Menlyn Maine complies with the Green Star SA rating tools of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) and the US Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighbourhood Developments (LEED-ND) rating system. Under a partnership between the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), and the US Green Building Council, it also participates voluntary in the Climate Positive Development Programme.  Compliance to these codes means this large project (a full 165 000 m2) is indeed highly focused on sustainability.

“By the time the GBCSA came into being, we already had our green pegs in the ground, as it were. So when the Clinton Foundation approached us to be one of 18 global projects that work together to find a framework for planetary sustainable urban growth, we took the leap and aimed to create the best carbon-negative environment possible. Even if Menlyn Maine achieves a 70% less than usual carbon footprint, the immense learning would benefit the African industry as well as the potential 25 000 individuals who will live, work or play in the development,” explains Justin Bowen, lead developer at Menlyn Maine.

With 20 commercial and residential green buildings planned, and all the right green space in between, the developers identified the US LEED-ND as the best toolbox to provide guidance in driving best practices of green urbanism such as energy, waste, parklands and facilities.

Bowen explains: “It was designed to stop urban sprawl in America by densifying neighbourhoods. That said, LEED-ND was the best fit for us at the time in terms of our desire to use a community formula. With a ‘proudly South African’ attitude to LEED-ND, we will feed back into the creation of a South African tool.”

Ticking and cross-referencing menu items across the three rating systems is the responsibility of Adrie Fourie, a sustainability and carbon modeling consultant.  Menlyn Maine insists on keeping track of energy use, transport and waste generation during the construction phases of all buildings. However she explains that the most important part of the carbon profile will be that of the operational phase of the development.

“Using existing data on energy usage associated with a nominal building, average waste generation capacity per capita, and the anticipated transport impact of each building, it was possible to create a carbon baseline profile. This provides a worst-case scenario in terms of carbon emissions, should the development not implement any strategies to change the business-as-usual approach to construction and operation.”

“We’ve reached the stage where it gets very exciting,” says Bowen. “In March we broke ground with the 3 500 m2 Pegasus building for Regus, with expected completion by April 2014.”

Their major focus in the coming months will be the mixed-use Central Square development. “It will comprise a 25 000 m2 shopping centre, a 200-key hotel, a 4 000 m2 gym for Virgin Active, a 1 000 m2 medical centre and eight 500 m2 offices. This phase worth R1.5 billion goes to ground midyear, with completion anticipated in late 2015.”

Climate Positive programme www.clintonfoundation.org

Menlyn Maine www.menlynmaine.co.za

The original story was published in the inaugural issue of earthworks (April – May 2011). Images: Christoph Hoffmann (www.chp.za.com)