SANRAL receives five stars for being environmentally conscious

Eastern Cape office lauded for responsible, innovative design for building that will be the hub for SANRAL in the province. 

The design of the building is centred around the efficient use of energy, with a reduction in the use of potable water and the use of acoustic treatment.

SANRAL Southern Region’s Eastern Cape office is the first commercial building to be awarded the coveted 5 Star Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) Design rating in the province and in Nelson Mandela Bay. 

The three-storey, modern-design structure needed to include quality finishes reflecting professionalism and a friendly atmosphere. The building is located next to the Baywest Mall, which is adjacent to the N2 freeway in Port Elizabeth. 

The greening of the building project started in August 2015 and was completed in December 2016. 

SANRAL CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma encouraged the team to expand the role they play in the green environment. 

“I love the building and I want to spend more time here,” said Macozoma when addressing Eastern Cape office staff, adding that an environment conducive to working well starts with the physical building. 

“I have spoken to many people and they are very proud of this building. I want you to entrench this office in this region. I want you to plan jointly with our stakeholders, to jointly prioritise projects and to work together to identify where we’re going to source funding from to implement projects of common interest. People will be able to see how SANRAL is relevant to their development.” 

Energy efficient and water wise  

The design of the building is centred around the efficient use of energy, with a reduction in the use of potable water and the use of acoustic treatment. It boasts an efficient heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system, as well as the use of low-embodied-energy materials. 

The building has a 90kWh peak roof-mounted solar photovoltaic system, rainwater harvesting system, highly insulated walls, roofing and flooring to maintain a comfortable internal temperature. 

Environmental considerations have been incorporated into the landscaping through irrigation-reducing technologies, such as automated seasonal adjustment, Rain Bird sensors, which automatically shut off the sprinkler system when it rains, soil moisture sensors, drip irrigation and mulching. 

Sound-absorbing materials have been installed to reduce and maintain appropriate internal noise levels. 

Marlize Nel-Verwey, Special Projects Manager who oversaw the design and construction of the building, said: “With our road network continuously expanding, a growing staff complement and the inclusion of SANRAL’s Technical Academy, we had to relocate to bigger premises. This was an opportunity for us to design a building that would be inclusive of creating connectivity, a positive work environment and a building that echoes our commitment to a green and sustainable economy.” 

Edward Brooks, director of Activate Architecture, said that each of the building’s facades is highly energy efficient. 

“Our brief was around SANRAL’s professionalism. SANRAL has a huge responsibility to deliver roads and infrastructure to the country and you need to come across as professionals. I think the building certainly delivers that. The multiple spaces are also designed to enhance team building and cohesion. There are multiple meeting spaces and impromptu spaces, encouraging staff to talk to their colleagues.”