The new head office of the WWF in Braamfontein has just won an award for green build and sustainability construction.
“To operate a green building requires the users to change behaviour and initially there is always resistance,” says Duckitt. “Adapting to change takes time.” The team will be monitoring the building for another year, through a full seasonal cycle, in order to “tweak the system and the users so that they work in harmony”. In comparison to the previous building, there are a lot more facilities, including boardrooms and recreational facilities on the roof. The indoor air quality is fresh and all materials are non-pollutant and free of toxins. Dean Muruven, WWF water source areas programme manager, based in the Braamfontein offices, says the central city location also has a special culture that the staff enjoy: “Owning a green building gives the employees a sense of pride as it feels like it brings us closer to our values as an organisation, particularly with some of the unique features contained within our building.” This has definitely increased productivity among the staff and the open plan office environment, which is filled with an abundance of natural light, has brought the WWF team closer together, he adds.
The WWF building demonstrates dedication towards finding practical sustainable solutions that fit within a strict budget, without being constrained by it. The design team had to adapt and change the design to suit, in some instances opting less for technological solutions and more for passive design, and in so doing the project stayed largely within its construction budget of approximately R8.5 million, which was funded from the organisation’s reserves and supplemented with applicable sustainable product and material sponsors. The result is a building that disproves the idea that building green should be expensive. Furthermore, a green building translates into lower operating costs and a reduction of the intrinsic environmental impact of the building, which in turn confirms the organisation’s values.
The planted roof garden for recreation and breaks is fed by a drip irrigation system. An attenuation tank under the timber decking collects and channels rainwater from the roof to storage in the basement. The roof top garden was a very simple collection of indigenous water wise plants from the Highveld.