Cape Quarter to undergo greening transformation

The Cape Quarter, the flagship property within the Tower Property Funds portfolio, is set to soon undergo an extensive greening transformation as part of the funds greening and occupancy cost reduction strategy.

The Tower Property Fund, which listed in July 2013 on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange under the new REIT structure, has set a clear strategy of occupancy cost reduction across the board for all the buildings within the fund’s portfolio, with a strong focus on “greening” underpinning the fund.

“Tightly managed and controlled operational costs mitigate pressure on headline rentals allowing for predictable, sustainable, growth into the future,” says Marc Edwards, Chief Executive Officer of Tower.

Amongst the initiatives that will be rolled out at the Cape Quarter is a lighting retrofit in all the common areas as well as the basement parking area.

“All the florescent lighting in the parking area will be retrofitted with LED lighting. The cove lighting in the common areas at the Cape Quarter will be replaced with LED strip lighting – allowing for a visual upgrade as well as the obvious energy use reduction,” explains Simon Penso, National Facilities Manager for Spire Property Management, who, as the managing agents of the Cape Quarter are carrying out the greening transformation. “It has been calculated that this lighting retrofit alone will result in an approximate 805 360 kWh reduction in consumption per year as well as an approximate 885 896kg reduction in annual CO2 output for the Cape Quarter.”

“We will also be offering package deals to the tenants at the Cape Quarter who would like to also undergo a lighting retrofit,” says Penso.

Another initiative that will be rolled out at the Cape Quarter is a basement fan sensor system. “Currently the extraction fans within the parking basement at the Cape Quarter run constantly. Now, sensors will be installed that will monitor the carbon monoxide levels and switch on the extraction fans only when needed. It is estimated that there will be a 70% reduction in the running time of these fans resulting in an approximate 527 352 kWh reduction per year and an approximate 580 087kg reduction in CO2 per year.”

Penso explains that the Cape Quarter already has waterless urinals as well as an active recycling programme in place. “Currently the Cape Quarter recycles approximately 40% of all the waste generated on site. We are always looking for ways to improve this figure and are currently investigating the viability of a bio-digester to process all the wet waste that comes from the restaurants at the Cape Quarter as well as a small bio-diesel plant which will turn all the vegetable oil from the restaurants into bio-diesel to fuel the centre’s generator, which is used whenever the municipal grid is under pressure.”

“We have researched the possibility of a grey water system and rain water harvesting at the Cape Quarter, however all the pipes are encased in columns and therefore is not a viable initiative at this time” says Penso.

Other initiatives that are being researched for future roll-out are escalator sensors that will only power the escalators when someone is on them, heat pumps as well as the installation of PV solar for the Cape Quarter. The Cape Quarter has been accepted as one of the pilot buildings for the new Green Building Council’s Existing Buildings Rating Tool, this will allow the centre to obtain a Green Star Rating explains Penso.

Edwards explains that Tower will also use the Energy and Water Benchmarking Tool of the Green Building Council, which will allow them to measure how a building is performing in terms of energy and water consumption compared to industry norms.

“Recent global research has shown that green buildings outperform normal buildings significantly – on average achieving rental premiums of 6%, capital value improvement of 12%, while reducing operating costs by 30%,” explains Edwards. “As the funds flagship building we will be rolling out these green/occupancy cost reduction measures at Cape Quarter first, but this will soon be followed by similar initiatives at all of our buildings within the portfolio.”

For more information on the Tower Property Fund contact (021) 685 4020.

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