CEM Students Continue Winning Tradition at Greenovate

13 Dec 2018 - 14:30
STORY: Helen Swingler | PHOTO: Candice Lowin

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Civil Engineering department made it two out of two while the Construction Economics and Management department chalked up their fourth consecutive win at the prestigious Greenovate Awards for final-year students.

An initiative by Growthpoint Properties in association with the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), the competition challenges senior students to create innovative green solutions to environmental issues facing the property industry.

The competition is open to final-year property studies, quantity surveying, construction management and engineering students.

A Growthpoint communique said this is the second consecutive year that UCT has taken top honours in both awards, “demonstrating continued outstanding leadership in environmentally innovative thinking for the built environment”.

Dr Dyllon Randall’s final-year civil engineering student Chloe Bolton took honours in the engineering stream, introduced to the competition last year.

The Department of Construction Economics and Management’s Saul Nurick and Karen Le Jeune’s properties studies students Michael Inskip, Morgan Knowles and Samantha Johnson took the laurels in the property stream. It was the department’s fourth consecutive win since the competition began in 2015.

Eight universities competed this year but only UCT and the University of Johannesburg competed in both streams. A total 16 finalists were judged.

Environmental innovation

Bolton’s project examined grey-water treatment and reuse specifically for the development of a novel integrated handwashing system that also produces electrical energy.

It explored the technical feasibility of a wetland microbial fuel cell and sand filtration system for the on-site treatment and continuous recycling of handwashing grey water in a commercial office-building environment – while simultaneously producing electric power. Her research was done under the banner of UCT’s Future Water Institute.

Green citizenship

The property studies’ trio of Inskip, Knowles and Johnson won with a project that assessed the relationship between commercial green buildings and their occupants’ green citizenship. It examined whether companies occupying green buildings can leverage off their employees’ green behaviour, with the help of a Corporate Green Management Initiative (CGMI) in the form of a mobile application, to promote corporate green citizenship using gamification.

Changing buildings

The students’ projects are designed to be implementable in building developments.

Last year’s engineering stream winner Craig Flanagan’s idea for an on-site nutrient recovery urinal also resulted in Growthpoint implementing urine collection at its new head office development for Exxaro in Pretoria.
Growthpoint’s communique on this said: “Incorporating the fertiliser-producing urinal concept into a major commercial office has changed Growthpoint’s thinking on how it develops new buildings.”

This urine-related research and practical application is also being led by Randall.

GBCSA’s managing executive (sector development and transformation) Manfred Braune said: “Greenovate allows students to present their sustainability related theses projects to industry leaders. It’s a brilliant opportunity for exposure to potential employers looking for young graduates.”