Green technology driving new energy classroom
Chris Blackshaw, CEO of the Century City Property Owners’ Association, Leandi van der Vyver, Eco-Centre Co-ordinator, Alan Liebenberg, Century City’s Environmental Manager and Eban Pedlar of WSP Consulting Engineers who headed up the pro bono project team at the launch of the energy classroom for Intaka Island Environmental Education Centre
Innovative green technology has been used in the construction of a new energy classroom at Century City’s Intaka Island Environmental Education Centre to reduce the carbon footprint of the building.
Alan Liebenberg, Century City’s Environmental Manager, says the classroom has been designed to showcase alternative energy sources in situ and for it to be able to operate completely off the Eskom grid.
“To this end eight sun tubs or solar panels have been installed on the roof to harvest sunlight and to supply the classroom with electricity while large glass sliding doors have been installed to reduce the need for artificial lighting.
“When additional lighting is required it is supplied by LED bulbs which use less electricity than conventional light bulbs and so help decrease the energy usage of the building.
“However early next year we will be installing wind turbines and these, together with the solar panels, will ensure that the building will be able to operate completely off the grid. ”
Liebenberg said the vents and windows have been situated so as to allow optimal natural air flow so as to further reduce the energy demands of the south-facing building.
A further natural cooling measure has been implemented with the planting of a vertical garden on the north-facing wall. The plants absorbs the sunlight and incorporates this into their biological processes reducing the impact on temperatures in the area from radiation. The garden is watered via rainwater which is harvested from the roof and incorporated into Intaka Island’s water recycling system.
He added that the classroom was built with polystyrene bricks which have greater insulation properties than regular bricks and are also light weight and durable.