The Menlyn Maine precinct covering an area of 135 000 m2 is part of the Menlyn improvement area and a registered Gold Founding member of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA). It aims to attain the minimum 4-Star (best practice) Green Star rating for all of its buildings under both the design and as-built rating systems and has achieved the first milestones in reaching this goal.

The aim with Menlyn Maine was to create an area where people can work, play and live within walkable distances thus creating a new city node away from the centre of Pretoria.

“The Nedbank Falcon building was awarded its 4-Star Green Star design certification. This is an incredible milestone for the precinct, as not only is every building in the precinct required to have the 4-star rating, but our LEED-ND certification work requires that we have at least one certified green building to begin our US precinct certification work,” says Justin Bowen, lead developer of the project. Handover is due March 2012 and WBHO, the contractors, are currently busy with the interior fit-out work: tiling, joinery, wallpaper and painting as well as the installation of the roof garden and deck.

The project began in 2006 100 houses in the area was dismantled. “I use the term dismantle deliberately, because we did not just demolish these dwellings, we utilised salvageable parts for low-cost housing projects and backfill,” Bowen explains and adds that, from the outset, the concepts of sustainability, environment and the three Rs of waste management – reuse, reduce, recycle – have been at the forefront of this project.

“This project encapsulates what is meant by sustainable living… This is not about just retrofitting one building or designing an eco-friendly office block – it is about managing 20 000 people on a day-to-day basis and maintaining the goal of zero emissions. This city endeavours to offer a ‘green precinct’ that goes beyond mere energy efficiency and reconciles the natural, social and economic environments sustainably.”

“The Softline VIP building is also flying,” says Bowen. “WBHO are currently busy with the structure and casting sections of the structured parking and Softline VIP will move into the building in December 2012, meaning that they have a very tight programme.

“What is really exciting is that Softline has approved an urban farm concept for the building, whereby the herbs and vegetables used daily in the canteens to feed their 750 staff, will be grown on the roof.” He adds that the design of the building is nearly finalised, and as part of their Green Star submission work, they will be measuring the company’s existing carbon footprint to compare it to their new reduced footprint when the building is complete.

“Menlyn Maine will run the entire Green Star rating process with a submission programme generated via WSP Green By Design and project managers, Pro Arnan, ensuring that the green design principles are captured at every step of the project process,” says Bowen.

According to precinct manager Ashley Holman, Menlyn Maine “demonstrates the role private sector can play, engaging with local authorities, to create sustainable urban management.”

The full feature appears in the April/May 2011 issue on p40.