TELECOMMUNICATIONS OPERATOR, VODACOM, CONSTRUCTS GREENEST BUILDING IN AFRICA
In January, Vodacom unveiled the completed Vodafone Site Solutions Innovation Centre (SSIC), the first ever 6-star Green Star SA rated building in South Africa, at its head office in Midrand. The Green Building Council of South Africa rating validates the centre as the greenest building in Africa.
Vodacom CEO, Pieter Uys highlighted the opportunity for companies to use their own sector technology and expertise to find solutions to meet critical social, environmental and governance challenges.
The Centre is a carbon neutral building that will house a team of 12 experts who will look at technological ways to reduce the company’s carbon footprint across the globe as well as reduce the cost of rolling out and maintaining cellular networks
The concept started with an idea to create a centre to speed up the development of Vodafone’s sustainability goals to meet the group’s target of reducing global CO2 emissions by 50% by 2020, and to achieve a 20% carbon intensity reduction target for emerging markets by March 2015.
Vodafone chose to create this Innovation Centre in South Africa because it is, in many respects, both an emerging and developed economy. This particular location would help the group achieve its targets in a more consolidated and focused manner.
“Our objectives really address two core strategic deliverables; one being our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and the other to reduce operational costs while increasing enterprise value across the company. We firmly believe that the Vodafone Site Solutions Innovation Centre will drive the delivery of these objectives, not only for Vodacom in South Africa, but also for the broader global group,” says Uys.
Grosskopff Lombart Huyberechts & Associates (GLH) Architects is the architectural design firm responsible for the centres design. Xavier Huyberechts and Naina Jivan were the two architects responsible for the design.
“The SSIC is a sustainable-living building envisaged as a functioning showcase for innovative techniques and design for construction, electrical, mechanical, and wet services,” says Huyberechts. The building is the international hub for developing innovation, monitoring and experimentation within the Vodafone Group worldwide. The aesthetic principle was to create a harmonious and seamless integration between the physical building and the surrounding landscape. “The brief required a building with an architectural expression responsive to the South African context, while manifesting the building’s function as a highly technical innovation centre for the telecommunications giant,” he says.
What makes this building so environmentally ahead of the curve are the following elements:
Recycling: Wherever possible, demolition material from the site has been reused or recycled.
Structure of building: The project reduced the amount of concrete used in the foundations and sub structure by 34%.
Energy efficiency: Usage of the Solyndra photovoltaic panels reduced the wind load, absolute weight and ultimately the total amount of wood and structural material required for the roof.
Water efficiency: Efficient water fixtures and fittings have been installed resulting in significant savings in water consumption.
Indoor environmental quality: The mechanical air conditioning, heating and ventilation system is designed to deliver 2 500 litres/second of fresh air to the office during normal operations, and 1 250 litres/second of fresh air in heating mode.
Emissions: The chiller uses Lithium Bromide as the refrigerant which has both a zero Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) and a zero Greenhouse Warming Potential. All thermal insulants have an Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) of zero.