Green light for Lanseria Corporate Estate

Posted On Thursday, 23 June 2011 02:00 Published by
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A new report on the carbon footprint of Lanseria Corporate Estate shows it has off-set its carbon footprint for the next 15 years

Industry is often a red rag to the green movement, however one industrial hub is making sure of environmental sustainability, so much so that a new report on the carbon footprint of Lanseria Corporate Estate shows it has off-set its carbon footprint for the next 15 years.

And this is a conservative estimate according to a comprehensive environmental assessment by global construction and management consultants Turner & Townsend.

The ultimate goal of developers is to create a platform for sustainable working environments which facilitates the use of natural light in an aesthetically pleasing surrounding with verdant planting which all underpins sustainable workplaces, and which are known to boost employee attraction, retention, productivity and wellbeing.

Lanseria Corporate Estate is a business park in every sense of the word, meticulously planned and to be lushly planted with indigenous vegetation, including 4,900 trees, not only to please the eyes but also to pay the development’s carbon debt. 

Using South African specifications regarding the absorption of carbon by trees, the 78.73 tonne per year carbon emissions from the estate’s annual activities will be negated by the 96 tonnes per year of carbon dioxide sequestrated by the lush landscaping.

“This is after taking into account the likely 272-tonne carbon content of the grassland typifying the area before development,” explains Jurgen Erhart, of Lanseria Corporate Estate.

These impressive figures are based on research conducted by the University of Pretoria, which concludes that “the average urban tree will gain 500kg of carbon over a 15-year period, with a 60 percent survival rate,” according to the Turner & Townsend report.

Then, when the gardens are pruned, the estimated four tonnes of trimmed foliage will be composted or recycled, as will all suitable waste from the estate.

“However, carbon sequestration levels can vary,” says Erhart, “so we are not using these figures as the sole means of offsetting our emissions, but also creating a sustainable environment using multiple disciplines and resources. Our green ethos is all-encompassing; we are determined to reduce our environmental impact.”

While the gardens are the most visible facet of environmental planning at the development, behind the scenes lies the most modern waste water works in all Gauteng - a joint venture between neighbouring Lanseria International Airport and Lanseria Corporate Estate. Treated water is then returned to the environment for irrigation and other grey water uses, which should result in substantial water savings at the estate.

The owners of Lanseria Corporate Estate are already investing a massive R200-million into basic infrastructure, but investment is estimated to increase to R2-billion as development takes place over the next six years, all of it spent with a keen eye on minimising impact.

“The estate’s proximity to the world-renowned Cradle of Mankind heritage site is a constant reminder of the environmental sensitivity we face, and the importance of being true to our ecological values,” says Erhart. “Companies and entrepreneurs can either rent or own premises here, knowing they’re making a sound, principled choice for the future of their business, as well as the planet.” 

Lighting accounts for some 55% of the estate’s footprint, so as many bright ideas as possible are being exploited and various street lighting strategies keeping both environmental and financial costs down.

Of course, natural lighting is to be used extensively throughout the buildings because it is freely available and innately ecocentric, and also because it’s good for the soul, and has been shown to improve both the wellbeing and productivity of employees.

A recent study by the School of Planning, Design, and Construction at Michigan State University found that a green-certified work habitat meant a 60% decrease in allergies and asthma in staff, and a 30% drop in absenteeism due to depression and stress. Greater access to daylight proved to be a major factor, not only because it cuts the need for artificial lighting, but it also makes the environment more welcoming and attractive.

Albedo (the reflectivity of a given surface) has been taken into account throughout the park, with light-coloured roofing materials further enhancing the improvement in albedo from the previous landscape before development.

Overall, the Turner & Townsend report estimates the positive change in albedo brought about by the estate will not only substantially reduce its cooling requirement, with a reduction in its air-conditioning needs and the resultant lower emissions, but will equate to offsetting an equivalent of 2,970 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. The IPCC does not yet recognise changes to albedo as a legitimate off-set strategy so this is a bonus, and these figures have not been used in the carbon-neutrality calculations.

“Essentially, Lanseria Corporate Estate is a green home for business, particularly for eco-aware companies looking for sustainability and an ethically-sound springboard for success,” says Erhart.

On the issue of deriving inustry standards for business occupiers: "Corporate property owners and occupiers will need to be in a position to benchmark their total occupancy costs, including environmental footprints, and to this end IPD Occupiers is an invaluable and independent service to facilitate this body of unbiased information for South Africa" comments Marc Schneider of IPD SA.

Publisher: eProp
Source: LCE

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