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BLOG: Counting the drops with WWF’s Braamie army

Melissa du Preez has experienced first-hand, what it’s like working at the WWF three-storey 6-star green building in Braamfontein that survives on less water than an average household every day.

By Melissa du Preez

I had watched the 6-star green building in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, being built from afar and when I was given the chance to work in it, I leapt at the opportunity.

I’ve never looked back.

It’s meant that I can make a considerable impact on cutting water wastage without having to give it a second thought.

In the process, I uncovered an interesting pattern: When business operations are framed around saving water, it becomes second nature for staff.

Sure, there’s an adjustment period but it doesn’t last more than a day or two.

Every drop counts – really!

At the core of WWF’s Braamfontein building is a self-sufficient water supply system. From the water in the loos to irrigation of the rooftop garden – every drop is recycled in-house. 

Hot water is pre-heated via a rooftop solar system and stored within an insulated geyser. Hot water is only available in the two smaller kitchens and main one on the top floor as well as the shower on the ground floor.

WWF’s Kassie Khanye does his part to reduce the amount of water he uses every day.

Consumption is dramatically reduced through the on-site treatment of effluent water. Treated water is then reused within the building to flush toilets and irrigate the roof-top garden.

Not pretty but effective. Waste water is treated on-site for use in the building.

To keep the garden thriving, rainwater is also collected from both the upper and lower roofs, channelled to the basement, filtered and then reused by pumping it back up to the rooftop holding tank. An automated drip irrigation system delivers optimal quantities of water to the indigenous plants on the rooftop.

The rooftop garden only houses indigenous plants – mostly succulents.

Dual flush toilets, waterless urinals, a water-efficient shower and low-flow taps mean we hardly have to tap into the municipal water supply.

Reminders to save water are everywhere!

With all of these measures built into our day-to-day, we continue without pause. It’s obvious that the habit of bringing water-saving to the office lies in the commitment of the company or organisation. We can play our part by calling for these changes in our work spaces and supporting our peers in going green.
The WWF office in Braamfontein is a benchmark in sustainability and green building design.

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