Led by an enthusiastic and dedicated team, the new Motswere building – the first addition to Prime Plaza II in Gaborone’s CBD – was recently awarded a 5-Star Green Star Africa – Office Design v1.1 rating by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA).
The Prime Plaza development, owned by PrimeTime Property Holdings, consists of four existing commercial buildings (Prime Plaza I), each named after a species of local indigenous tree. Motswere is the first of four commercial buildings that will make up Prime Plaza II, which will be developed in phases. The building’s name derives from the beautiful Leadwood Combretum trees that still inhabit this piece of land.
PrimeTime invests in a diversified portfolio of office, retail and industrial properties throughout Botswana and Zambia. Motswere is the first of PrimeTime’s large property portfolio to achieve third-party green certification. “In a competitive market, PrimeTime’s ability to offer a Green Star rated building to an increasingly environmentally and ethically aware tenant base is a great advantage,” notes Joe Simpson of PrimeTime.
The 2 780m² Motswere building, designed by Paul Munnik Architects, consists of three levels of A-grade office space and supporting facilities, and two basement parking levels, set among more open-air parking and waterwise landscaped gardens. The 5-Star Green Star rating signifies national excellence and requires a standard of innovative green design that goes beyond the basics of green building practices.
A green building responds to local environmental conditions, while also considering global realities, such as increasingly scarce and expensive energy and resources. Green buildings also respond to the need for comfortable and healthy indoor spaces for building occupants.
Green Star is an integrated rating system, which helps to improve a building’s environmental performance and recognises environmental leadership. It looks at energy, water, materials/waste, indoor environment quality, land use and ecology, transport, emissions and management.
Motswere boasts high levels of energy and water efficiency, as well as state-of-the-art mechanical ventilation and building management systems. Kagiso Sebetso, in-house green building consultant at Time Projects (PrimeTime’s development and asset management arm), adds: “Botswana is a very hot country for most of the year. Having a building so well oriented with south and north facing glazing that is provided with optimum shading, is quite an achievement when one considers the related reduction in energy consumption.”
The project was not without its challenges, one being hit with the 2020 lockdown during the design phase, which meant that all team meetings went online. “This was still a very new concept at the time,” says Sebetso. “Being a pioneer comes with multiple challenges, particularly with regulatory bodies, such as seeking approval for solar PV installation for a building that is not yet developed. Educating potential suppliers or subcontractors about the green practices that they are expected to price for, and therefore deliver on, is more challenging than one would anticipate, but is so worthwhile.”
While the project experienced some delays due to Covid-19, teamwork and enthusiasm were key to the project’s eventual success. “The team values and understands the concept of not only designing green but also building green and without their buy-in and dedication, we would not have been able to achieve the certification,” Sebetso adds.
It is hoped that the Motswere building is just the start of a new wave of green-rated developments for Botswana and other parts of Africa. Green Star accredited professional on the project, Dash Coville, from Solid Green Consulting, says that the green building movement is gaining momentum in Gaborone, with Solid Green being involved with the certification of three other projects (including one with PrimeTime).
“Motswere’s achievement is an inspiring first for Botswana’s budding sustainability journey. As PrimeTime, Time Projects and the development team, we are privileged to be able to pioneer this space, and look forward to more industry players coming onboard,” says Sebetso.
GBCSA strongly supports the growth of green buildings in Africa and have certified projects in several other African countries. “Green buildings are part of Africa’s solution to cope with future climate change and stimulate new economic opportunities,” says GBCSA’s head of technical, Georgina Smit. “We are immensely proud of PrimeTime and the project team for embarking on this pioneering project for the local context, and we congratulate them on their commitment towards demonstrating sustainability leadership.”
Building tuning of the mechanical, electrical, wet services and irrigation services.
Waste management during the construction phase as well as provision of recycling facilities for the operations phase.
Maximising on daylight while providing daylight glare control.
Use of low VOC materials.
Low electric lighting levels and low lighting power density, along with lighting zoning controls.
Building users being provided with a building users’ guide to help hem maximise on the sustainable building features.
Provision of preferential parking for fuel efficient transport and has cyclists’ facilities for building users as well as visitors.
Water efficiency achieved using low flush rate sanitaryware and use of non-potable water in the irrigation system.
The use of a 132kWp PV system with an estimated annual production of 234MWh.
By 2050, Africa will be home to 1.3-billion more people than it is today (more than half of the world’s projected population growth of 2.4-billion people). This means a huge demand for buildings – with 80 percent of those that will exist in 2050, yet to be built.
But this also means that we have the opportunity to build right from today, and create green jobs, skills and training, and sustainable growth through widespread green building. Green Building Councils in our Africa Regional Network are responding to these challenges and opportunities on the ground.
They are focusing on four strategies – supporting strong regulatory and voluntary frameworks; recognising and scaling local building materials and practices; training the green building workers of today and tomorrow; and directing much-needed foreign and domestic investment to green building.
The World Green Building Council