CTICC gets green makeover

The Cape Town International Convention
Centre is getting an extensive green
makeover. (Image: Rodger Bosch,
MediaClub South Africa. For more free
photos, visit the image library.)

Janine Erasmus

The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), an award-winning building that has been honoured numerous times for its advanced facilities, is about to undergo a R1.4-billion (US$100-million) expansion – one that will turn it into the greenest building in South Africa.

Known as Phase 2, the new extension will boast wind turbines to generate its own electricity, a water treatment system, on-site sorting and recycling of waste, and a growing roof, among other environmentally friendly features. When complete, the new-look CTICC will use 40% less electricity per square metre and 90% less potable water, and will send 25% less waste to landfill than its current version.

In order to achieve the reduction in power consumption several techniques will be used, such as daylighting, which refers to the controlled placing of windows, skylights and other transparent structures to admit as much natural light as possible and reduce the need for electric lighting. The new wing will also have its own renewable energy sources in the form of solar and wind power generators.

With the water treatment plant as well as the planned recycling of rainwater, collected during Cape Town’s fierce winter season, the CTICC will slash its reliance on piped water by a massive 90%.

The larger part of the 30 000m2 extension will be dedicated to environmentally friendly services, while an extra 9 500m2 of exhibition space will augment the existing 11 200m2. To encourage the use of green transport, the building will be incorporated into the city’s cycle routes, while extensive bicycle facilities will be available for staff and visitors.

Rashid Toefy, CEO of the CTICC holding company Convenco, said that the new wing will feature some of the most progressive environmentally friendly technologies available. “We expect the new building to set some of the best international standards in sustainable building design and management,” he said. “The future of South Africa’s conference industry will be tied to this country’s ability to reduce its carbon footprint.”

In fact, added Toefy, the expansion will not only propel Cape Town into the forefront of sustainable building design and management, but will continue to drive the city’s increasing standing as one of the leading business tourism destinations worldwide.

Feasibility and economic impact studies were conducted over six months. The expansion will be built on the site of the old Customs House on the other side of the N2 freeway from the present centre, and will overlook Table Bay. Building is estimated to take three to four years.

A valuable contribution

In the five years since its establishment the centre has grown from strength to strength, with conferences booked as far ahead as 2014. The CTICC has already contributed more than R9.5-billion ($1-billion) to the national economy and with the expansion it is expected to contribute a further R21.5-billion ($216-million) by 2013. In 2008 alone, according to economist Barry Standish and economic modeller Antony Boting of Cape Town University’s business school, the contribution to GDP was almost R2.7-billion ($273-million).

In terms of job creation CTICC created 3 744 direct jobs in the Western Cape during 2008, with more than 5 300 indirect jobs created nationally. In total some 9 000 people have found employment through the CTICC.

The centre has played a big role in the increased allure of Cape Town as a business tourism destination, and has also played host to a number of high-profile music and arts events. Besides the thousands of square metres of exhibition space the CTICC offers two stepped auditoria which seat 1 500 and 620 delegates each, a 2 000m2 grand ballroom which can accommodate up to 1 500 people, a roof terrace meeting room which overlooks Table Mountain, and 33 smaller meeting rooms which can hold from 25 to 330 people each.

It also boasts three restaurants, a catering division run by a team of internationally trained chefs, and cutting-edge IT infrastructure. Situated conveniently close to the city centre and a number of major hotels, including the integrated five-star ArabellaSheraton Grand Hotel, there is no shortage of nearby useful facilities for delegates and visitors.

As green as can be

Construction of the CTICC’s new wing will be carried out to the requirements set by the Green Building Council of South Africa. As green buildings, or buildings that are energy and resource efficient and environmentally responsible, become increasingly popular, the Council is leading the transformation of the local property industry to ensure that all buildings are designed, built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way for the benefit of all South Africans.

Toefy expects the new CTICC to receive six green stars from the Council, which will begin its Green Star SA rating program in December 2008. This is the highest rating achievable.

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