The De Zicht Lifestyle Centre – a Balwin first for Cape Town

The De Zicht Lifestyle Centre – a Balwin first for Cape Town

In February 2021, the De Zicht Lifestyle Centre achieved a 6-Star Green Star Public & Education Building (PEB) certification. Situated within the De Zicht Lifestyle estate developed by Balwin Properties in Milnerton, Cape Town, the project has also been certified for Net Zero Carbon

In 2019, Balwin registered over 16,000 units for EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) as part of an ongoing pledge to mainstream green lifestyle developments. Steve Brookes, CEO and founder of Balwin Properties, says, “Over the years we have introduced several innovations to make our developments more energy efficient, helping our customers manage their carbon footprint while reducing the burden of the cost of energy.”

The De Zicht Lifestyle Centre has a total gross floor area of just over 600sqm, while the PEB site area covers 2812sqm. The single-storey project accommodates a number of amenities such as a gym, spa, laundromat, and offices. “The design is welcoming and very people-centred,” says Jesse Hamman, Senior Sustainability Consultant at Solid Green.

The layout is compact but well designed with lively, interactive interior spaces. The focus was very much on passive design with a lot of natural lighting and ventilation, together with insulation for optimal thermal control.

A direct visual connection to the external environment is provided for 80% of the Lifestyle Centre occupied area, through full-height windows and glazed sliding doors. Clerestory windows further add to the natural lighting and connection with the building’s context, while glare is reduced with shading screens and large overhangs. Elements of biophilia have been introduced into the interiors with natural materials such as timber and stonework, and images from nature adding colour and texture.

Hamman explains that, in order to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions associated with operational energy consumption, an energy model of the building was generated in the design stages of the building, which showed an improvement of 100% (Net Zero operating emissions base building) over a SANS 10400 notional building. A high level of thermal comfort was also ensured by addressing the internal operative temperatures through modelling to ensure they are within the ASHRAE Standard 55-2004 Acceptability Limits for at least 98% of occupied hours.

The building’s peak electrical demand was actively reduced thanks to a photovoltaic system installed on the roof, which achieves 5% improvement over the total load requirement. Provision was made to ensure that all individual or enclosed spaces are switched to make it easier to light only occupied areas.

In addition, sub-metering of both major energy and water consuming systems is in place, to gather information that is key to managing building systems and to assessing opportunities for resource consumption savings. A rainwater harvesting and a grey water system installed in the laundromat were designed to reuse water for irrigation; while further water savings are being achieved with water efficient fittings. A learning resource was installed, publicly displaying energy and water usage for the edification of building users.

To reduce environmental impact, all gaseous and fire suppression systems and thermal insulants specified have an Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) of zero; and the Lifestyle Centre promotes the use of alternative fuel vehicles, motorbikes and bicycles by designating parking spaces near the building entrances for occupants with zero to low carbon emitting modes of transport.

A project specific Environmental Management Plan was developed and implemented during construction to establish guidelines to minimise the environmental impact associated with construction activities; and a project specific Waste Management Plan was developed to minimise the contribution of waste going to landfill during the building’s operational phase.

De Zicht is Balwin’s first 6-star rated Lifestyle Centre in Cape Town; with certification of the centres at Fynbos and Huntsman anticipated later this year.

Project Team

OWNER: Balwin Properties
 ENGINEER: Neil LYNERS and Associates
LANDSCAPING CONSULTANT: Gordon’s Garden and Waste Management
MAIN CONTRACTOR: Balwin Properties
PROJECT MANAGER: Balwin Properties
QUANTITY SURVEYOR: Balwin Properties


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