Liberty Two Degrees’ pillars of success
Liberty Two Degrees (L2D), located on the 3rd Floor of the West Office Block at Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg, is targeting a 6-Star Green Star SA Interiors v1 certification for their interior fit-out, demonstrating world leadership in environmental sustainability initiatives.7
The L2D premises are located at the heart of Sandton Central, with a direct bridge-link access into Sandton City.
Environmental sustainability has always been a key priority for Liberty Two Degrees, but the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated existing Future of Work trends, says Saadiyah Kahn, project lead of the interior fit-out at L2D. “The requirement for environmental sustainability was highlighted, employee wellbeing became a priority, digital transformation became more pronounced, and the need to support the responsible use of natural and local resources became a core focus,” Kahn comments.
Kahn mentions that the design of the Liberty Two Degrees interior office space needed to not only align to L2D’s strategic imperatives, but also had to take into account the human experience.
The office space was designed on the basis of four pillars – ‘Good’, which considers environmental sustainability, ‘Smart’, which speaks to ease of use in a plug-and-play environment, ‘Well’, which incorporates people’s wellbeing, and ‘Design’, which looks at incorporating local content in the form of artwork and materials as a representation of the focus on the South African context for L2D.
The “Good” pillar aligns with L2D’s Good Spaces strategic building block, which is headed by Brian Unsted who is also current Chairman of the GBCSA. This pillar brought in an element of biophilic design including plants and natural lighting, and aimed to reduce stress, enhance the mood of people in the office environment, and improve creativity and productivity. A further key consideration was that of regenerating and transforming an old and unappealing office space into something new and fit for the changing nature of work.
Targets were set to minimise energy and water use. Water efficient sanitary fittings have been installed to conserve water as much as possible. Energy efficient LED lighting has been phased into the interior retrofit, and motion sensors and daylight harvesting sensors were used to ensure maximum energy efficiency of lighting systems.
The building is equipped with new water and energy meters to measure the major water and energy consuming systems in the building. Energy consumption and peak demand figures are measured using smart meters. These meters are connected via an impact interface to the building management system (BMS), which is updated continuously at the polling speed of the BMS controller (live trending). The system provides information such as system failures and sudden increases of energy consumption beyond a certain level. It also provides a consumption trend over time, enabling quick identification of irregular usage.
The waste generated by the building’s operations becomes part of the Sandton City precinct waste streams with high percentages being recycled or composted, and minimal waste ending up in landfill. It is L2D’s policy to carry out regular waste stream audits of the consumable waste stream at each building to establish a baseline that identifies the types and amounts of waste making up the waste stream, thus identifying opportunities for increased waste minimisation, recycling, and waste diversion.
The “Smart” pillar aligns to the L2D digital transformation strategy of Smart Spaces, taking the rise of technological demands into consideration. The aim was to create an easy plug-and-play office environment that is mostly wireless, allowing for an inclusive blend of online and offline collaboration.
Elri Syfert, sustainability consultant at Solid Green, adds that one highlight of the fitout is the special attention given to air quality within the office, or Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ). This speaks to the wellbeing of building users, which is of key importance to L2D.
At least 95% of the Nominated Area, is provided with fresh air at a rate of 10l/s/per person, a 33% improvement over the per person requirements of SANS 10400-O:2011. The building makes use of carbon dioxide control, which monitors the outside air rates to ensure that CO2 levels are kept at less than 700ppm in each plantroom, with automated fresh air supply damper control. Indoor air quality monitors will also assess temperature, humidity, VOC, carbon monoxide, dust particles and nitrogen dioxide levels.
Modular air-cooled chillers will supply chilled water to Air Handling Units (AHU) as chiller units have a higher cooling capacity as well as higher efficiencies compared to other mechanical cooling systems.
L2D implemented a Green Cleaning policy to address environmental best practices for cleaning the interior of the building. The plan reduces the exposure of building occupants and maintenance personnel to potentially hazardous chemical, biological and particle contaminants, which adversely impact air quality, health, building finishes, building systems and the environment.
Finally, a focus on “Design” allowed for the inclusion of a variety of bespoke artwork, colour and a choice of innovative materials. Priority was given to locally sourced and natural materials as far as possible, and most of the previous office furniture was re-used in the new space. The most prominent design feature was the use of recycled plastics in the form of 100 000 compressed used tubes of toothpaste making up the 3D ceiling feature, which has integrated LED lighting accentuating the waves of the ceiling. The concept of the “Tree Office” arose from the unusual footprint of the office space, wedged between two atria with connected urban views onto Nelson Mandela Square. The shape of the space resembles a tree with a wide base and a long thin trunk which opens into a wide foliage area.
A further focus following Covid was to bring a sense of home comfort into the space, through the choice of furniture and fixtures in ergonomically designed workspaces and spaces such as relaxation and meditation areas. The layout and design of the overall office was created with fluidity in mind allowing for expansion, as business requirements change over time.
This development is fit for purpose, offering an agile and collaborative environment, coupled with an ambience that inspires creativity and allows people to do their best work. We are pleased to see the L2D people utilising the office space as it was intended.
Owner: Liberty 2 Degrees
Accredited professional: Solid Green Consulting
Architect: Batley Partners International
Electrical engineer: Qualelect Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd
Mechanical engineer: RPM Consulting Engineers
Quantity surveyors: Amara Quantity Surveyors
Sustainable design review: Solid Green Consulting
Sustainable building consultant: Solid Green Consulting
Project manager: Bartley Partners Architects
Facilities management company: Liberty 2 Degrees
Interior designer: Bartley Partners Architects
Ergonomist: Ergomax Holdings (Pty) LTD
Waste contractor: Waste Warrior
Landscape management company: Bidvest ExecuFlora
Recycling contractor: Tsebo Cleaning Solutions
Construction / fit-out contractor: Trend Group
BMS systems professional: Solid Insight