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The building industry is one of the largest; it is however also one of the most inefficient. The depletion of natural resources and the resulting need for sustainability has created an urgent need for Architects to address these issues and develop sustainable buildings that eliminate or substantially reduce waste and are more efficient and environmentally conscious.

The Valpre plant demonstrates design that is environmentally friendly and reacts to emerging sustainable needs. The recognition that the Plant is designed to high sustainable architecture standards is reflected in it being awarded a LEED Gold for the Administration Building and LEED Silver for the bottling plant building.

LEED-Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-is an internationally recognized mark of excellence operated through the U.S. Green Building Council. The program provides building owners and designers with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

The main design criterion for the Valpre Bottling Plant was to reduce and minimise energy and domestic water consumption. Many innovative solutions brought about energy savings by reducing heating and air conditioning costs and conserving electricity. To achieve these goals the plant was designed to maximise use of natural daylight though the installation of high level clearstory windows along the perimeter of the façade and the use of translucent sheeting on the roof. This has made artificial lighting in a vast majority of the plant unnecessary during a large part of the day, a sophisticated light sensor system was also installed to automatically switch lights on or off, as necessary, when external natural light levels fluctuate. In the offices each room contains occupancy sensors which allow lights and Air Conditioning to automatically turn off when a room is not occupied. Where possible, all the equipment specified for the building was of low energy consumption specification and the building envelope was heavily insulated to minimise the use of artificial heating in winter and cooling in summer. Preliminary results have shown that this high level of insulation has decreased energy used for air conditioning to minimal levels. The other concern was in reducing domestic water usage, to achieve this, water efficient taps and sanitary fittings (dual flush toilets) were installed and a water treatment plant was installed which has resulted in a 100% recycling of domestic water.

By using less energy and water, LEED certified buildings have the added benefit of saving money for businesses, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a healthier environment for workers and the larger community. The Valpre Bottling Plant project makes efficient use of natural resources, which results in an immediate, positive impact on our planet, and has further long-term benefits for future generations.

The Valpré bottling plant sets high standards for sustainable design in Industrial Architecture in South Africa.