The Ridge receives 6-star Green Star Office Design rating

Situated in the Portswood District of the V&A Waterfront, The Ridge has been awarded a 6-star Green Star Office Design rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA). According to the certification, the new commercial building exceeded the base entry scorecard level of 75 for a six-star Office Design rating, by achieving a total 80 design points.

Of significance were the nine innovation points given by assessors on the scorecard against an achievable maximum of 10. These are awarded over and above any credit obtained in other categories and are special points awarded at the discretion of the GBCSA.

The innovation category encourages efforts which demonstrate that sustainable development principles have been incorporated to the wider process of design, construction and performance of buildings, as well as any positive environmental influence brought to bear on the wider geographic area in which the project is located.

Points of innovation

One such example of innovation is the building’s cross laminated timber façade. This plays a major role in the indoor comfort of all building occupants – functionally and in the choice of a natural material – which grabbed the attention of the green building assessors.

Further innovation points were given to passive design criteria. The way the building breathes – its indoor climate control – is based on mixed mode ventilation, using mainly fresh air and having openable windows. Heating and cooling is based on further innovative criteria.

An unusual innovation credit comes from the use of plastic waste as ecobricks inside non-load bearing concrete floor slabs to displace the use of conventional concrete or polystyrene ‘void formers’.

‘Oasis in the city’

Said Vusi Nondo, executive head of development at the V&A Waterfront: “A vital part of our circular economy is the focus on people. This building creates an unparalleled internal environment with the highest level of natural light and fresh air, a virtual oasis in the city. Occupants and visitors can enjoy inspiring views, inner green spaces which include a groundbreaking ‘central street’ concept naturally ventilated with fresh air, breakaway zones, and an all-round environment conducive to productivity.

“The Ridge is the very opposite of conventional city buildings which are dominated by concrete and glass. Its pioneering timber façade and mixed mode natural ventilation mechanical systems are firsts for South Africa.”

Georgina Smit, head of technical at the GBCSA, explained that a six-star Green Star Design rating at the project design stage represents an intent to achieve a sustainability performance level that equates to world leadership, exceeding South African excellence (five star) and industry best practice (four star).

“Six-star ratings are unusual in SA and is not an easy achievement for a design rating. Only nine other offices have achieved this accolade to date, either through our Design or As Built rating, or both, since 2010. It involves a committed client, a dedicated professional team and an integrated design approach by all,” she added.