Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Fynbloem Protea Packing Facility in Riviersonderend, South Africa by KUBE Architecture (designed using Photoshop and Autodesk Revit)
August 31st, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: KUBE Architecture
The client who has been exporting Proteas to the United Kingdom and Europe for a number of years under the FynBloem brand is investigating sea freight as an alternative to air – an entirely new concept for this type of product which would cut their carbon footprint down by up to 98%. This initiative is in response to Marks & Spencer’s Plan A requirements, which is aimed at combating climate change, reducing waste, using raw materials and trading ethically.
The first-of-its-kind Protea packing facility which is to act as the face of the brand, by celebrating the sustainable principals used in its construction, consists of two main components: A warehouse facility wherein the packing process takes place will be developed in 2 separate phases of approximately 3000m2 each. The smaller public component which will house offices, meeting rooms and exhibition/display facilities of approximately 300m2 is located on the north elevation in order to shield the northern face of the warehouse from sun as well as screening the warehouse itself from the public. Cooling costs inside the warehouse, where a constant temperature of 10C˚ is crucial, can be cut down significantly in this manner. Should demand necessitate, the possibility of a third warehouse phase would be added in the future.
The challenges inherent in this project involve the strict regulation of temperatures throughout the packaging process and complying with the M&S Plan A principles. The following sustainable measures will be implemented during the construction and functioning of the facility:
1. Environmental Stewardship
Water: Approximately 3000m2 of roof space in phases one and two will act as rainwater harvesters, discharging into rainwater tanks. The water would be fed back into the building under gravitational pressure. Water used in the process as well as for cleaning purposes will be channelled towards the dam where a reed bed filtration process will be used to purify the water, after which the water will be fed back into the farm or re-used in the pack shed.
Wood: The client has been in the process of clearing the farm of invasive tree species, Black Wattle, Port Jackson and Gum. The timber recycled from this process will be used for the manufacture of movable screens which would sit on the north elevation and will be used for passive solar control, thereby reducing the need for regular air-conditioning inside the office component. Plant waste generated by the pack house will be mulched and used for compost.
Rock: The operational requirement that the entire warehouse be on one level (both phases), dictates that a large section of the building be cut into the existing slope on the site. The rock salvaged during the excavation process will be used in part for the construction of the building. The use of sand and stones from the farm for the construction of the packing facility will also significantly cut down the CO2 emissions.
Sun: The roof structure which sits over the main circulation corridor will house the photo-voltaic panels which will be used to convert solar energy to electricity for use by the facility and, once fully implemented, would be able to supply excess electricity to the national grid.
Further Measures aimed at saving electricity:
Cooling at Night;
An electrical engineer has been employed to ensure the most efficient electrical system, which will be a huge saving. As there is no standard pack house against which to measure it is not possible to calculate the saving Refrigeration, which forms a large part of the electricity consumption, will be cut down in the following ways:
Equipment is specifically selected and designed to reduce the overall energy consumption and to minimize the ammonia charge. Anhydrous ammonia (R717) as a refrigerant is a natural gas, and has no negative environmental impact;
Approximate CO2 saving:
Based on the electrical engineers calculations, the ammonia systems uses 1590kwh less per day due to ammonia’s better c.o.p (coefficient of performance – refrigeration produced from electrical power used) This is the equivalent of 1,5 tons CO2 saved per day!! *
2. Social Responsibility
The social aspect of sustainability, which involves the improvement of living conditions, levels of education and social standards. Listed below are some of the measures which have been taken to ensure the current well being and future growth of the staff at Fynbloem:
Ethical trading: Fynbloem undertakes not to employ child or forced labour, allow freedom of association and collective bargaining, practise fair and legal disciplinary procedures and eradicate corruption. Application has been made for Sedex membership and a third party ETI audit will follow.
Non-discrimination: A policy of non- discrimination with regards to recruitment and employment practises if followed.
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