VENTURES AFRICA – Due to its water, energy and emissions efficiency, the Vodafone Site Solution Innovation Centre (SSIC) has been honoured as the greenest building in Africa by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) at the GBCSA Convention and Exhibition on Wednesday.
The building which was awarded the winner of the category Highest Scoring Green Star Project 2008-2012 is situated at the Vodacom’s head office in Midrand. It had also won the Mail and Guardian’s prestigious Greening the Future Awards for Innovations early this year.
According to CEO of the Green Building Council, Brian Wilkinson, “In our quest to ‘change the way the world is built’ we rely on true leaders to set the bar and the Vodafone project has done just that. The project addresses sustainability in all respects which seeks to truly minimise the impact of the building on the environment. Vodafone and their project team deserve this accolade as no other South African project has ever reached this level.”
It has been awarded six stars by the GBCSA in October 2011 making it the greenest building in Africa and the first 6 Star Green Star SA accredited building in South Africa, the equivalent of a LEED Platinum status. The six star accolade is also referred to as ‘World Class’ by the GBCSA.
Expressing delight on the achievement, Chief Officer corporate affairs at Vodacom, Maya Makanjee, said, “We are very proud of this award because it is a testimony of our commitment to growing our business in a sustainable way. We all have a responsibility towards ensuring the sustainability of our communities, country and planet. The Innovation Centre, and what it aims to achieve, is a critical component of that philosophy.”
“The innovation centre is one example of our commitment to sustainability. The scale of challenges on our environment demands ambitious action and we are responding with a continued focus on innovation to cut our carbon emissions across our business” says Makanjee.
Apart from the Vodafone SSIC, other innovations implemented by Vodafone include the ‘power cube’ (a more efficient hybrid generator) and the use of slim-line solar ‘film’ as an alternative to solar panels for base stations in urban areas with limited space. The mobile company also created a portable base station that was powered entirely by renewable energy for the COP17 climate change conference in Durban last year.