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​The Green Building Council of South Africa has given Absa Towers West five-star certification for its environmentally friendly design.
ABSA Towers West on the eastern edge of the Johannesburg inner city is the first South African building to receive five-star Green Star certification from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).

glass panels allow natural lightThe glass panels allow natural light into the buildingThe award recognises Absa Towers West as an As Built building representative of “South African excellence”. The climate sensitive building integrates workplace ergonomics with environmental sustainability and contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions through energy conservation and recycling. It sets the benchmark for environmentally friendly buildings in the inner city.

It is made of glass panels and uses natural light. It has a gas turbine in its energy centre that converts fuel to electricity, reducing the bank’s carbon footprint by an estimated 19 000 tons a year.

Absa’s head of corporate real estate services for Africa, Jon Couret, said the bank’s investment in an eco-friendly building was a commitment to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment, and to support urban renewal efforts spearheaded by the City.

He said the building followed international standards of best practice. “This award means that our efforts and commitment to sustainability have been recognised.”

Absa Towers West has custom-built office space and boardrooms, with state-of-the-art technology for video conferencing, a restaurant and pause areas on all floors, with refreshment counters. It has the largest grey water system in South Africa with a capacity to recycle 43 000 litres of water a day. A dual plumbing design uses recycled water from the fitness centre to flush toilets and rain water is recovered for site irrigation.

The gas turbine converts fuel to electricityA gas turbine converts fuel to electricityThe GBCSA recognised Absa Towers West for being energy and resource efficient and environmentally responsible. The building incorporates design and construction elements that eliminate the negative impact of development on the environment and occupants.

“The As Built rating is especially significant in that the physical building has achieved the excellence in green building design aspirations that it set out to attain,” said Brian Wilkinson, the chief executive of the GBCSA.

He explained that buildings were one of the main contributors to climate change. “[Absa Towers West] is a very large building even in global terms and Absa can be justly proud of this very tangible demonstration of their commitment.”

Absa could expect a positive return for investing in the building and saving operating costs associated with energy and water, he added.

Last year, the building won a Halala Joburg Award in the category Sustaining Joburg for managing public space well and for meeting five-star ratings by the GBCSA.

The bank also won a Green Excellence Award from Frost and Sullivan, a global business market research company that recognises commitment to environmental sustainability.

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