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Woolworths Palmyra store receives South Africa’s first 5-star retail tenant green building rating

| Awards and achievements

The Woolworths Palmyra store in Claremont, Cape Town has become the first retail outlet in South Africa to achieve a 5-star rating certified by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), using the Green Star SA – Existing Building Performance Custom Tenant rating tool.

Since opening its doors in 2010, the food market store has always been ground-breaking when it comes to advanced green building features. The Palmyra store set the benchmark within the Woolworths property portfolio, meeting the requirements for a platinum rating of the Woolworths SA Real Estate Division’s own green assessment programme. This is an internal rating system that is independently audited by Ernst & Young (EY) each year.

Now, also ratified by the GBCSA, the Woolworths Palmyra store stands as South Africa’s greenest retail tenant environment. It has a long list of environmentally-friendly features including automated doors that help maintain the interior temperature, reclaimed heat from the refrigeration system and air conditioning that is used for under-floor heating, harvested rainwater that is used to flush the toilets, a CO2 refrigeration system, skylights that optimise natural light and fully automated lighting that guarantees no energy is wasted on lighting when natural light is available.

“GBCSA congratulates Woolworths on embracing green building practices and leading the way in creating more sustainable retail outlets in the country such as this one, and for having this independently verified through the country’s leading authority on green buildings,” says Manfred Braune, Chief Technical Officer of the GBCSA. “This is not just about doing the right thing, although that is, of course vital in the face of our local and global environmental challenges. It also makes good business sense to be investing in renewable energy, water harvesting and using innovative energy and water saving practices.  Going forward, we look forward to seeing more green transformation in the retail industry in South Africa.”

GBCSA promotes green building programmes to encourage the property industry to transform to sustainable development practices. It provides various Green Star SA rating tools so that the industry can measure its design, construction and operational practices according to recognised benchmarks. Woolworths had the Palmyra store assessed using the GBCSA’s Green Star SA - Existing Building Performance Custom Tenant Rating Tool v1 and achieved a 5-star rating, which classifies the project as ‘South African Excellence’. The rating tool is a measure of the store’s environmental performance over a period of 12 months in operation, and is valid for three years before it expires.

The evaluation considered nine impact categories – Management, Indoor Environment Quality, Energy, Transport, Water, Materials, Land-use & Ecology, Emissions and Innovation. The submission to the GBCSA was prepared by Terramanzi Group, through their team of Green Star SA Accredited Professionals.

Justin Smith, Woolworths’ Group Head of Sustainability says “We’re delighted by this recognition of Woolies Palmyra’s green credentials. The store has become an important blueprint, and we use it as a model in our ongoing efforts to develop greener retail environments across the Group.  In addition, as part of our Green Building Programme, we made our biggest single investment in sustainability last year with the installation of an R 16.8 million solar PV system at our Midrand Distribution Centre. This has resulted in between 26% to 34% of the centre’s energy being generated from a perfectly renewable, clean source.  We will continue to reduce our climate change impact by adopting and implementing green building practices across our business.”

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