A major green feature of the building’s architecture, a nod to the sustainable ethos of Savannah East, is the Living Wall, the first of its kind in Trinidad and TobagoLEARN MORE scroll down
As a leading development company, RGM wanted a new speculative office building that would not only represent contemporary design and take advantage of a premium location, but integrate modern sustainable technologies to realise a trendsetting and truly green Caribbean workspace as well.
Savannah East joins a select group of buildings that directly fronts the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain. Located to the east of the Savannah on a T-shaped property, the site slopes gently from north to south. Main access is off Queen’s Park East, with emergency access to the south, on Park Avenue.
The 6-storey office building comprises a single block, suspended on freestanding columns, over two levels of underground parking. The building floor plate closely follows the general shape of the land, rectangular for the most part, but tapering to the rear to comply with setbacks and other regulatory requirements.
Two levels of underground parking provide the bulk of the car parking for the building. The basement parking area is well served with easily accessible emergency exit stairs for direct access to ground floor escape points. There will be two separate ramp systems to the property: a linear access ramp accessible off Queen’s Park East so that the free flow of traffic will not be hampered, and a semi-circular ramp from the basement levels to the ground floor.
Installed on the Savannah East rooftop are cleverly integrated building and landscaped spaces that collectively allow for a range of recreational activities geared towards the individual’s wellness and the promotion of a healthy and enjoyable working environment. Enclosed, semi-enclosed, and open spaces ﬂow seamlessly among one another. Curvilinear planters, creating lush semi-private and open spaces, will encourage the building’s occupants to spend time relaxing, interacting, exercising, walking, or simply sitting quietly. 10 laps around the free-formed planters are equivalent to 1 km, making the roof deck the perfect location for light, safe workouts. A small gym is also located on the rooftop; its walls are predominantly made up of glass so that users of the gym can enjoy the panoramic views.
The lounge, bar, and covered rooftop areas make the roof deck a comfortable location for the building’s occupants to have their lunch or host small office functions. There is also a large, circular terrace that opens outward, capturing the stunning views across the Queen’s Park Savannah. A glass balustrade will be placed on the edge of the terrace to continue the feeling of openness, and a smaller terrace (located on Level 6) will connect with the one above by way of a semi-circular stairway. It will offer a quieter, more intimate rooftop experience. A trellis at this level provides limited spatial closure for informal meetings.
To take advantage of the sunset views, the western facade has large, linear balconies stretching across most of the elevation on the upper four levels. Floor to ceiling insulated glass along the building’s northwest edge enhances the Savannah views.
A major green feature of the building’s envelope, a nod to the sustainable ethos of Savannah East, is a linear Living Wall on the northwest corner of the ground ﬂoor. This wall comprises a variety of local decorative plants installed on a special rooting media and irrigated by way of a vertical hydroponics system. The Living Wall will be the ﬁ rst of its kind in Trinidad and Tobago.
Over 85% of the building’s exterior is clad with glass ﬁbre reinforced concrete panels. Each panel has a large ﬁxed double-pane insulated glass panel within, visually connecting the indoor and outdoor spaces and ﬂooding the building with natural light – a critical element when it comes to enhancing energy and productivity levels.
Savannah East sits on the eastern edge of the city, bordering the mainly residential district of Belmont, which in turn sits on the foothills of Laventille. This is an area that has given the country some of its greatest musical, artistic, and cultural contributions.
With a clear focus on sustainability, and utilising multiple technologies including photo voltaics, insulated glazing, natural lighting infusion, fresh air ventilation, water recycling, and other technologies, Savannah East is designed to substantially decrease resource consumption. The building has been designed with sustainable materials, utilising construction and waste management techniques, in order to be a candidate for LEED Silver Certification.
An array of photovoltaic panels installed at the roof level will energise the majority of LED lights in the building. High-efﬁciency air-conditioning units provide signiﬁcantly reduced energy loads when compared to standard chilled water systems. The refrigerant, which is in line with Montreal Protocol 1997, helps with energy optimisation in these units. A heat recovery unit at roof level uses exhaust air to cool the warmer fresh air intake, adding to the energy efﬁciency of the entire system. Condensate from the A/C systems will also be piped to storage tanks and used for irrigation. A combination of planters and grass further reduces heat in the building’s outdoor areas.
EXERCISE + FITNESS
EXERCISE + FITNESS
In keeping with LEED, and a commitment to holistic living and general wellness, RGM has provided the appropriate facilities for tenants to work fitness into their daily routine.
On the roof, facing the north east, there is an air-conditioned gym with lockers and washroom/shower facilities. The gym is enclosed with full height glass walls, offering pleasant views of the lush, peaceful garden court. The gym will house four commercial aerobic machines, as well as an area for light weight and cardiovascular workouts. On the ground ﬂoor, there will be a shower and locker area for those tenants who wish to avail themselves of the Savannah’s ﬁtness opportunities. Tenants can enjoy an early morning jog or late afternoon “sweat”, knowing that they can come in, shower, and be fresh for work or ready to head home.
From the rooftop gardens to the collection of local art that will adorn the walls of our building, RGM is committed to creating and decorating spaces that enrich the lives of the people who spend time there.
Other amenities include a 40’ Living Wall on the ground ﬂoor leading to the entrance lobby, a 25’ specially commissioned Carlisle Harris mural in the lobby, and a media wall at the entrance that not only entertains but informs visitors about sustainability. Large windows throughout the building let in generous amounts of light, while their double-paned design maintains energy efﬁciency. Each of the main ﬂoors has its own private balcony overlooking the Savannah, creating an energising vantage point to break up the day.
COLLABORATION + MEETINGS
COLLABORATION + MEETINGS
RGM understands that there is a frequent need for meeting, training, and other types of collaborative interactions within organisations.
We also understand that it is an unproductive and expensive use of space for organisations, that have temporary need for such spaces, to either create their own or rent remotely. With this in mind, Savannah East includes its own on-site training and meeting facilities for the exclusive use of the building’s occupants. These spaces, with the cost mostly covered by common area charges, are available for the use of our tenants. The spaces are furnished and flexible and include catering and multimedia facilities. The rooftop also allows for meetings of a smaller scale in a more relaxed and uplifting environment.
The RGM rooftop spaces are designed to provide an exquisite area for corporate entertaining.
The multi-storey conﬁguration provides a large indoor/outdoor space that allows for intimate gatherings or larger corporate functions accommodating as many as 270 guests. The space includes a bar, catering station, large open seating areas and high quality bathrooms. These areas would be available for booking by the tenants and the cost would mostly be covered under the existing service charges. For tenants who entertain frequently, this is a cost saving and convenient option.
TECHNICAL DESIGN AND SERVICES
Description of Services
Electrical The electrical system at Savannah East will use a combination of power from the national electricity grid supplemented by renewable energy in the form of solar power. Our system objective will be to permanently reduce electricity consumption to a level that is materially lower than a typical building of similar size and design.
Solar panels will be located on the roof and will be designed to provide enough energy to power practically all of the base building’s lighting. We intend to use LED lighting wherever practical and appropriate in and around the building, thereby keeping the energy consumption related to lighting low and reducing the need to change and dispose of non-functioning non-LED bulbs. The solar system will be designed so that it functions alongside the grid power system. In the case of any challenges with solar power generation, the building can easily function solely on grid power. This ensures continuous lighting while still saving energy.
Emergency power to the building will be provided by a 750kVA generator located in the underground services area. This generator is capable of powering all of the emergency systems, all of the building’s lighting, and upwards of 75% of the building’s maximum designed air-conditioning load in the event of a power outage. This should allow for full air-condition function in the event of a loss of grid electricity to ensure no loss of productivity.
The power usage of the building will be closely tracked by a dedicated system and each ﬂoor will be separately metered so that consumption can be tracked on a floor-by-floor basis.
The building will have a Transient Voltage Surge Suppression System installed. This piece of equipment is designed to ensure that the there is a reduced risk that power ﬂuctuations from the electricity grid could cause damage any of the building’s or tenants’ equipment.
Our plumbing system is focused on reducing our consumption of potable water. To help achieve this, Savannah East will incorporate the use of “grey water” to supply some of its needs.
For the purposes of this project, grey water consists of captured rain water and condensate from the air-conditioning units. The rain water will be captured from specific locations on the roof and channeled to a holding chamber in the basement. The storage for the rain water is approximately 48,000 litres. The rain water will be used solely to flush urinals and toilets, but could also be diverted for irrigation as and if required.
The air-conditioning condensate will be collected directly from the compressors on the roof and diverted to an 11,000-litre tank on the ground floor level. Its main purpose will be to provide irrigation for the landscaping.
The potable water system will supply all faucets and any other areas requiring water. There are 148,000 litres of underground potable water storage to address any shortages. To help reduce the potable water consumption, we will be using low-ﬂow ﬁxtures, including sensor taps and low consumption toilets.
Air-Conditioning and Ventilation
Savannah East will use a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) air-conditioning system. This is the ﬁrst time an ofﬁce building in Trinidad will implement this system so extensively. This system is notably more efﬁcient than a traditional chilled water system and, because of this, a functional portion of the air-conditioning load can be placed on the generator so that the building will continue to be cooled and continue to be usable in the event of power loss from the grid.
Each floor will have a minimum of 21 addressable units distributing cooled air throughout the floor. The number and distribution of these units allow for more localised management of cooling through the Building Management System, as each unit is individually controllable by the BMS. Each ﬂoor will also have a direct supply of fresh air provided by fresh air intakes. This air will be filtered before introducing it into the space, which will maintain high levels of indoor air quality for all users, designed to exceed international standards.
In the underground spaces, there will be a ventilation system that will circulate the air in the parking and access areas to ensure air quality and personal safety. Independent air quality sensors, reporting to the BMS, will ensure that there is no accumulation of dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide.
The safety and security of our tenants are of prime importance. We believe the lengths we have gone to in order to provide a highly effective security infrastructure reﬂects that. Our security protocols include cameras, remote monitoring, card access, biometric access, access compartmentalisation, 24-hour internal monitoring, and a 24-hour security presence.
Cameras will be installed at strategic points throughout the property. Each lobby, all external access points, the rooftop areas, the perimeter of the building, the emergency exits, and the property boundaries will have full-time, all-weather coverage as designed by our experienced security professionals. Each camera feed will be directed to our monitoring station in RGM’s control room located off-site. There, our staff will monitor the building activities, 24 hours a day. No less than 30 days of footage from each camera will be maintained on the system’s hard disk for easy retrieval and review in the event of an incident.
Individuals will be unable to gain access beyond the lobby without presenting a valid access card. The lobby will be outﬁtted with electronic turnstiles with optic readers. Visitors will not be able to access the elevators, and therefore the building, without ﬁrst presenting their card for authorisation.
The basement parking will be secured 24 hours a day and have motorised high-speed gates that will only open after a person has successfully swiped a valid card on the proximity reader. This will secure the access to the basement, typically regarded as a high-risk area in any modern building. It should be noted that all of our security apparatus will be supported by the generator to ensure continuous operations.
Well-trained and courteous security personnel will be on-site 24 hours a day, assisting with the management of access to the building and ensuring allof the tenant and common spaces are secure. RGM puts all security personnel through its own internal customer engagement training to ensure the live security interaction is positive and professional.
All cameras and remote alarms will be monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by RGM’s own control room. RGM’s central control room is constantly staffed and has the capability for incident response either remotely via the BMS or by calling out the necessary security or technical personnel.
Building Management System
The Building Management System (BMS) is designed for total monitoring of the building and its systems. By means of dedicated control points, every single important component and system in the building will be either controlled and/or monitored by the BMS.
The BMS will be able to control the building’s lighting. As part of our energy conservation initiatives, lights will be programmed to turn on and off at pre-determined times by zone. The timing for this will be agreed with each individual tenant. In addition to helping control energy usage, the BMS will track electrical consumption on each floor through the sub-metering.
All of the air-conditioning units will be controlled by the BMS. The building manager will be able to adjust each individual unit from the control room to ensure our tenants’ comfort. The BMS will also be able to monitor the elevators, the generator, the pumps, the access points, the flood alarms, the air quality monitors, the life safety systems, and all fuel and water levels.
A notable feature of the BMS is that it can be programmed to assign specific components to the generator. Because all of the building’s electrical items are connected to the generator, the BMS can individually specify which components will continue to be powered in the event of an outage. This means that there is no fixed emergency electrical system; rather, the emergency power supply can be determined and adjusted depending on tenant and building needs.
Description of LEED
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a set of rating systems developed by the US Green Building Council for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighbourhoods. Savanah East followed the LEED rating system for “Core and Shell” which is specific to the construction of a building where the developer will not outﬁt the internal spaces save for the common areas. “Green” in this case refers to a building that has been constructed with the environment in mind. Low energy usage, low water consumption, use of renewable resources, improved occupant comfort, proper site selection, use of recycled materials; all of these are aspects of achieving LEED certification.
LEED embraces the whole building approach towards sustainable construction. The whole building approach considers owners’ requirements, design (construction procurement and installation), commissioning, and operations of the building.
The LEED programme is a voluntary one and not mandated under any law. However, in a global culture that is becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues, responsible developers are seeing the value in being able to deliver a project as LEED certified.
Energy Saving Strategies
Part of being an organisation that promotes sustainability is the reduction of overall energy consumption. To do this, we have implemented a number of initiatives:
- Most all of the light fixtures in the base building will be LED lights. LED lighting lasts longer and uses significantly less energy than fluorescent or incandescent lights.
- The building will have a new PVB solar system, including solar panels on the roof, to capture solar power. This power will be used to power most of the building’s light fixtures, reducing our usage of grid power.
- All of the lighting can be controlled by the BMS system, allowing for much of the building’s lighting to be selectively turned off at night and turned back on in the morning.
- Savannah East will be using a VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) air-conditioning system. This system uses less energy than a conventional A/C system.
- The design incorporates a significant green roof component. This means that vegetation will cover a sizable portion of the roof and will assist with insulation, toward reducing the cooling requirements, which translates into less energy used.
- All windows will be double-glazed, low emissivity windows. This improves the insulation properties of the windows and puts less strain on the air-conditioning units, which in turn results in less energy being used. It will also promote a more comfortable indoor environment, reducing the temperature fluctuation range.
- The elevators will be ﬁtted with energy recovery modules, which capture energy generated when the elevator is stopping. This energy is then re-used by the elevator during its operation, reducing its overall power use.
Water Conservation Strategies
Beyond energy usage, water usage is a significant factor when considering sustainability of a building. Savannah East has catered for a variety of measures to ensure that water usage is kept to a minimum:
- There will be 48,000 litres of rain water storage. The collected rain water will be used for flushing of toilets and urinals along with some land-scape irrigation.
- 11,000 litres will be available for collection of A/C condensate that will be used primarily for landscape irrigation.
- Low-flow fixtures will be installed in all bathrooms. All taps, urinals and WCs will use low-flow type fixtures that will reduce the amount of water to be used daily.
Beyond making sure the building operates efﬁciently, RGM intends to institute environmentally friendly measures that we encourage our tenants to be a part of:
- We will provide preferred parking for low emission vehicles or small vehicles.
- Bike racks and showers will be provided for those tenants who would like to ride to work.
- A recycling system where RGM will dispose of the tenant’s recyclable material, once it is properly sorted and placed in the receptacles provided.
- We intend to make the building’s energy usage and data freely available to anyone who wants to study and learn more about sustainable buildings and Savannah East.
Going GreenBEING A SUSTAINABLE TENANT
Should tenants prefer not to pursue LEED certiﬁcation, there are still a number of other paths to environmentally responsible building occupation.
- Participating in the building’s recycling programme, which ensures proper treatment of recyclable waste.
- Encouraging alternative transport or carpooling of staff to help reduce overall carbon emissions.
- Using a primarily open office arrangement that maintains the base building optimal layout of lighting and air-conditioning.
- Using recycled or salvaged material during your office fit-out to reduce the need for virgin material.
- Redirecting your construction waste from landfills as much as possible.
- Using wood that is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. This confirms that the timber being used has come from a responsible wood source.
- Using rapidly renewable materials in your build-out. Bamboo, cotton, cork, etc. can quickly be replenished within 10 years, versus a signiﬁcantly longer period for other materials.
- Using carpeting that meets the testing and product requirements of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Plus programme. This ensures that the carpets are low emitting, thereby contributing to improved indoor air quality.
- Implementing a housekeeping plan that uses environmentally friendly products and processes.
- Using occupancy sensors to control localized lighting in the outfitted space.
While not a requirement, RGM urges all of its prospective tenants to consider an environmentally responsible office when designing and outﬁtting their new space.