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Solar power for urban development and nature conservation project

Set amidst the 16 hectare wetland and bird sanctuary in South Africa, the Intaka Island eco-centre is situated within Century City, about seven kilometres from Cape Town’s central business district, just north of the N1 highway.

The spatial design of the multipurpose facility incorporates the physical building set within a conservation area to provide an educational activity centre, function venue, reception area, office space, ablution and kitchen facilities and outdoor sustainable living classroom − according to international green building standards.

Gregor Küpper, managing director of SolarWorld Africa, says “The eco-centre’s energy efficiency is enhanced by the use of new polystyrene and concrete construction, natural light and ventilation and LED lighting along with SolarWorld’s photovoltaic panels and bank of batteries.”

The team that undertook the project also included WSP Group Africa, DHK Architects, Strong Consulting, Wegner & Carew Electrical Engineering, In To-To Solutions, Lights by Linea, Big Ben Construction and RPG Bridging Finance.

The environmental design component of the project secures water purification through a 7.5 km canal which pumps water into the wetland and, through gravity flow, makes its way through different ponds of the wetland.

Since opening of the educational eco- centre to visitors in 2010, numbers have grown from just under 8,000 a year to 25,000 in 2013.