Nedbank Phase II awarded South Africa’s first as built Green Star SA Rating

Phase II of Nedbank’s head office has achieved another eco-friendly first. Today it was announced at the Green Building Council Convention that the development in Sandton, Johannesburg has been certified as South Africa’s first As Built Green Star SA Building under the Green Building Council of South Africa’s (GBCSA) Office v1 rating tool.

The building was awarded South Africa’s first ever Green Star SA rating – a 4 Star Green Star SA Office Design v1 rating, which signifies “Best Practice” in green building – at the convention last year.

A “Design” certification can be submitted for and awarded at the end of the design phase of the project. The intent is that the building can then be marketed during construction as a Green Star SA certified building, having demonstrated the green building strategies to be included in the building.  At the end of construction, a project can submit for and be awarded “As Built” certification, certifying that all green building strategies were in fact incorporated into the final building.

As with the design rating, projects need to gain credits in the eight environmental categories of Green Star SA – Management, Indoor Environmental Quality, Energy, Water, Transport, Materials, Emissions and Land Use & Ecology.

GBCSA CEO Nicola Douglas said, “Nedbank has shown incredible commitment to the green building movement in South Africa by following up their achievement last year of being the first design-rated project to also claim the first Green Star SA As-Built rating. The Green Building Council commends the entire project team on this significant achievement.”

Mike Brown, Nedbank Group chief executive said, “The Nedbank Group has demonstrated its leadership position in environmental sustainability through being the first corporate in South Africa to commit itself to becoming carbon-neutral and adopting the Equator Principles to assist our clients to comply with sustainability best practice. The acknowledgement that Nedbank has received for developing high quality sustainable buildings, as reflected in the Green Star As Built Awards for its Phase II development in Sandton is further testimony to our commitment to being an environmentally responsible company.”

The main elements that contributed to the Four Star rating that Nedbank Phase II was awarded include the full economy air conditioning system; the Dali lighting system and energy efficient light fittings; the Black Water Treatment System; the implementation of an efficient waste recycling system, both during construction and when the building is in use; and the fact that the building achieves a 30% energy saving when compared to a conventional building, This includes the use of gas for cooking in the kitchens, solar heated geysers for showers, no hot water in the wash hand basins and push-through geysers which replace conventional geysers – all in addition to the Dali system mentioned above.


One of the biggest point scorers on the Green Star Rating and a major green facility in Phase II is the Black Water Treatment System. All water used in the building is partially recycled in a plant in the basement of the building, and re-used for all non-potable water uses, such as for the toilets, cooling towers and to irrigate the indigenous campus garden. This will save up to 120kl of water per day and significantly reduces the buildings discharge to the sewer system.

This was the most difficult item to implement as it is the first black water treatment plant to be installed in a built up area in South Africa so all the guide lines had to be established before approval was obtained to proceed. A task team was established in order to implement this black water treatment system and to facilitate the approval and installation of future systems in the country.


A full economy cycle air conditioning system flushes fresh air through the building when outside conditions are favourable. Carbon dioxide sensors on each floor continuously monitor levels and adjust the flow of fresh air. The air conditioning system also circulates cool ambient air through the building in the morning, which considerably reduces the energy load on the air conditioners in summer.


The energy-efficient Dali Lighting System monitors, dims and switches off lights in all unoccupied office sectors. Energy efficient lighting is used throughout the building, and high frequency ballasts in fluorescent lights minimise flickering.

60% of offices have a direct line of sight to the outdoors or to a natural light atrium.


A dedicated system and storage area provides for the collection and separation of paper, glass, plastics, metals and organic materials. This complements the waste management practices implemented in Phase I.


Sustainable timber was specified for all timber applications.

The concrete used has a minimum fly ash content of 30%. Fly ash is a recycled product from the coal industry that makes concrete stronger and more durable.

The building is predominantly framed in reinforced concrete with 95% of the reinforcing steel being recycled.

The project was not able to obtain a point for the use of low VOC paints because of the non availability of a full range of products locally and the prohibitive cost of importing paint.  The developers were able to commission a local manufacturer to produce a low VOC interior PVA paint, so this product was used at an additional cost to the project to improve the environment for the staff occupying the building.


Phase II offers a Cycle Park with lockers and shower facilities for Nedbank staff members to cycle to work or to make use of the Sandton Gautrain node, which is 500 metres from the campus. This facility encourages staff members to change their travel patterns and reduce their carbon footprint.


While the Green Star Rating currently focuses on the construction and building design aspects, Nedbank has taken the extra step of commissioning its in-house architectural design team to make sure the interior layout also complies with green building best practice. 

Factors here include low VOC paint products, the least toxic carpet and wallpaper glues available and 60% recyclable chairs.  All are aimed at improved indoor environmental quality and sustainability, carbon footprint reduction and the physical and emotional wellbeing of Nedbank’s staff members.

About GBCSA and the Green Star Rating

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) is an independent, non-profit organisation made up of corporate members from all sectors of the commercial property industry. Launched in 2007, the GBCSA aims to promote and facilitate green building practices through market-based solutions, like its Green Star SA environmental rating system for buildings.

The GBCSA is a member of the World Green Building Council, which coordinates and oversees Green Building Councils worldwide.

A green building rating tool sets standards and benchmarks for green building, and enables an objective assessment to be made as to how “green” a building is. The rating system sets out a “menu” of all the green measures that can be incorporated into a building to make it green. Points are awarded to a building according to which measures have been incorporated, and, after appropriate weighting, a total score is arrived at, which determines the rating.

There are several rating systems in existence worldwide, including LEED from the US, BREEAM from the UK and Green Star from Australia. After a process of industry and expert consultation, the Green Building Council of South Africa Board decided to base our South African rating tool on the Australian Green Star system, and to customise this tool for South African use.

The objectives of the Green star SA rating system are as follows:

  • Establish a common language and standard of measurement for green buildings
  • Promote integrated, whole-building design
  • Raise awareness of green building benefits
  • Recognise environmental leadership
  • Reduce the environmental impact of development

The first in the suite of Green Star SA tools (Office v1) was launched in November 2008 and the Retail Centre PILOT tool is being launched at the Annual Convention in October 2009.

Nedbank Group climate change position statement and carbon neutral announcement – detailed information available on request.

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