USAID/Southern Africa Awarded Five Stars for Enviro-friendly Construction

USAID/Southern Africa's new Green Building
The interior of the Green Building also known as Ubunye
USAID/Southern Africa DOC

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Tebogo Sepeng
+27 12 452 2363

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has approved an environmentally friendly rating of the U.S. Agency for International Development new office building in Pretoria. The final design received the council’s four-star rating, in recognition of best practice, in November 2014. The GBCSA now has awarded the building’s final as-built design a five-star certification, which recognizes South African excellence. The five-star rating was granted after additional improvements to the building such as a solar panel grid system, soundproofing of technical rooms and the installation of LED lighting throughout the new building and compound. The Green Building Council of South Africa developed its rating system to provide the commercial property industry with an objective measurement for “green” buildings and to reward environmental leadership.

USAID Southern Africa Mission Director Cheryl L. Anderson welcomed the five-star certification.

“USAID is committed to creating an environmentally and socially responsible workplace without taxing local resources. We continue to look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint and energy use, while pursuing solutions to development challenges around the world,” she said.

The building’s design supports U.S. President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Initiative. Power Africa’s worldwide headquarters is located in the building. Power Africa was launched in 2013 by President Obama during his visit to South Africa. The Initiative partners with more than 120 government, donor and private sector entities to double access to cleaner electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.

Environmental awareness is reflected in the design and construction of the new building and the landscaping. The four-story building features about 1,400 solar panels that generate clean electricity, and a building management system controls the lighting and air conditioning by zones, thereby reducing electricity consumption. A “gray water system” captures 50,000 liters of rain water for flushing toilets and urinals, thereby reducing water consumption and discharge on-site by approximately 50 percent. The landscaping includes 20,000 low water tolerant ground cover plants and 110 new trees, watered with a drip irrigation system that delivers water slowly and efficiently to the roots of plants.