Green-focused architecture consultancy Solid Green Consulting’s Rosebank offices were recently awarded 6-Star Green Star South Africa Interiors v1 certification for the incorporation of ecofriendly aspects.
Located on the second floor of an existing mixed-use commercial building on Tyrwhitt avenue, the 180 m2 premises are designed to accommodate 15 employees in a 120 m2 double-volume studio space, with an additional interlinked 60 m2 workspace and boardroom at mezzanine level. The public facilities – a meeting area and kitchenette – lead onto an outdoor terrace on the southern side, which is used as a “chill-out” and entertainment zone.
“We spend about 90% of our time indoors, either at work in our offices or at home. It is therefore only logical that we should focus more on how these interior spaces can support healthy living by improving the air quality of our indoor spaces,” states Solid Green director Marloes Reinink. Accordingly, strong emphasis is placed on the indoor environmental quality of the company’s offices to support employee wellbeing and comfort.
Full-height windows and glass sliding doors at both entrance and mezzanine level, together with strategically placed opening window sections, mean that natural lighting and ventilation are enhanced. Materials and finishes are carefully selected for improved thermal and acoustic comfort and to reduce the occupant’s exposure to pollutants.
Solid Green sustainable building consultant Jessé Hamman says: “The main focus was on enhancing the interior features of the space to make it not just function better within the different zones, but also more comfortable for the employees.”
Reinink adds that there is also a growing recognition of the benefits of heeding biophilia in Solid Green Consulting’s building designs, centring on the fact that humans have an innate connection to nature. “Connecting with nature reduces stress, enhances creativity and improves wellbeing. Research suggests that workers in office environments with natural elements report a 15% higher level of wellbeing and are 6% more productive, as well as 15% more creative.”
This philosophy permeates the spaces of the office in the form of indoor and outdoor planting. A ‘green wall’ leads from the entrance into the main workspace, plants are located through the openplan work areas, succulents form sculptural elements along the north-facing balcony overlooking the street and small-scale urban farming is planned for the open-air terrace.
The company’s signature green is also subtly incorporated into various furnishings and fittings, giving the spaces a bright, attractive quality, and the staircase connecting the entrance and mezzanine levels is a lightweight, sinuous vertical element.
For increased energy efficiency, radiant cooling and energy efficient equipment (laptops and printers are energy star-rated) have been specified. All light fittings use energy efficient light-emitting diode technology, with occupancy sensors.
Further, a 1.8 kW thin film solar photovoltaic system is located on the roof, which fully caters for the office’s energy requirements.
A key feature of the refurbishment is the installation of Solid Green’s own software, Solid Insight, which generates accurate and live metering data that can be accessed from any device with an Internet connection.
By integrating with the office’s smart-metering systems, the application enables automated billing for energy and water consumption, while environmental reporting is also handled automatically.
“Solid Insight is like Internet banking for your energy,” says Solid Green director Warren Gray, adding that, when users are provided with clear, real-time insight into the workings of their buildings, they are able to pursue sustainability goals as informed and responsible agents.
In addition, all the offices are fitted with reused or refurbished furniture, with the exception of a few new ergonomic office chairs.