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KFC Newmarket receives LEED Retail certification
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KFC Newmarket receives LEED Retail certification

In early 2019, KFC Newmarket achieved a prestigious LEED certification under the LEED 2009 for Retail – New Construction tool. This project was used as a test case project to update the baseline specification for all KFC branches. The LEED certification process was undertaken by Solid Green Consulting.


Owned by Yum! Brands Inc., the project is located at the Newmarket Mall in Alberton, Johannesburg, which has been constructed on the site of the old Newmarket Racecourse. In close proximity to business and residential areas, KFC Newmarket is on the main road right next to bus and taxi routes.

A strict process of waste, erosion and sedimentation control was implemented during construction – a process that proved to be new for the main contractor and the earthworks contractor, and therefore challenging in terms of compliance and documentation.

With a floor area of just under 310sqm, the project uses 31.5% less water than a baseline building through the use of low flow fittings and efficient kitchen equipment. A third of the site is dedicated to vegetation, which does not have any permanent irrigation systems installed. The project had originally looked at using captured rainwater for irrigation, but xeriscaping turned out to be a more efficient design decision as it avoided the need for water tanks, controls and pumps required for an irrigation system.

There was a 33% energy saving over a baseline building, which was achieved using efficient lighting and HVAC systems. These systems were optimised using a ‘whole building’ design approach that included a highly reflective roof and shading to minimise solar heat gain. The project also has water tanks on the roof and a generator to ensure continuity of operations during service disruptions such as water-cuts or load-shedding.

“The operation of all the systems were verified through the appointment of an independent commissioning agent who checked the design and conducted on-site audits during the commissioning stages,” says Gavin Westbrook, sustainability consultant at Solid Green.

This process revealed that some of the lighting did not achieve the required brightness levels as required by both KFC and LEED. More and brighter lighting was added to the project after occupation and tested again to confirm compliance. This was one of the lessons learned, which will be applied to the base KFC design for other projects.

The project has higher than baseline delivery of fresh air into the occupied spaces and utilises low VOC (volatile organic compound) finishes. Gavin explains that an Indoor Environmental Air Quality Plan was implemented during construction to ensure the healthiest indoor air quality for occupants. LEED requirements also ensure that no smoking happens in the building or in the immediate vicinity. “These are actually less rigorous than the legal requirement in South Africa, but the signage requirements are more stringent so we needed to add more signage around the exterior of the building after completion, in addition to the signage at the entrances, in order to achieve compliance.

All the operational waste from the restaurant and kitchen will be sorted on site for recycling or disposal, including packaging, food waste and cooking oil.

“The project was a challenge for the design team as they needed to go through an iterative design process and get into the details of the materials specified far more than they are normally required to do,” Gavin concludes.

We believe that this has been a positive experience and will guide the implementation of sustainability principles and processes in KFC’s branches moving forward.

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