Sustainable by design 2050

An initiative of the UIA

Velux model home 2020




Vodafone Green Innovation Centre

Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Vodafone Green Innovation Centre
Grosskopff Lombart Huyberechts & Associate Architects
WSP Consulting Engineers - Structural, WSP Consulting Engineers - Machanical, One Zero Consulting, WSP Consulting Engineers - Wet Services
Further Specialists
WSP Green by Design - Green Consultants
Africa - South Africa - Johannesburg
Climate Zone
Design status
Date of completion
Site area (m²)
Footprint (m²)
GFA (m²)
NFA (m²)
Gross Volume (GV) (m³)
Building Costs
1794841 EUR
Building Costs / m² GFA
Building Costs / m² NFA
Building Costs / m³ GV
Primary Energy (kWh/m²a)
Heating Energy (kWh/m²a)
Cooling / Heating-System

The Vodafone Science Solutions Centre has been developed as a 6 green star rated building located on the Vodacom World Campus in Midrand, Johannesburg.
The building shall be conditioned by means of a solar powered absorption chiller, thermally active slab and a chilled water air handling unit.
Hot water required to ‘power' the absorption chiller is generated by evacuated tube solar collectors mounted on the roof of the building.
Conditioning of the space is achieved by distributing the chilled water produced by the absorption chiller to the following terminal devices;
§ The pipework labyrinth cast into the screed
Chilled water is circulated through the pipework to cool the large thermal mass available in the concrete slab and screed. The slab is maintained at ±21°C thus providing radiant cooling to the space.
§ An air handling unit located beneath the building
A gabion rock store beneath the building is utilised to pre-cool the outdoor air before in enters the air handling unit and passes over the filter media and chilled water cooling coil. The design is a full fresh air system with no recirculated air.
Conditioned air enters the space via floor mounted linear grilles along the entire outer and inner perimeter of the space. The 100% outdoor air system requires pressure relief from the space. This is achieved by means of high level pressure relief transfer air grilles located in the central core of the space.
When ambient conditions allow the air handling unit will utilise and economy cycle damper which allows air to bypass the rock store (the chilled water supply to the cooling coil will be halted in this condition)
Heating of the occupied space shall be provided for by means of a hot water coil in the air handling unit and the warm air distributed into the space through the above mentioned floor grilles. The hot water source shall be either the solar energy collectors or the heating cycle of the chiller dependant on ambient conditions.
§ The internal fins with the occupied space
The three sets of fins located within the occupied space shall serve two purposes. Firstly to provide additional radiant cooling to specified area's. Chilled water shall be passed though these fins. Secondly they shall provide the option to isolate certain area's within the space i.e. boardrooms by manually rotating the fins.
The heat rejection requirements for the chiller are provided for by an air-air heat exchanger (dry cooler). No water is used in this process. Ambient airflow to this dry cooler is pre-cooled prior to entering the coil by being drawn through the gabion rock store beneath the building. The two sections of the rock store are independent of each other i.e. one bank of gabions for the space supply air and another bank of gabion rock store for the dry cooler.The HVAC system shall be fully integrated with Building Management System (BMS) for optimal energy use and system commissioning.

Use of renewable ressources - low tech
natural cross ventilation, use of high thermal mass
Use of renewable ressources - high tech
solar heating, solar cooling, photovoltaics, energy storage, thermal building mass activation
Renewable, recycled, recyclable and innovative materials

The Vodafone Site Solution Innovation Centre will represent a Centre of Excellence through Industry Experts and Sustainable Initiatives serving to fulfil the following functions:

  • Area of Innovation of technology and broadcasting and Monitoring of global sites to serve current needs within the Vodafone market
  • Area to share best practice with Vodafone experts from the Group and Partner Markets
  • Area to showcase sustainable building design and technology

It is targeted to build the Site Solution Innovation Centre using Green Innovative construction methods on an existing parking lot at the Vodacom Campus in South Africa. The following aspects will form the framework for the design and green initiatives within the building:

  • The Innovation Centre through its green initiatives and modern and cutting edge architecture incorporating passive design elements will represent Vodafone's sustainability strategy aligned with the Vodafone branding provisions.
  • Targeted as a carbon neutral building powered with renewable energy and using innovative cooling and heating technologies which will represent a feasible green initiative for existing/new buildings in the future
  • The Showcase area open to Customers, shareholders, Investors, Analysts, Press, General Public will highlight Vodafone's commitment towards sustainable built environments through its green initiatives within their sites around the world
  • The Vodafone Site solution Innovation Centre will represent Vodafone's Positioning against competitors in the green sector

The Vodafone Site Solution Innovation centre will strive to maximise the use of renewable, recycled and innovative materials.
Renewable - FSC Timber for the roof, structural column and external pergola structures
Recycled - Rock for the gabion walls; on site aggregate from parking lot reused in reinforced earthworks and site fill; fly ash in concrete, salvaged steel in reinforcing; recycled steel content all steel elements; reclaimed PET bottles in bidum mats; external walkway paving
Recyclable - Façade glazing, rocks from gabions, timber of structural roof and columns, bricks, external paving
Innovative materials
Reinforced earth foundations
Gabion rocks as foundation
Solyndra PV Panels - never been used before in South Africa
Combined use of rockstore, for precooling of external air; solar thermal absorption chiller; and thermally activated slab - a South African first.
Eucalyptus gumpoles for the structural columns
Timber roof structure is not commonly used in South Africa

Key Sustainability aspects
solar building integration, vernacular building strategies, public spaces, accessability for disabled, renewable building materials, recycling and reuse, ecological building materials, innovative bulding materials, integrated planning process, participation of users in planning process, use of innovative design tools, zero energy design, plus energy design
Sustainability rated
Social and ethical responsibility

Ethical responsibility to design and build the Vodafone SSIC by identifying and implementing the least environmentally damaging methods using low embodied carbon materials, highly recyclable products and giving preference to the use of recycled materials thus contributing to a environment that is sustainable for society. Social responsibility by supporting local industries and products ensures a demand for product in addition to the reduced carbon miles associated with transportation. Construction systems used which required high manual labour - provided work opportunities for more than if adopted other building techniques

Ressource efficiency and environmental impact

Reuse and recycling of materials - diverts materials away from landfill, creates jobs in the green economy refurbishing and recycling materials, much lower embodied energy content associated with recycled materials, does not deplete virgin raw materials at the same rate.
Dematerialisation - using one material to satisfy more than one purpose (i.e. floor levelling screed is final finish), absolute reduction of concrete and steel in the building.
Disassembly - at end of useful life all components of the structure (floor slab, roof support pillars, roof structure and glass façade may be disassembled)
Sustainable materials such as high fly ash cement, FSC timber, recyclable glass
Building operation to reduce environmental impact through use of PV power for energy, solar thermal energy for cooling, passive technologies - large overhangs and rock stores
Low water requirements within building and landscaping through fittings, grey water recycling, rainwater harvesting and selection of indigenous and drought resistant plant

Economic lifecycle perfomance

The Vodafone SSIC is a prototype for the minimisation of water and electrical consumption for the life of the buiolding. Through the initial investment in the photovoltaic cells, mechanical solar panels, wetland and grey water harvesting the operational costs will be drastically reduced. The photovoltaic panels will create a carbon neutral building which will generate 100% of its own electricity, the rain water harvesting and grey water treatment will reduce fresh water consumption within the building and landscape and the design of the mechanical system will ensure that the operational costs will be approximately halved.

Contextual performance and impact

The building to be used as a learning tool to monitor and evaluate the innovative techniques used in the construction of the building with regards to the energy production and consumption through PV Cells; thermal performance of HVAC through a combination of Thermal rock stores, solar panels, thermally activated slab and the dry cooling system; water use within the landscape and the efficacy of the wetland for purifying water.
Indoor pollutants and indoor quality to be measured in relation to natural lights and external views - good for well being; Low VOC products - paints in toilet block, sealants, adhesives used, low formaldehyde resins in composite timber products; and very high levels of fresh air with no reticulation