Solid Green's office in Rosebank, Johannesburg, has been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification for commercial interiors. The project received six-star Green Star SA Interiors v1 certification earlier this year, and won the Highest Rated Building category at the Green Star SA Leadership Awards in July.
The LEED rating system, developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance – with projects in all 50 states in the United States and more than 161 countries and territories worldwide.
The Solid Green Office refurbishment was primarily aimed at improving the indoor environmental quality for employees. This was achieved by implementing both Green Star SA and LEED interior principles.
With more than 10 years’ experience in the sustainable consulting industry for the built environment, Marloes Reinink, founder and director of Solid Green, commented, “We obviously wanted to create a space which is energy and water efficient, but more importantly, a space where our staff can thrive and enjoy what they are doing. Our offices are filled with natural daylight and natural ventilation, and incorporate elements of biophilic design, all critical elements to a healthy indoor environment.”
“The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy, and threats to human health,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of the USGBC. “The work of innovative building projects such as the Solid Green Office is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement.”
Located on the second floor of an existing mixed-use commercial building on Tyrwhitt Avenue, Solid Green’s 180m2
premises have been designed to accommodate fifteen employees in a 120m2
double-volume studio space, with an additional interlinked 60m2
workspace and boardroom at mezzanine level, and an outdoor terrace which is used as a chill-out and entertainment zone.
As the offices are centrally located in Rosebank, Solid Green’s employees have easy access to public transport within easy walking distance, including the Gautrain Rosebank Station, taxi rank and bus station. In addition, the company’s senior management have ensured that alternative transport modes are also available during office hours. These include an electric car and electric bicycles with charging facilities; car-sharing; and cyclist facilities with a shower.
For maximum energy efficiency, radiant cooling and energy efficient equipment have been specified (laptops and printers are Energy Star rated). All light fittings are energy efficient LEDs with occupancy sensors. And a 1.8kW thinfilm solar PV system has been added to the roof which takes the office to net zero energy on an annual basis. Water saving fittings have been installed; and rainwater tanks are planned, as well as rainwater harvesting for irrigation of the exterior vegetable garden.
Full-height windows and glass sliding doors at both entrance and mezzanine level, together with strategically placed opening window sections, mean that natural lighting and ventilation are optimised. Indoor environmental quality is further enhanced with indoor planting – a green wall leads from the entrance into the main workspace; and plants are located through the open plan work areas.
Reduced exposure to pollutants
Materials and finishes have been carefully selected for improved thermal and acoustic comfort, and to reduce occupants’ exposure to pollutants. All office furniture is reused or refurbished, with the exception of a few new ergonomic office chairs. Anglo American donated 20 desks following their own refurbishment; the boardroom tables were bought at an auction; and the boardroom chairs from antique stores. Feature seating (foops) in the meeting nook was made from recycled two-litre plastic bottles and recycled partitioning material; while a loveseat bean bag was made from upcycled T-shirt materials.
A key feature of the refurbishment was the installation of Solid Green’s own Solid Insight – a software platform that generates accurate live metering data that can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. By integrating with the office’s smart-metering systems, the application enables automated billing for energy and water consumption, while environmental reporting is also handled automatically.
With its prestigious LEED Platinum certification, Solid Green has succeeded in reinforcing its green building sector leadership in sustainable design, practice and innovation.