The Greenest Building in the Southern Hemisphere

SSIC: The super energy efficient SSIC building

THE Vodafone Site Solution Innovation Centre (SSIC) is said to be the greenest building in the southern hemisphere. It houses techies who are working on solutions for the future in the fields of construction, design, electrical and mechanical engineering and wet services. The SSIC is the first 6 Star Green Star SA accredited building in South Africa.

The aesthetic principle was to create a harmonious and seamless integration between the physical building and the surrounding landscape. The SSIC is a sustainable living building envisaged as a functioning showcase for innovative techniques and design.

The Greenest Building in the Southern Hemisphere

The SSIC is said to be the greenest building in the southern hemisphere and houses techies who are working on solutions for the future (image:

The design has a narrow floor plate surrounding a central open air courtyard with a rainwater pond and wetland. The building maximises the use of daylight using performance glass and motorised blinds.

Fresh air is cooled via a gabion or thermal rock store constructed below the building before it is released into the office space through vents. This functions as a natural air-conditioner. A solar absorption chiller provides radiant cooling or warming through water pumped through a thermally activated slab. The chiller also provides cooled air to the office space, so no water-based heat rejection systems are used.

Installed on the roof are 292 photovoltaic panels delivering 230kWh of solar energy to the building – twice the amount of energy required. The balance is fed back into the Vodacom campus, creating a zero-rated energy building. Motion light detection sensors are used to minimise energy use.

For efficient water consumption, grey water is treated through the constructed wetland and then reused for irrigation and toilet flushing. Rainwater (harvested from the roof) is stored in the pond in the courtyard and in tanks below the building.

The structural elements of the building have been constructed using material excavated from the building site. The structural columns are a combination of steel and eucalyptus gumpoles while the roof structure is an exposed timber beam system. The structural elements are designed for disassembly and 90% of all the steel used has an average post-consumer recycled content of 60%.

The Vodafone Site Solution Innovation Centre and its landscaped garden is a great example of green and sustainable living. It also illustrates how big corporations such as Vodacom can operate in such an eco-friendly manner. The SSIC will be open to visitors and demonstrates the innovative techniques and systems utilised to create a low energy and sustainable construction solution.

  • Visit the SSIC website to learn more about it and view the gallery.


Galen (name), meaning: "Curious One". A lover of language, human ingenuity and the forces of the universe. Hugely drawn towards the mysterious and unknown. Regular laughter and escapism essential.

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