A B S A T O W E R s west
SA’s first 5-star
‘As Built’ green building Absa Towers West is the new Absa Headquarters and flagship building of the group. By Marie Toms
Absa Towers West FOCUS CONSTRUCTION
bsa Towers West (ATW) is a benchmark in green building. From the largest grey water system in South Africa to energy-efficient lighting alternatives, it has it all. Located in the Johannesburg CBD – you’ve probably seen it and thought, “wow” - ATW was the Green Building Council of South Africa’s (GBCSA) first ‘As Built’ 5-star Green Star building. GBCSA commended ATW, which officially opened in July last year and, says Absa, was built in line with “the SA Green codes”, for having attained “South African Excellence”. It is designed, the banking giant says, “to ensure a healthy and sustainable symbiosis between development and the environment”. Absa, which is South Africa’s biggest retail bank, described the investment as a demonstration of its “commitment to the City of Johannesburg and its renewal effort”. “Sustainable development is core to our One Africa strategy,” said Absa’s Head of Corporate Real Estate Services for Africa, Jon Couret, in a statement earlier this year. “Our investment in an eco-friendly building is a demonstration of our commitment to reduce the environmental impact of the built environment.” He added: “We are delighted that we’ve attained the most cherished ‘5-star rating’. This is a great accomplishment, not
only for Absa, but for the industry as well as this is the first ‘As Built’ five-star rating in South Africa. “Essentially, this award means that our efforts and commitment to sustainability have been recognised. As a responsible corporate citizen, we are committed to continuing with our initiatives in relation to sustainability. “We recognise that sustainable development presents us with an opportunity to achieve the delicate but essential balance between business objectives, social development activities and environmental responsibility,” Couret said. “Absa’s commitment to lowering its impact on the environment and fostering sustainable business practices is unwavering.” Key among the green building elements of ATW is the gas-powered energy centre, which has four gas engines and reduces ATW’s environmental impact. “Through the energy centre and other green elements, Absa will reduce its carbon dioxide emission by an estimated 19,000 tons a year,” Absa says. The building also boasts “the largest” grey water system in South Africa, which allows Absa to recycle between 11,000 and 13,000 litres a day. ATW also uses energy-efficient lighting alternatives through its digital addressable lighting interface system. All light fittings are equipped with motion sensors and www.southafricamag.com
Absa Towers West FOCUS CONSTRUCTION
daylight dimmers, and motion sensors have been installed in the ATW parkade to further minimise energy consumption. The environmental priorities of the building include the reduction of energy consumption, water consumption, material sources and carbon emissions, Absa says. GBCSA said the building takes “greening” plans to new levels. “The five star Green Star Office rating represents ‘South African Excellence’ and ATW joins the ranks of only a handful of projects that have qualified for this esteemed achievement. We applaud Absa Group’s commitment to sustainable development,” Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council of South Africa, said in a release, adding: “Buildings are one of the main contributors to climate change and this sector represents the single largest opportunity for greenhouse gas abatement. ATW is a very large building even in global terms and Absa can be justly proud of this very tangible demonstration of their commitment. “Quite apart from the minimisation of environmental impact, Absa can expect a positive return on this investment going forward - both in respect of lower operating costs (especially with regards to energy and water) as well as increased productivity by creating a healthier environment for their staff to work in. This is something that is particularly important.” 4
Absa can expect a positive return on this investment going forward
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ATW is a truly remarkable building and the accolades have flown in. In November 2011, Absa was honoured with the internationally acclaimed Green Excellence Award from global business market research firm Frost & Sullivan as part of the bank’s commitment to environmental sustainability through the energy centre. An in-house carbon footprint calculation, audited by Ernst & Young and PriceWaterhouse Coopers in February this year, indicated that electricity consumption contributed to over 90 percent of Absa’s Carbon Footprint in 2011. For the years 2010 to 2011, according to Absa, it has saved 56,000,000 kWh, enough electricity to power over 85,000 households each year. Absa has also done a lot to reduce its carbon footprint, which, it says, decreased by over 50,000 tons (12 percent) from 2010 to 2011. Absa proves that keeping a business as green as possible has benefits for the business as well as the environment. It is one of a growing number of companies that, in today’s business world, are more willing to make eco-friendly changes. END To learn more visit www.absa.co.za.
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