May 16, 2020

Growthpoint Properties Dr Werner van Antwerpen receives Green Building Council of South Africa Chairman’s Award

The Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA)
Dr Werner van Antwerpen
Head of Sustainability at Growthpoint Properties
Seana Nkhahle
Catherine Sturman
4 min
Manfred Braune Chief Technical Officer of the GBCSA, Dr Werner van Antwerpen, Head of Sustainability at Growthpoint Properties and Seana Nkhahle, Chairperson of the GBCSA
The Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) today proudly recognised Dr Werner van Antwerpen, Head of Sustainability at Growthpoint Properties, as a...

The Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) today proudly recognised Dr Werner van Antwerpen, Head of Sustainability at Growthpoint Properties, as a true planet shaper, a great friend to green building in South Africa, and this year’s recipient of the GBCSA Chairman’s Award.

Seana Nkhahle, Chairperson of the GBCSA, described van Antwerpen as the proverbial “find of the century for the South African property industry, and in particular, for the green building sector.”

The award was announced at the annual Green Building Conference in Sandton Central.

Besides being Head of Sustainability for Growthpoint, van Antwerpen is the chair of the SAPOA Sustainability Committee, and a director and founder of ChildActive, a sports coaching academy in George.

Before joining Growthpoint he was an executive management consultant at Deloitte and before that an engineering consultant for a company that was working on South Africa’s Pebble Bed Modular Nuclear Reactor programme. He is a graduate of North West University where he received the coveted Harry Mandil Award for exceptional masters degree research, has an MBA from Hult Business School in London and a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from North West University.

“The vigour with which Werner has driven Growthpoint’s achievements as a green building leader are legend,” says Nkhahle. “He has also been pivotal in guiding our operation of the GBCSA Green Star SA Existing Building Performance rating system as well as a driver of the uptake of the Energy and Water Performance tool.”

Nkhahle adds: “We are hugely indebted to the manner and energy with which he and the team at Growthpoint partnered with the GBCSA in taking the Greenovate Programme from inception to implementation. This programme has already achieved recognition by SAPOA for Innovation and has received wide acclaim from the participating universities and our industry.”

The Growthpoint Greenovate Awards programme challenged students from the University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Pretoria to, as part of their honours studies, come up with ideas and a project to promote a more sustainable built environment. 

Nkhahle reports the first rounds of projects were of an exceptional standard and, apart from pitting our universities against each other in healthy competition, has had the effect of lifting the bar and exposing students to practical industry implementation. 

This year, the Greenovate Awards were expanded to include Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and University of the Free State.

Nkhahle reports that Growthpoint has embraced sustainability at a portfolio level, and have just submitted an unprecedented 28 projects for our Green Star Existing Building Performance rating. 

“Consider for a moment that we are just short of 200 certifications since our inception, and one sees the significance of a single submission of 28 projects!” Should all submissions receive certifications, Growthpoint will own or co-own a portfolio of 50 Green Star SA rated buildings. It already owns or co-owners the largest portfolio of Green Star SA certified building of any company in South Africa.

Growthpoint is a FTSE/JSE Socially Responsible Investment Index company and an index component of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI). It is a Platinum Founding Member of the GBCSA. Growthpoint owns and manages a diversified portfolio of 474 properties in South Africa, 57 properties in Australia through its investment in Growthpoint Properties Australia (GOZ) and a 50% interest in the properties at V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.

Norbert Sasse, CEO of Growthpoint, congratulated van Antwerpen on the award, saying: “Growthpoint has embarked on a journey of sustainable development and operations that is changing the way in which we do business for the better. We strive to be a leading green property owner, manager and developer for our clients and to ensure the long-term sustainability of our business. While our portfolio of properties is an excellent platform on which to build more sustainable urban environments, skilled and passionate people like Werner are pivotal to truly unlocking this potential.”

He adds: “Our team of talented, dedicated people have already achieved a lot and come a long way. We are even more excited about the future as we continue to innovate and create value while building a better, more sustainable, world.”

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Jul 30, 2021

University of Dresden constructs carbon concrete building

2 min
The Technical University of Dresden, collaborating with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the world’s first carbon fibre and concrete building

The Technical University of Dresden, in partnership with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the first building to be made out of concrete and carbon fibre, rather than traditional steel. 

The combination of materials, known as, “carbon concrete” has the same structural strength as its steel-reinforced alternative but less concrete is used, according to researchers at the university. 

The building, called “The Cube” is currently under construction at the University of Dresden’s campus in Germany, and is believed to be the first carbon concrete building in the world. Strengthening the concrete, the carbon fibre yarns are used to create a mesh into which the concrete is then poured.

Unlike steel, the mesh is rust-proof meaning that the lifespan of carbon concrete is longer than that of the more typical steel-reinforced concrete. This also allows the layers to be much thinner than steel. 

The design and shape of The Cube 

According to the companies, the flexibility of carbon fibre allows the walls to fold up and become a roof. In a statement talking about the building’s design elements, Hen said: “The design of The Cube reinterprets the fluid, textile nature of carbon fibres by seamlessly merging the ceiling and walls in a single form, suggesting a future architecture in which environmentally conscious design is paired with formal freedom and a radical rethinking of essential architectural elements.

"The wall and ceiling are no longer separate components but functionally merge into one another as an organic continuum.” Displayed as a showpiece for TU Dresden’s major project, backed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, The Cube aims to explore the potential uses of carbon concrete in construction. 

"Carbon concrete could contribute to more flexible and resource-saving construction processes, and switching to carbon concrete could reduce the CO2 emissions from construction by up to 50%," Henn said in a statement. 

Bio-based carbon fibre under development to reduce carbon footprint

While carbon fibre may be lighter and stronger than steel, it has a much higher carbon footprint. Describing the material’s impact on the environment, Dr Erik Frank, Senior Carbon Scientist at the German Institute of Textile and Fibre Research Denkendorf (DITF), said it is “usually very bad.” To reduce the carbon footprint, Frank is finding ways to make carbon fibre out of lignin, a common plant-based substance found in the paper manufacturing industry. 


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