Paragon Group, AECOM achieve double green rating for GE Africa Innovation Centre

26 April 2019
A unique collaboration between architecture and interior architecture specialist Paragon Group, and integrated infrastructure delivery company AECOM, has resulted in the GE Africa Innovation Centre (GEAIC) in Melrose Estate, Johannesburg receiving a top sustainability accreditation from both South Africa and the US.
Document Downloads 
application/msword iconParagon Group AECOM achieve double green rating for GE Africa Innovation approved44.5 KBDownload
PreviewAECOM Sustainability Practice Area Lead Candice Manning2.71 MBDownload
PreviewParagon Group Senior Project Architectural Technologist Anthony Karam.15.94 MBDownload
PreviewThe design serves as a dynamic collaboration between various African artistic drivers and high performance workplace design.1.46 MBDownload
PreviewThe east facing glazed structure takes advantage of the extensive African sunlight and mild climate.1.69 MBDownload
PreviewThe GEAIC has a fully-equipped GE Africa Healthcare training centre.1.62 MBDownload
PreviewThe publicly accessible ground floor boasts a health-focused work cafe.1.87 MBDownload

Not only has the GEAIC clinched a Green Star Interior rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), it also boasts a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rating from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Both the Green Star and LEED ratings are essential for GE as a global company, which ensures its sustainability credentials are recognised in Africa and the rest of the world.

The GEAIC serves Sub-Saharan Africa. One of over ten GE Innovation and Technology Centres worldwide, each centre is dedicated to specific regional needs, and is therefore uniquely resourced. The GEAIC showcases the best of global GE innovation, invention, practices, and methodologies.

The building, with a Gross Lettable Area (GLA) of 2 454 m², is located in close proximity to the key commercial and shopping precinct of Rosebank in Johannesburg. Consisting of a three-storey, mainly east-facing glazed structure, it takes advantage of the extensive African sunlight and mild climate, with access and parking on the west, while overlooking an iconic golf course to the south.

The publicly-accessible ground floor boasts a health-focused work café and digital exhibition centre, collaboration zones, and an outdoor collaboration area. The first floor is restricted to tenants only, and incorporates agile workspaces, as well as a fully-equipped GE Africa Healthcare training centre.

The top floor includes a flexible learning and development centre, collaboration rooms, and a multi-disciplinary laboratory. Facilities have been provided for those accessing the building by bicycle or fuel-efficient car. The basement parking features showers and bicycle racks, together with green vehicle bays.

The Paragon Group oversaw the interior fit-out. “The vision was to provide accessibility to a healthy environment, and internalise this in the workplace, promoting an integrated and balanced health and wellness-driven work environment,” Paragon Group Senior Project Architectural Technologist Anthony Karam comments.

Furthermore, the design called for localising a global company’s identity within the African context, forming a place where ‘GE and Africa Meet’. The overall design serves as a dynamic collaboration between various African artistic drivers and high-performance workplace design.

AECOM was appointed to carry out full engineering services for the project, including project management and sustainability. The latter encompassed all electrical and mechanical services. One of the most stringent sustainability requirements for the dual rating was the energy-consumption criteria.

This included the HVAC, the domestic hot water system, and even appliance selection. The building is monitored through a network of submeters to assist facilities management in operating it efficiently. Waste management was also crucial during construction, and a requirement during operation. The project achieved a high level of diversion from landfill.

During construction, an on-site commissioning agent, reporting to both the Paragon Group and AECOM, administrated the commissioning process. This was to ensure that all building systems would operate post-completion as per the initial design requirements. Simultaneously, AECOM engineers guided sub-contractors, making certain that all LEED processes were followed to completion.

AECOM Sustainability Practice Area Lead Candice Manning says the USGBC accreditation is “a significant achievement, as there are only a handful of LEED-rated projects in South Africa. We are certainly very proud of being at the vanguard of managing the certification process for both Green Star and LEED rated projects in Africa.”

According to Manning, the major challenges of the GEAIC project was complying with the various standards and benchmarks of both rating systems, as well as the seamless management of these processes. She also regards these as the project’s greatest achievements.

In addition to their latest accolades, the GEAIC won both the SA Property Owners’ Association (SAPOA) Award for Innovative Development 2017, as well as a BASA Strategic Project Award for localisation and Industrial Design.

Another example of where the Paragon Group and AECOM have collaborated successfully on a flagship project is Pran Boulevard in the Ridgeside precinct in Umhlanga, KwaZulu Natal. This two-building project realised a 60% improvement in carbon emissions over the SANS 204 National Building standard, and was awarded a 4-star Green Star rating in May 2018.


Connect with the Paragon Group on Social Media to receive the company’s latest news



Instagram: paragongroupza

Notes to the Editor
To download hi-res images for this release, please visit and click the Paragon Group and AECOM links to view the companies’ press offices.

About the Paragon Group                                                                                
The Paragon Group, established in October 1997, is an internationally-active African design business, based in Johannesburg. It delivers commercial architecture, masterplanning, interior design, and space planning to visionary clients in all property sectors.

We are committed to Africa, and believe in the future of its cities. Our roots are here. We have much to offer. We are able and agile, and actively participate in the continent’s urban and human development. The Paragon Group is flexible and diverse in its approach to design. Each project is unique and not driven by style, but by lifestyle and a response to user needs. Elegant and efficient planning form the core of our designs. We understand the needs of our clients, and know how to generate ever new architectural forms in a competitive property market.

We are known for hands-on engagement with all opportunities present in the modern global building industry. The true measure of our skill is our ability to engage at all levels and with all players that make up the colourful world of construction and property development. Our buildings look forward. We embrace the future, because we will be a part of it – part of its problems and responsibilities, and part of its great freedoms and achievements.

Paragon Group Contact

Hugh Fraser

Media Manager

Phone: (011) 482 3781

Fax: (011) 482 3784

Email: media [at] paragon [dot] co [dot] za


Media Contact

Renay Tandy

NGAGE Public Relations

Phone: (011) 867 7763

Fax: 086 512 3352

Cell: 082 562 5088

Email: renay [at] ngage [dot] co [dot] za



AECOM is built to deliver a better world. We design, build, finance and operate critical infrastructure assets for governments, businesses and organisations. As a fully integrated firm, we connect knowledge and experience across our global network of experts to help clients solve their most complex challenges. From high-performance buildings and infrastructure, to resilient communities and environments, to stable and secure nations, our work is transformative, differentiated and vital. A Fortune 500 firm, AECOM had revenue of approximately $20.2 billion during fiscal year 2018. See how we deliver what others can only imagine at and @AECOM.

AECOM Contact

Lara Lombard

Communications & Marketing Officer, EMIA, Africa

Phone: (012) 421 3832

Email: lara [dot] lombard [at] aecom [dot] com


Media Contact
Renay Tandy
NGAGE Public Relations
Phone: (011) 867 7763
Fax: 086 512 3352
Cell: 082 562 5088
Email: renay [at] ngage [dot] co [dot] za

Browse the NGAGE Media Zone for more client press releases and photographs at