We are committed to the rebuilding and revitalising of provincial buildings into sustainable places in which to work and promote government initiatives.
With three significant building transformations under the belt and a number more on the agenda, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Public Works has embarked on a green agenda that seeks to prioritise sustainability.
This ambitious initiative underlines our commitment to the greening of all of our buildings over a period of time, both in new buildings as well as retro-fitting existing ones with energy efficient and saving devices. As part of KwaZulu-Natal Vision 2035, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Public Works has a green agenda in place, as articulated in the Medium Term Strategic Framework. The Department is the principal implementing agent for public infrastructure across the province and is proud to showcase three buildings that employed green compliance during construction. These include the Public Works Head Office in Pietermaritzburg, the Harry Gwala District in Ixopo and the Public Works Conference Centre in Mayville.
Public Works Head Office
191 Prince Alfred Street, Pietermaritzburg, houses the Department’s Head Office and is our flagship pilot study for the green building initiative for infrastructure across all provinces. Originally a nurse’s residence, a new wing was added parallel to the existing long and narrow building, enabling all Head Office employees to be housed in one building. The whole facility has been designed with energy consumption in mind and is fitted with progressive energy-efficient devices. Water-efficient fittings allow for significant reduction in water wastage, along with water tanks in which to store rain water.
Harry Gwala District
On the outskirts of Ixopo, in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, the Harry Gwala District was the first government building to receive a 5-Star Green Star SA design rating. The office embraces sustainable design principles by addressing energy efficiencies, energy saving, water conservation, waste management, transport and indoor environmental quality issues to ensure comfortable,
healthy indoor spaces as well as a lighter environmental footprint. The office building, phase 1 of a 4-phase project, consists of two single-storey buildings, which are long and narrow with
north-facing orientation as the important first step towards greening. The building uses locally sourced materials including face-brick, timber, insulation boards and aggregate for the
concrete. Energy consumption is reduced through natural lighting and ventilation and the facility does not require mechanical air conditioning. Heating and cooling is via underfloor water
pipes and an energy-efficient heat pump. High-efficiency lights are fitted with motion sensors and electrical sub-metering allows the building operator to monitor energy use. Solar water heaters provide hot water, and water-efficient fittings employed across
Above the building, an extensive roof garden has been planted with over 70 endemic species that only require a thin layer of soil to grow, thereby reducing the structural requirements of the roof. Besides insulating the offices below, the roof gardens bring a significant biodiversity boost to the area and contribute to the slowing of storm water run-off. The site was previously overgrown with invasive alien vegetation and has been landscaped using local indigenous plants to return it to its endemic Natal Mistbelt grassland habitat.
Public Works Conference Centre
As part of the pride in our commitment to good governance and prudent utilisation of resources, the Department converted a disused maintenance workshop into a modern, state-of-the-art conference centre in just 10 months. In converting an existing dilapidated structure that would otherwise have been demolished, we put into practice the key principle of sustainability, which seeks to reduce wastage by recycling and re-utilising. This is also part of management’s informed decision to reduce the increasing number of state buildings that are falling into disrepair. Although not green-rated, the project employed significant sustainable measures in its reconstruction and breathed new life into what was a derelict 1 250m2 concrete pre-cast shed. The transformed eThekwini Conference Centre boasts one large conference venue with a seating capacity of approximately 550 delegates, and three other differently sized multi-functional commission rooms capable of seating fewer numbers along with a minister’s office suite facility. In addition to the conference rooms, an entrance foyer, exhibition space, ablutions and minor function catering facilities have been provided. The conference centre provides a versatile facility for events and training hosted by the Department of Public Works as well as other provincial departments, and is one of the most novel options in KwaZulu-Natal for both small and large-scale events to promote government initiatives. As the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Public Works we are proud of what has been achieved along our green journey thus far, and excited for the road that lies ahead in making South African government buildings leading examples of sustainable infrastructure.