Zutari’s environmentally-sustainable design consultancy essential for Green Star rating first
8 September 2021: Leading consulting engineering and infrastructure advisory firm Zutari provided design and construction supervision of the mechanical services, as well as environmentally-sustainable design (ESD) consulting, at the new Cintocare Hospital in Menlyn Maine, Pretoria. It is the first Green Star South Africa Custom Healthcare certified hospital in South Africa and on the African continent. “The brief from developer Growthpoint was that Cintocare must set a new benchmark for sustainable design, construction and operation of a healthcare facility,” comments Yovka Raytcheva-Schaap, Associate, ESD Consulting & Project Management.
In a collaborative effort between Growthpoint, A3 Architects and the professional team, a design was conceived that expresses the purpose of the building as a modern, hi-tech medical-care facility with sustainability features that are artistically and seamlessly integrated. Examples include the high-performance double-glazed façade, water-efficient greenery in and outside the building, high-efficiency LED lighting, extensive glazing connecting to the outdoor environment and ample natural daylight. All of these elements contribute to the positive experience of the staff, patients and visitors, notes Raytcheva-Schaap.
The medical requirements were directed by a highly-specialised team of surgeons, medical staff and technical managers from Cintocare, supported by national and international regulations and guidelines, as well as best practice. Interestingly, the hospital was never intended to have an emergency department, but rather to create a healthcare facility that would allow leading-edge procedures using the latest technology.
Commenting on the importance of Zutari’s ESD consultancy on this project, Raytcheva-Schaap explains that the main aim of healthcare facilities is patient treatment and recovery, which places a high demand on resources when compared to other buildings. “As responsible citizens, we recognise the major challenges of our times, some of which relate to public healthcare and climate change.”
The development of this facility was carefully considered along these lines. Decisions related to sustainability and occupant well-being were made intrinsically in response to these major challenges. While the unobstructed large window areas provide excellent views, these also increased the radiant heat load and glare. High-performance glazing was modelled in advance so that the most ideal glazing and screening could be selected.
Water is essential for the operation of a building of such nature. However, design interventions were introduced to optimise water use as much as possible. These include a 60 m3 storage tank for rain-harvested water used for toilet flushing and car washing, as well as water-efficient fittings in all staff, patient and public ablutions.
Any building requires shafts for vertical reticulation of services. However, this type of building, with its multitude of integrated critical services, including medical gas, machine data and hot water reticulation, called for 3D design and coordination in order to optimise the space utilisation in shafts.
Raytcheva-Schaap concludes: “This was a groundbreaking work for the entire project team. Hospitals and their associated building services are more complex in comparison to commercial buildings. There are life-critical systems that cannot be compromised. Given that, we had to plan and design carefully to achieve the necessary energy and water performance to meet the rating goals. It was a steep learning curve for the entire team. However, the project has been hugely rewording and sets a sustainability standard for other healthcare facilities to follow.”