management and landlord billing assistance;
- The choice of air conditioning was critical to manage costs and power consumption. Mitsubishi city multi VRF with inverter technology and McQuay units were employed. Inverters modulate the compressor speed and soft start features reduce the power consumption by 50%;
- The entire refrigerant is R410a, the most eco friendly “gas” world-wide, in keeping with Copenhagen & Montreal protocol to eliminate R22 refrigerants.
- Use of natural lighting.
Due to the building being so old, the costs were exorbitant for Eskom to increase the energy supply. Green Habitat provided a 30KWp solar panel solution to supply the majority of the power required. It has been synchronised with the municipal supply, reducing the usage and costs. The solar panels feed into a 30kw UPS that supplies the main functions of the building. It provides an uninterrupted power solution in the case of power cuts and eliminates the carbon footprint of a generator.
- We attempted to use South African products before importing as local products eliminates long distance transportation, which consumes more fossil fuels;
- The low maintenance finish will contribute to lowering the long term carbon loading of the building;
- The marmoran stone exterior finish is a product that will outlast paint and increase the time frame between re-application;
- Keeping within the original budget was another sustainable solution.
Other interesting features in the building included the open-plan philosophy for the office areas. The collaboration resulting from open-plan produces a better working environment. Flexible meeting rooms have been designed with slide-in wheeled desks, stackable chairs, a room divider, and multiple plug points.
The tenanted floors were designed to allow for flexibility for different sized offices that may be required and the office spaces have an industrial feel which is easy to modify for tenants.
The inner city vibe is evident throughout the building with the use of bright colours, the type of flooring, lighting, graffiti and a retro look. The view of the surrounding city adds to the atmosphere.
Sound acoustics have been engaged to reduce noise pollution. This was accomplished through open sections of ceiling to trap the sound, recycled rubber tyre flooring in the Pause Areas, carpets, and the fabric on the dividing screens.
Shimwell Designs have enjoyed working on this project and have been encouraged by the responses of the guests on the tour. The mayoral representative stated in her speech that she was impressed with the eco friendly components in the building, making special mention of the rain water harvesting and uninterrupted power due to the solar panel system. The MEC was also encouraged by the lowering of the carbon footprint, joking that who would have thought that a union would pave the way in “greening” their facility.
Categories : Eco Sensitive design, News