When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River, it changed Rome’s future.

Words Nicole Cameron


Located in Richmond Park in Milnerton, Cape Town, Rubicon’s new headquarters combines its operations, which were previously spread across six different locations, into one custom-designed multi-million-rand facility that includes a 7 532sqm warehouse and 1 780sqm of offices incorporating a 521sqm showroom. Positioned among blue-chip neighbours, including the new Takealot pickup point and distribution facility, the company’s new business base benefits from great exposure and also provides flexibility to accommodate future growth.

Rubicon is proud to be leading the way in contributing towards a more sustainable, technology-driven future.

Underlying the building’s elegant façade is a highly energy-efficient design. Its envelope is sculpted to minimise heat gain and loss by considering space planning, window-wall ratios and insulation. Adding to its green design benefits, the building uses effective systems for its operation. Working together with sustainable building consultancy ecocentric, the building was designed to qualify for an EDGE Advanced Certification, a tool developed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to provide quantifiable and scaleable green building standards through a user-friendly online software platform. GBCSA has partnered with IFC to facilitate certification using the EDGE tool in Africa.


“For a building to qualify for EDGE Advanced Certification, it needs to achieve a minimum of 40% savings in energy, and 20% in water and materials,” says Iphendule Ndzipho, architectural and sustainability consultant at ecocentric. “This goes beyond the 20% in all three categories that is required for the Standard Certification.”

The approximate saving of 40% in energy is just one element where the development breaks new ground. “With regards to energy, the ‘big ticket’ items that pushed the project to qualify for EDGE Advanced include low-wattage LED lights, a high-efficiency HVAC system and solar PV panels,” says Ndzipho. “The fact that around 40% of the building’s annual energy use will be renewable energy is fantastic, as this measure will significantly reduce the utilities cost.”

Johann Prinsloo, development manager at Atterbury, adds that the PV system, which covers a significant portion of the building’s extensive rooftop has been specifically designed to match the energy consumption of the building, ensuring that most of the solar power is consumed by it. “Surplus solar energy is charged into a central battery that can power the building at night or during loadshedding events,” he says. “Rubicon was proud to be able to supply all the major components of the PV system from within its own basket of products.”


“The features that have achieved this significant result are relatively ‘simple’, and yet yield extremely positive results. The lesson is that achieving sustainability is not all that complicated,” says Ndzipho. “And yet, it must be stated that working with a developer like Atterbury, where sustainability principles are already deeply entrenched, makes the process smooth and seem easier than it would be otherwise.”


EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) is a free software, a green building standard and an international green building certification. Reasons to consider this tool for your building include: Cost calculator. The tool helps select the best options for sustainable building and estimates the incremental costs thereof. Resource efficiency. The certification focuses on energy, water and embodied energy in materials for a quantitative approach. Bio-climatic modelling. Information is location-specific with climate and lifestyle data for thousands of cities. Streamlined process. A shorter certification workflow saves you time, with most required documentation already on hand. Green finance. EDGE is aligned with international green finance standards. International acclaim. Integration of the EDGE brand into your marketing efforts distinguishes your projects and carries global prestige.


Richmond Park is a new multi-billion-rand mixed-use development situated in Milnerton.
• It is serviced by two major arterial routes, the N7 highway and Plattekloof Road (M14), ensuring convenient access to the N1 highway, Cape Town port, CBD and airport.
• Extensive road upgrades, include, inter alia, the dualling of Plattekloof Road from the N7 Eastern Terminal to the N1 and the dualling of Tygerberg Valley Road from Plattekloof Road to the entrance of the Park.
• Easy access to public transport: taxi, train and MyCiti bus. Chempet train station is situated 5km away.
• Fibre optic infrastructure allows for integration with tenant’s IPS of choice.
• Eskom provides the power supply, resulting in savings in consumption charges if compared to other utility suppliers.

The water saving percentage of 20% can be attributed to a rooftop rainwater harvesting system, where a significant portion of the total roof area is designed to catch rainwater, together with low-flush toilets and flow rate restrictors for some of the taps. To not compromise water pressure, the restrictors used were aerators. “Once again, something like an aerator is not expensive to install, I recall one can be purchased for approximately R42, an inconsequential amount and yet extremely effective,” says Ndzipho.

The third component making up the EDGE Advanced Certification relates to materials savings. The Rubicon building achieved a 30% saving, with beneficial features including the presence of steel rebar in some of the slabs, which helped reduce the embodied carbon content of the concrete; an 84% concrete finish and 16% nylon carpet when it came to floor finish, and Glass wool insulation. “The flooring and insulation choices are significant. If, for example, we were to replace the concrete floor finish with various types of tiles and/or vinyl flooring, or make the flooring 100% nylon carpet, the numbers would drop drastically and the materials tab would go from 30% to 10%,” says Ndzipho. “Similarly, the type of roof insulation really matters – a wood wool insulation, for example, would drop the materials tab from 30% to 17%. The team did well on the basis of choosing the most beneficial type.”


“We set out to create a world-class facility that celebrates sustainability, and together with Atterbury and other key project partners, we’ve achieved just that. Our Group headquarters is monitored through a building management system (BMS) which enables a live view of the performance and savings of various integrated services – just one of the features we’re showcasing in our new state-of-the-art showroom. Rubicon is proud to be leading the way in contributing towards a more sustainable, technology-driven future,” says Rick Basson, CEO of Rubicon.

The fact that the Rubicon building has achieved an approximate saving of 60% in energy is just one element where the development breaks new ground.

Prinsloo adds that they were incredibly proud to deliver this new facility to Rubicon. “It has been a pleasure working with the Rubicon team on this tailormade property and we have built great relationships during this project. We are pleased to bring the vision for Rubicon’s headquarters to life with this building, where they can meet all their business needs for the region under one roof,” he concludes.