Recently completed, Airports of Mauritius’ new corporate offices stand proudly at the entrance to SSR International Airport – and there’s more to the building than meets the eye. It has just been announced that it has been awarded LEED® GOLD certification, the first building in Mauritius to receive this distinction.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system has been developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and is the world’s foremost programme for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.
No-one is happier than Vikram Bhujun, the founder and managing director of Prodesign Engineering Consultants, whose firm was the building project’s LEED manager, taking the lead role in the overall LEED design, management and documentation: “It’s been a long process. USGBC sets very demanding standards, rightly so as it is how it has achieved worldwide recognition.”
Airports of Mauritius is the owner and operator of Mauritius’ SSR International Airport. In 2012, it commissioned a design competition for its new headquarters and Prodesign was part of the winning design team, led by J&A Architects. According to Bhujun, “This project had one great advantage – the design involved all the consultants from day one. Too often, clients and their lead consultant only start to think about the practical aspects of MEP works once a basic structure has already been designed, which makes the task of green building specialists like us much more complicated.
“For this project, we were able to take our lead from the holistic approach advocated by the USGBC. We designed the building around the LEED framework to optimise energy use and reduce waste, using recycled materials in the construction, reducing water usage through recycling, and harnessing daylight and natural ventilation. After initial hesitation – after all, the processes involved in achieving even basic LEED-certification are far from simple – AML agreed to go for a LEED qualification. Prodesign performed advanced energy modelling to achieve 25% energy savings on the ASHRAE 90.1 benchmark – which is remarkable in a tropical climate. We also were responsible for the documentation process with USGBC.
“As the process went on, AML increasingly recognised the cost and reputational benefits of the whole exercise and, by the time the building was completed, they were as excited as Prodesign about the possibility of achieving LEED GOLD status.”
In the words of AML’s Chairman, Roshan Seetohul,
“…AML has always supported sustainability initiatives and we wanted our head office to reflect our philosophy. We are very proud to be the first building in Mauritius to achieve a LEED certification and that too a gold one. We would like to thank our consulting team and all those who have contributed to this success. We encourage other to follow, given the fact that the green features have cost us only 3% extra.”
Slowly but surely, Mauritius is beginning to embrace green concepts. With this LEED Gold certificate, AML is delighted to be supporting the Greening of Mauritius.