From installing meters and retrofitting lights, to conserving certain areas and incorporating ‘green star’ features into buildings, UCT is making significant strides in creating an environmentally friendly institution.
The green star rating is a tool developed by the Green Building Council of South Africa, based on the Australian Green Building Council tools, to provide the property industry with an objective measurement for green buildings. It also recognises and rewards environmental leadership.
To attain a green star rating, UCT has incorporated ‘green’ features into Obz Square residence, the new School of Economics and the new Student Administration Building on the middle campus. The concept of green star ratings, particularly for educational institutions, had not been formulated at the time that these buildings were designed, explained John Critien, executive director of the Properties & Services Department.
He said buildings under consideration (the new engineering building, Snape, Centlivres and the new lecture theatre), will respect the concepts contained in the university’s sustainability plan.
Among other steps towards sustainability, UCT is installing meters in many buildings as a first step to monitoring energy use, and has completed a report on the university’s carbon footprint, published in the SA Journal of Energy. UCT has also retrofitted low-energy bulbs, which now make up 85% of the lighting in campus buildings.
Critien noted that conservation areas in middle campus had been reserved for the Cape Rain Frog.
“This is one of their remaining habitats, and these frogs are an important early indicator of climate change.”
The Cottage below the Bremner Building has been renamed Breviceps Cottage, to acknowledge the importance of these frogs. (Breviceps is a genus of microhylid frogs). The Cottage is in the Green Belt, adjacent to the vice-chancellor’s residence, Glenara.
Another project is a bio-digester that is being tested at Leo Marquard Residence, which generates gas that can be fed back into the cooking process.
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