ComBank wins Green Building – Platinum Award for restored Galle Fort branch building

The heritage building which is home to the Galle Fort branch of the Commercial Bank of Ceylon has won a Platinum award from the Green Building Council of Sri Lanka (GBCSL)for its eco-friendly features after it was recentlyrestored to its original grandeur by the Bank.

The Platinum award is thehighest rating achievable based on a set of performance standards used to certify the operations and maintenance of a building. Key aspects taken into consideration by the GBCSL to bestow this rating on a commercial or institutional building includes management, sustainable sites, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation and design process, and social and cultural awareness.

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon ticked all the boxes when it undertook the renovation of this building, built in the early 19thcentury, which came into the Bank’s possession in 1973 when the Bank acquired three branches of the Mercantile Bank of India (MBI). Pivotal features of a Green Building, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, water efficiency, environmentally preferable building materials and specifications, waste reduction, toxics reduction, indoor air quality, smart growth and sustainable development were focused on during the restoration.

The building consists of the Commercial Bank’s Galle Fort Bank branch, the Bank’s Regional Office and a holiday home. It also houses a mini museum containing archivesand items used since the inception of the branch, which has now become a popular tourist attraction.

The Platinum Rating was accorded to the building for the restoration process that included the recycling of all imperishable material in an environmentally friendly manner, using only locally sourced, specified Green rated raw material in the renovation, disposal of debris in compliance with the Department of Archeology and the Galle Heritage Foundation, installing a 15kW rooftop solar energy generation system, installation of a rain water harvesting system and ecofriendly food recyclers for all meal rooms, and the fitting of a fire protection system, back-up generator, energy efficient Variable Flow Refrigerant (VFR)air conditioning system, andan LED lighting andelectrical system to complement the state-of-the-art banking operations of the branch.

The building has achieved 45% energy saving compared to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standard baseline and consumes minimal portable water with the use of a tube well and a pump powered by solar energy, the harvesting of rainwater, and the installation of efficient sanitary fittings. 

Furthermore, in adherence to the Bank’s green agenda, the mechanically ventilated areas of the building are fitted withenergy-efficient air conditioners and the carbon dioxide levels of office area are continuously measured to maintain a healthy indoor environment for its occupants.

The building’s refurbishment was carried out in consultation with the Galle Heritage Foundation, the Department of Archeology, the Galle Municipal Council and the Urban Development Authority, preserving the old structure wherever possible.

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