Vodacom underwent a dramatic visual transformation this year when launching the new red branding, but it seems that green is still close to the company’s core values. The telecommunications giant has announced plans to construct a green building that will function as an energy innovation centre. This green initiative is a joint venture with Vodacom’s parent company, UK-based Vodafone, and will see the construction of one of the greenest buildings in Africa.
This green building will be located at Vodacom’s head office in Midrand, South Africa, and will cost around R24 million to build. The eco building, named the Vodafone Innovation Centre, will house a team of energy experts who will focus on developing alternative, sustainable energy solutions with the goal of reducing carbon emissions on a global scale.
Pieter Uys, CEO of Vodacom, tells press that the team in the green building will explore energy efficient solutions such as solar panels and wind turbines as a means of reducing the company’s reliance on diesel generators, which produce CO2 emissions. Through this green initiative, Vodacom also hopes to provide greater connectivity to Africa’s isolated communities, some of which are off the electricity grid.
Vodacom is aiming high with this latest green initiative, and the new eco building could be the first in South Africa to meet the requirements for a 6-star rating from the country’s sustainable building certification scheme, Green Star South Africa. Below are a few of the design specs for this unique South African building:
· The building’s energy requirements will be powered by solar photovoltaic (PV) installation.
· Excess power generated by the green building’s PV system will be supplied to the neighbouring Vodacom service centre during the day. Electricity will be drawn from the service centre during the night.
· The green building will use a solar-thermal absorption chiller for air conditioning purposes.
· Green, energy-saving building technologies such as solar water heaters, double glazing, a grey water system and a rainwater collection system have been incorporated into the building’s design.
· The green building will also use a “rock store”, a method of pre-cooling the building by extracting air cooled by the rocks overnight. This should prove particularly effective in South Africa, where temperatures differ greatly from day to night.
Pieter Uys says that the project will deliver significant energy savings and cost savings for the business as well. The green building is due for completion later this year, and this eco initiative from Vodacom and Vodafone is certainly a commendable one; we’ll be watching with interest to see the results of the sustainable energy research.
Author: Bella Gray