Capricorn Corner lauded for design excellence
STANDING PROUD: Capricorn Corner, situated in Klein Windhoek.Photo: Contributed

Capricorn Corner lauded for design excellence

On 28 March, the Capricorn Corner building - Capricorn Group's state-of-the-art office facilities in Klein Windhoek - earned an 'Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies' (EDGE) advanced green building certification from the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The certification, presented by EDGE certification partner Green Business Building Certification Inc. (GBCI), marks the first internationally recognised operational building to be EDGE-certified in Namibia. This achievement also preludes this year's World Earth Day, highlighting the group's progress in environmental stewardship.

The IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank group. EDGE is an online platform, a green building standard and a certification system for more than 170 countries. It was created in response to the need for a measurable solution to prove the financial case for building green and help jump-start the mainstreaming of green buildings.

EDGE empowers building professionals to quickly and easily determine the most cost-effective ways to build green based on occupant behaviour, building type and the local climate.



World-class standards

Capricorn Corner was designed according to world-class standards to be future-proof, environmentally friendly and safe to meet the current needs of employees and the future workforce. Windhoek Consulting Engineers was contracted to assist with the green building certification process. Meanwhile, Solid Green Consulting handled the auditing process. As a result, Capricorn Corner's design choices achieved a post-construction EDGE advanced certification with 100% energy savings, 36% water savings and 46% savings in embodied carbon in materials. Janus van der Merwe, the director of mechanical, fire and green buildings at Windhoek Consulting Engineers, said the certification meets an exceptional level of environmental performance and solidifies the Capricorn Group's commitment to supporting green building developments, which will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the larger community. "This milestone is significant because it marks Namibia's first EDGE advanced certification," he added.

"Capricorn Group, with their signature Capricorn Corner building, has set the bar for demonstrating how major business projects can be designed, built and certified as resource-efficient in Namibia," Lenore Cairncross, the green building lead for IFC in Africa, said. "With this important project, Capricorn Group has the potential to increase local employment opportunities and bring value to customers while keeping operational carbon impacts to a minimum."

Capricorn Corner, located at the intersection of Nelson Mandela Avenue and Hofmeyer Street in Klein Windhoek, was opened in November 2021 amidst the economic impact of Covid-19. Despite the ongoing crisis, Capricorn Group's board understood the positive impact this project could have on the economy by creating jobs.

While other companies were cutting capital expenditure and postponing investments, Capricorn Group boldly decided to invest in this project. The investment in Capricorn Corner helped secure 250 jobs for 16 months and injected N$110 million into the economy.



Lower carbon footprint

"Building green allows us to reduce our consumption of natural resources and reduces the environmental impact of our buildings. Commercially, ensuring a lower carbon footprint reduces Capricorn Corner's operational costs and leads to a better return for our shareholders. This ultimately makes the Capricorn Corner a sound business location for us and customers, leading to increased asset values and a defensible investment," Johan Maass, Capricorn Group's chief financial officer, said.

Commenting on the achievement, Ruan Bestbier, Capricorn Group head of sustainability, said: "Sustainability is central to our purpose and the group's strategic imperatives, and achieving the EDGE advanced certification supports our commitment to integrating sustainable practices and investing with responsibility. The Capricorn Corner building excels in energy efficiency and reducing our environmental footprint. It has also significantly enriched the surrounding communities since its inception by generating employment opportunities, driving sustainable growth and nurturing a culture oriented towards sustainability," he said.

"As responsible corporate citizens, we are dedicated to promoting sustainable development in Namibia, ensuring that our projects incorporate eco-friendly features and deliver social and economic benefits to the communities where we invest and operate."

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