Sustainably green V&A Waterfront rewarded

The Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre in Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront has been awarded the highest environmental rating for any existing shopping centre. It has been crowned South Africa’s greenest shopping centre, following an extensive strategy to enhance its green footprint.

Located appropriately in Green Point, the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre’s far reaching waste management and recycling practices have earned the property the prestigious Green Buildings Council of SA (GBCSA) 5-Star Green Star Existing Building Performance v1 certification (EBP v1).

In addition to the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre’s 5-Star rating, the V&A Waterfront has amassed a total of 16 GBCSA awards, making it one of the greenest precincts. The V&A Waterfront has also recently retained its Platinum Status through the Heritage Environmental Rating Programme.

The shopping centre in the heart of the V&A Waterfront attracts almost 24 million visitors per an-num, making it the country’s most visited destination. In 2015 the centre was awarded a 4-Star Existing Building award.

To retain the new 5-Star rating, it will have to demonstrate that its operations and maintenance consistently achieve the same high standard over a three-year period. Existing buildings are rated ac-cording to an Existing Building Performance (EBP) measurement tool.

However, the environmental categories used by the GBCSA to assess existing buildings and new buildings are the same. But the focus for an existing building is on ensuring that ongoing operations and management are efficient. The EBP tool is therefore only available as an as-built rating.

Since its construction in 1992, the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre has been extended several times to reach the current 88 647m2 capacity. Improving the rating required significant combined efforts by the Waterfront’s operations team and the tenants.

Focus on energy and water monitoring, along with management policies and plans are required in order to achieve the 5-Star rating. The EBP measurement tool also addresses the relationship be-tween landlord and tenants, setting up a win-win situation with a Green Lease toolkit.

Tenants needed to come on board and sign a Green Lease agreement in order to achieve the accolade for greenest shopping centre in the country. The Victoria Wharf complex accommodates over 450 retail outlets and more than 80 eateries, with five undercover parking garages and four open parking areas.

The lease tracks a tenant’s energy and water consumption, with incentives for recycling. Some of the environmental features include the use of grey water, low potable water consumption, LED light-ing, natural light features and extensive waste management initiatives.

According to Petro Myburgh, Operations Manager at the V&A Waterfront, they have been decreasing their water consumption since the 4-Star rating in 2015. “We have further improved our waste management systems and implemented a Wildlife Management Programme. With the 4-Star rating we committed to implement the Green Lease toolkit and we now have just below a quarter of our tenants signed.” Quite an achievement, given the size and complexity of the area.

Categories on which the Victoria Wharf was rated for additional sustainable features in 2019, included management, indoor environmental quality, energy, transport, water, materials, land use and ecology, emissions and innovations. Stand-out sustainable building features noted by the GBCSA were among others excellent recycling initiatives, making use of toxic-free decorative materials, water-saving taps and toilets, green cleaning practices and bicycle facilities.

In addition to the incentives for tenants to recycle, the V&A Waterfront also ensures the property keeps pace with global plastic recycling’s best practices. Since January 2018 the Waste Recovery and Recycling Centre has sorted waste from 384 daily collection points on-site. This included wet waste, essentially clearing 550 bins twice a day. To date, the Waste Recovery and Recycling Centre has created more than 80 jobs related to waste management. It has also established a training facility to introduce a tenant education programme. Between January 2018 and May 2019 the recycling operation has diverted more than 3 000 tonnes of waste from going to landfill.

Going forward, the focus for waste and recycling initiatives at the V&A Waterfront will include an ‘intensified separation at source’ campaign. This will improve organic waste diversion even more, while investigating further on-site solutions towards zero waste to landfill in future.

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