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National English Literacy Museum
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National English Literacy Museum

In early 2012, Solid Green Consulting was appointed by Public Works for the Green Building and Green Star Certification services for the new National English Literacy Museum (NELM) building in Grahamstown. Having been completed in 2016, the building was awarded a 5-Star As-Built certification.


The National English Literature Museum development is situated within a well-established residential suburb of Grahamstown. The development enhances the area by introducing facilities such as a mini-theatre, an outside amphitheatre, an exhibition area, archives, a library and museum offices.

The museum will not be fenced off, and provides park-like areas for the surrounding community to enjoy – including access to the outside amphitheatre and mini-theatre. Courtyards and balconies make for enjoyable outdoor breakaway spaces for personnel – and 80% of the occupied areas have views to the exterior. The location is ideal as the development proximate to a variety of learning institution and public amenities, the daily users of which can make use of the museum.

The building not only educates the public about literature, artworks and artifacts of national and international significance but also provides another educational layer by modelling the possibilities of a green Public and Educational Building (PEB).

Sustainable building features

  • Shower and storage facilities for cyclists are available to encourage non-motorised commute to the museum.
  • Water and energy sub-meters provide live-metering results which are on continuous display in the foyer.
  • A Building Users’ Guide has also been compiled to inform users about the building’s systems.
  • Reduction of potable water consumption by more than 95% below benchmark.
  • Installation of water meters for all major water uses so that water consumption can be monitored and managed.
  • Stormwater detention ponds to release stormwater gradually and prevent the erosion of the related river system.
  • A Topsoil Management Plan (TMP) to guide the contractor on separating topsoil impacted during construction to protect it from degradation, erosion or mixing with fill or waste – this way, 75% of the original topsoil was retained on site.
  • Mechanical and electrical equipment chosen for its low energy use.
  • A building-management system to actively control and optimise the effectiveness of building services.
  • A solar PV installation on the roof of the north wing which provides approximately 8% of the building’s total energy demand.

Building Information

Address: 25A, erf. 2945, Worcester Street, Grahamstown, South Africa
Total gross floor area:  4 876 m2
Total occupied space:  2 995 m2
Total occupied space excluding spaces for functional reasons:  1 251 m2
Car parking area: 73 parking bays, 1 325 m2

Project team

OWNER: NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: ALBRECHT KNIGHT MVULANA
QUANTITY SURVEYORS: BISIWE VAN NIEKERK INC
ARCHITECTS: INTSIKA ARCHITECTS
MECHANICAL ENGINEER: ALBRECHT KNIGHT MVULANA
MAIN CONTRACTOR: WBHO
CIVIL SERVICE ENGINEERS: CAMDEKON ENGINEERS
SUSTAINABLE BUILDING CONSULTANT: SOLID GREEN CONSULTING

  • 5-star Green Star SA PEB Pilot Design
    5-star Green Star SA PEB v1 As Built
  • Grahamstown, Dept. Public Works

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