Thermally active building structure (TABS)

TABS consists of chilled water piping embedded in the concrete slabs and connected to manifolds. In turn, this connects to the HVAC plant and provides a high-comfort-low-energy means of air-conditioning through radiant temperatures.

There are exposed concrete surfaces (ceilings and floors) throughout most of the building. This is part of the comfort strategy as the temperature of these surfaces can be used to provide heating and cooling in a very efficient way.

Comfort is mainly provided by an innovative system, named the Thermally Activated Building Systems (TABS). This system  cools the concrete surfaces around you.

The base principle of TABS is to activate the exposed structure of the building by embedding water carrying pipes within the structure of the building and consequently, passing chilled or heated water through the structure.

In conjunction with the tempered fresh air, it provides a more effective method for thermal comfort compared to systems which deal with air temperatures only while having significant energy benefits throughout the year.

TABS also help to lower the peak energy base load of the building in conjunction with the Solar Photo-Voltaic (PV) system.

The system at the d-school was subsequently recognised as a pioneering initiative in sustainable design in South Africa.



  • ENE-01 – Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The aim of this credit is to encourage and recognise designs that minimise greenhouse gas emissions associated with operational energy consumption.

  • ENE-05 – Maximum Electrical Demand Reduction

The aim of this credit is to encourage and recognise designs that reduce the maximum demand on the electrical supply infrastructure.

  • INN-03 – Environmental Design Initiatives

The aim of this credit is to encourage and recognise sustainable building initiatives that are currently outside of the scope of the Green Star SA rating tool but which have a substantial or significant environmental benefit.

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