COP 17 venue shows off its ‘green’ side

25 November 2011

Durban’s International Convention Centre (ICC), venue for the UN climate summit kicking off on Monday, has a strong environmental vision and policy – it recently obtained its ISO14001 certification – and already boasts a number of “green” features.

The ISO14001 certification recognises the building’s world-class, high-tech design, which has incorporated “green” elements such as large glass facades for natural lighting, energy-efficient light fittings and air conditioning systems, and indigenous landscaping.

Indigenous gardening

The centre’s gardens are populated predominantly with indigenous plant species local to KwaZulu-Natal, resulting in limited need for irrigation. The exception is the three Baobab trees, which were planted as cultural icons to represent the three major cultural groups in the province.

Culinary herbs are grown on the premises for usage in the kitchen, which serves the majority of catering needs at the ICC. A wider variety of herbs and vegetables are expected to be planted soon.

The ICC has a stringent waste separation policy, which aims to achieve the maximum possible volume of waste being sent for recycling. During the first half of 2011, more than 50 percent of the waste generated at the ICC and the parallel Durban Exhibition Centre (DEC) was recycled.

Energy efficiency retro-fit

Ahead of COP 17, both the ICC and DEC have recently undergone an energy efficiency retro-fit, and it is anticipated that energy requirements of the complex will be reduced by 215kW – approximately seven percent of the current total demand.

Other interventions include reducing the supply of bottled water for events and functions, using bio-degradable packaging products, and minimising the use of disposable catering equipment.

Through a recent partnership project between the eThekwini Municipality, Philips Lighting Southern Africa and Eskom, 155 street lights in the ICC precinct have been retro-fitted with energy-efficient Iridium LED street lights.

In addition, four of the major road intersections around the ICC have been fitted with solar traffic lighting.

Julie-May Ellingson, the ICC’s chief executive officer, said her team had worked hard to achieve the certification.

“We are delighted to receive the ISO 14001 certification, in addition to the ISO9001 and ISO 22000 certifications, confirming ICC Durban’s dedication to high-quality management practices,” Ellingson said.

“It is a huge stamp of quality for our organization and one that our team worked very hard to achieve. Our clients and key stakeholders can be assured that we have become an industry leader effecting positive change in preserving our environment.”

Source: BuaNews