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A green light for Lanseria Corporate Estate

Greywater garden irrigation at Lanseria Corporate estate

Lanseria Corporate Estate will use greywater for irrigation

Industry is often a red rag to the green movement, however one industrial hub is making sure of environmental sustainability, so much so that a new report on the carbon footprint of Lanseria Corporate Estate shows it has off-set its carbon footprint for the next 15 years.

This is a conservative estimate according to a comprehensive environmental assessment by global construction and management consultants Turner & Townsend.

The ultimate goal of developers is to create a platform for sustainable working environments which facilitates the use of natural light in an aesthetically pleasing surrounding with verdant planting which all underpins sustainable workplaces, and which are known to boost employee attraction, retention, productivity and wellbeing.

Lanseria Corporate Estate is a business park in every sense of the word, meticulously planned and to be lushly planted with indigenous vegetation, including 4,900 trees, not only to please the eyes but also to pay the development’s carbon debt.

Using South African specifications regarding the absorption of carbon by trees, the 78.73 tonne per year carbon emissions from the estate’s annual activities will be negated by the 96 tonnes per year of carbon dioxide sequestrated by the lush landscaping.

“This is after taking into account the likely 272-tonne carbon content of the grassland typifying the area before development,” explains Jurgen Erhart, of Lanseria Corporate Estate.

These impressive figures are based on research conducted by the University of Pretoria, which concludes that “the average urban tree will gain 500kg of carbon over a 15-year period, with a 60 percent survival rate,” according to the Turner & Townsend report.

Then, when the gardens are pruned, the estimated four tonnes of trimmed foliage will be composted or recycled, as will all suitable waste from the estate.

“However, carbon sequestration levels can vary,” says Erhart, “so we are not using these figures as the sole means of offsetting our emissions, but also creating a sustainable environment using multiple disciplines and resources.

Our green ethos is all-encompassing; we are determined to reduce our environmental impact.”

While the gardens are the most visible facet of environmental planning at the development, behind the scenes lies the most modern waste water works in all Gauteng — a joint venture between neighbouring Lanseria International Airport and Lanseria Corporate Estate.

Treated water is then returned to the environment for irrigation and other greywater uses, which should result in substantial water savings at the estate.

The owners of Lanseria Corporate Estate are already investing a massive R200-million into basic infrastructure, but investment is estimated to increase to R2-billion as development takes place over the next six years, all of it spent with a keen eye on minimising impact.

“The estate’s proximity to the world-renowned Cradle of Mankind heritage site is a constant reminder of the environmental sensitivity we face, and the importance of being true to our ecological values,” says Erhart.

“Companies and entrepreneurs can either rent or own premises here, knowing they’re making a sound, principled choice for the future of their business, as well as the planet.”

Lighting accounts for some 55% of the estate’s footprint, so as many bright ideas as possible are being exploited and various street lighting strategies keeping both environmental and financial costs down.

Of course, natural lighting is to be used extensively throughout the buildings because it is freely available and innately ecocentric, and also because it’s good for the soul, and has been shown to improve both the wellbeing and productivity of employees.

A recent study by the School of Planning, Design, and Construction at Michigan State University found that a green-certified work habitat meant a 60% decrease in allergies and asthma in staff, and a 30% drop in absenteeism due to depression and stress.

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