OUR NEW OFFICE: CHAPTER 5
From early 2021, the Solid Green team will be continuing its sector-leading sustainability work from its new premises in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. A great deal of work has been put into ensuring that these new offices reflect the company’s values and ethos.7
A big part of the intention behind the design and choice of materials was to have the new office as a showcase for regenerative building principles. Some of the existing structure has been reused while approximately 60% of the internal walls were removed to create an open plan office space – only those to the new boardroom space and ablutions were kept. The existing floor remains untouched, and a raised wooden flooring system is envisaged to accommodate the floor grid below.
A steel frame structure is being used for the new section of the offices, with primarily glazed infill to allow for natural light and ventilation. For these perimeter walls, a high-performance double glazing has been specified that has gas between the two sheets of glass to significantly reduce heat loss in winter. External shading will be installed to protect the building from direct sunlight as no mechanical HVAC system will be used.
In the interests of using as few materials on the refurbishment as possible, the new office space will not have a ceiling. Instead, the new timber roof will provide the final internal finish. The trusses from the old roof have been removed and stored, and a process is underway to find somewhere to donate them. Bearing in mind the need for futureproofing, an additional mezzanine can be accommodated below the new roof structure should expansion of the space be required.
The project saves energy by providing energy efficient office lighting that is not over designed, and there will be sufficient natural lighting to ensure that artificial lighting is not required for the vast majority of the time that the building is occupied. Chilufya Lombe, director, adds that the building is aiming to be Net Positive as far as legally possible. A solar PV system on the roof will help to achieve this goal by meeting the project’s energy needs and thus reducing carbon emissions.
With the move to online and remote working, the space planning allows for maximum flexibility in terms of how power is supplied with a floor grid that allows for churn. Because of the change in working practices that have come about during 2020, it is anticipated that the space may be used quite informally, and desking will also be incorporated to allow for hot desk rentals. The old ablutions will be transformed into phone booths to meet the need for meeting call booths due to the increase in video conferencing; and the new bathrooms will be located in the multi-purpose building at the back of the garden. Again with resource efficiency in mind, 100% of the furniture and equipment from the old offices will be re-used.
“We are incredibly proud that we achieved 6-star Green Star Interior and LEED Commercial Interior Platinum certifications for our offices in Rosebank,” comments Lombe.
We plan on going one step further with our new home in Parkhurst and will be actively pursuing the Living Building Challenge (LBC) Core certification , which puts the connection to nature, equity and the need for a building to be loved on even footing with water, energy and materials concerns.
Watch this space as we prepare for our move to our new home!
- December 2020
- futureproofing, green design, natural light, net positive energy, Solid Green Offices