Green precinct for Durban

12 May 2011

A R5-billion environmentally friendly "city" is to be built next to Durban's state-of-the-art King Shaka international airport.

12 May 2011

Planners say Dube City, which they call "Africa's first urban green precinct", will consist of hotels as well a business, retail, trade and entertainment hub, and will offset the high carbon footprint created by the R7.8-billion airport unveiled last year.
Construction of the first phase of the precinct, 18km north of Umhlanga, has begun. The development is being funded by the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.

Dube TradePort CEO Rohan Persad said the precinct would serve local communities in the Dube TradePort region, aviation users, passengers and other stakeholders.

"Our key objective is to offset the growing carbon footprint in the early stages of the development of the airport and the trade port. We are developing a carbon calculator that will guide development in the region over the medium to long term."
Persad said a paperless environment and the reduction of expenses that result from the use of less energy, heating and cooling would be hallmarks of Dube City.

Dube TradePort's head office, 29 Degrees South, would be completed in July.

"The building has been named 29 Degrees South to give us global positioning.

"The next development will be an integrated hotel, retail and entertainment complex," Persad said.

Natural light will be fully utilised with light sensors calculating the amount of natural light entering the space.

Persad said the heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems would be regulated through temperature sensors to reduce the amount of energy required.

"The HVAC systems also have carbon dioxide sensors to ensure that sufficient air is distributed through the office spaces," he said.

Photocopy machines would have their own "exhaust risers", which Persad says will extract the harmful toxins and gases emitted.

In addition, rainwater will be collected and used. "The rainwater will be used in toilets and for irrigation.

"Waterless urinals will be installed and this will also reduce the amount of water consumed in the building," said Persad.

With aerotropolis precincts already in Beijing, Amsterdam and Dallas, Dube City marks a move in the direction of a new trend that sees a shift in the concept of building cities around airports.

The job market is also expected to benefit.

Persad said 35715 jobs would be created not only in KwaZulu-Natal but throughout the country. Of the 35715 jobs created nationally during building, 27683 were expected to be in KwaZulu-Natal and 19740 in eThekwini Municipality.

"Of the employment opportunities in eThekwini, 2492 will be skilled, 10438 will be semi-skilled and 6810 will be unskilled jobs," Persad said.

An estimated 4750 direct employment opportunities will be maintained at Dube City annually once the total floor space of 220000m² is occupied.