The Green Lifestyle
Saving water leads to saving money and resources
The writing is on the wall - it is no longer a question of whether earth's resources will run out, but when - unless mankind changes its habits drastically!
From the loss of biodiversity with the felling of rainforests or over fishing, to the negative effect our consumption patterns are having on the environment and the climate, our way of life is placing an increasing burden on the planet, which cannot be sustained.
Fortunately governments, captains of industry and the normal man in the street are realising that sustainable development is paramount to our planets survival and are entrenching programs to reduce negative impacts on the environment.
Taking a lead in the local retail property market in this regard is the Fountainhead Property Trust (FPT), the owners of Brightwater Commons in Johannesburg.
Having just launched Brightwater Commons' Carbon Offsetting Program, in conjunction with the turn-key sustainable development company, OrganiCarbon and Cheryl Adamson and Amanda Grobler of A-Z Philosophy, astute trackers of local and international consumer trends in the retail industry, greener days lie ahead for the centre.
"Not only do buildings utilize a substantial portion of the world's energy (with some figures as high as 70%) but corporate properties, like Brightwater Commons, are also a major source of waste generation and a huge consumer of water resources," says Cheryl Adamson.
This (waste generation and water consumption) will therefore be one of the areas in which Brightwater Commons will concentrate to reduce the centre's carbon footprint while supporting its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) statements and to prove its environmental performance, as launched on 20 October 2008.
"During our CO2 assessment of Brightwater it was found that an additional CO2 footprint was created with the transport of un-compacted waste from one of the major tenants to the nearest waste collection point in the centre. By installing a waste collection point closer to this major, which has already been done, the CO2 footprint for waste transportation can be nearly halved," said Karen van Helsdingen, OrganiCarbons CEO.
Other waste collection points on site have also been upgraded to assist and improve the centre and tenant's effectiveness in disposing of waste in an environmentally responsible manor.
By introducing waste separation at source a total saving of 45% on the waste removal bill of the centre could be achieved but this would be a long term objective as it would need the buy-in of tenants.
Half of all waste at Brightwater is classified as wet waste and as the centre lends itself to a worm farm this could be an innovative project to be tackled in the future in conjunction with a tenant. "This in itself will not drastically reduce or remove CO2 emissions as methane gas is emitted through the process it will however create an augmentation for waste which would have been disposed on a landfill site and produce methane gas anyway," she says.
While the centre uses a substantial amount of water it already has systems in place that support the green cause, namely the biofilters installed for the filtration of the wet areas. These Sud-Chemie biofilters create a lot of environmental value for the centre as it ensures a natural environment without chemicals for the river eco-system running through the centre.
Furthermore the centre has the ability to introduce run off and rain water back into the irrigation system with OrganiCarbon's assessment showing the ideal area for storage tanks for this use would be located in the same environment as the bio filters.
"While implementing the system would cost a substantial amount we project this would create a massive saving in water consumption of 48 764kl of water per annum, not to mention be very cost effective in the long run," adds Van Helsdingen.
"We see the installation of these storage tanks as one of the priorities in our 'Going Green' initiative and are currently looking at the feasibility and what our best option would be," added Clive Saunders, Operations Manager for Brightwater Commons.
Although Brightwater Commons has evolved from being a water front entertainment destination to a shopping centre with open spaces and an environmental feel, water is still an integral part of its make-up. "It is thus essential to the centre's sustainability that we preserve and utilise our water resources to the best of our ability," remarks Saunders.
And it is not just the water on site that is of concern to management at the centre. Having long aligned itself with assisting and contributing positively to the surrounding community Brightwater Commons is also actively involved in keeping the water running towards the centre through the nearby bird sanctuary as clean as possible.
"Twice a week a Brightwater team visits the sanctuary to clean the water trap and cut the grass verges in the sanctuary when necessary, further contributing to the centre's commitment to a sustainable future," concludes Saunders.
© The Brightwater Commons | Printed from www.brightwatercommons.co.za/green/carbon_offsetting.html
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8am - 6pm
Sundays / Holidays:
9am - 3pm
Tel: +27 11 789 5052
Republic Rd, Randburg
The Brightwater Commons Shopping Centre, your green shopping solution to your lifestyle blues, invites you to enjoy the most vibrant shopping in a calm, tranquil and relaxed atmosphere.
GPS Coordinates-26° 6' 13.93", +27° 59' 36.01"