Green building gains momentum following 100 Green Star certifications

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has enjoyed massive growth greening in the commercial property sector in which it has reached a significant milestone with 100 Green Star SA certifications.

GBCSA on Wednesday celebrated the commitment shown by the commercial property sector and that the green building movement has gained significant momentum with the achievement of 100 Green Star SA certifications.

In 2009 the country’s first green certification was awarded by the GBCSA. In April 2014 the country celebrated 50 Green Star SA ratings and, only a year later, this had doubled to one hundred, with 25 certifications awarded in the first quarter of 2015 alone.

Established in 2007, the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has pioneered transformation of the South African property sector by promoting and facilitating environmentally sustainable building practises, from the design phase to construction and operation.

At a media presentation Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA, said Achieving 100 certifications indicates the commercial property sector’s commitment to sustainability and resource efficiency in response to growing cities and related challenges to energy infrastructure.”

This clear signal of the move towards green building is particularly significant as buildings are responsible for around 40% of the world’s end-use energy consumption through their on-going operation, buildings are amongst the main contributors to climate change.

“There are multiple incentives involved in green building initiatives”, says Wilkinson, “Ultimately the upward trend in the number of buildings being certified and those applying for certification illustrates that awareness and perceptions around environmental issues have changed and evolved. Energy efficiency and the financial rewards notwithstanding, green building is the right thing to do.”

There are over 1.8 million square metres of green certified space covered by the 100 Green Star SA certification – or the equivalent of 263 rugby fields.

Given the sustainable, green implementations in these building projects, their positive impacts are far reaching. The 100 Green Star certified projects achieve the combined annual savings of 131 million kilowatt hours of electricity – the equivalent of powering 9,130 households for a year. This takes massive pressure off South Africa’s struggling power grid.

The 100 certifications also save a total of 176 million kilograms of carbon emissions – the same as taking 44,096 cars off the roads, or 5,000 full Boeing 747 flights travelling from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

Plus, they save 171 million litres of drinking water, which equates to the daily water requirements for nearly 86-million people for one day.

All these savings also have a meaningful impact to the bottom lines of the businesses that own and occupy these green buildings. In addition to creating more sustainable and productive environments, the financial incentives of operating green buildings are also being realised, particularly in the face of South Africa’s water scarcity and increasing energy costs.

Wilkinson stresses: “Green Star certification allows for the recognition and reward of environmental leadership and the GBCSA could not have reached 100 certifications without support and innovation from across the industry.”

Wilkinson explains that with green building accelerating in South Africa, as its extensive benefits are being increasingly recognised, it has become essential for a rigorous, standardised system that rates just how green projects are with tangible results to back up these claims. This is what the GBCSA’s Green Star SA rating tools do. GBCSA developed the Green Star SA rating system and is the official certification body for green building projects.

A Green Star SA rating guarantees that businesses live up to their green building claims. Independent assessors are employed to evaluate submissions and allocate points based on the green measures that have been implemented. Certification is awarded for 4-Star, 5-Star or 6-Star Green Star SA ratings.

Of the first 100 Green Star SA certifications in South Africa, nine were awarded 6 stars which represents world leadership in green building.

The one hundredth building certification by GBCSA with a 5-Star Green Star SA Existing Building rating was officially awarded to Kirstenhof Office Park in Paulshof, Sandton. It is owned by Growthpoint Properties, South Africa’s largest JSE-listed Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), a GBCSA Platinum Founding Member and the owner of the biggest portfolio of green buildings in the country.

Its elegant Cape Dutch design buildings are located on Witkoppen Road at the Rivonia N1 off-ramp. Kirstenhof Office Park’s long list of green features include energy efficient lighting including fluorescents fitted with high frequency ballasts; flow restrictors on all taps; an operation waste and materials management plan and a storm water management plan to limit disruption of natural hydrology, minimise pollution and site deterioration.

Norbert Sasse, CEO of Growth point Properties, comments, “It is an honour to receive the 100th Green Star SA rating from the GBCSA. Growthpoint is committed to the sustainability of the environment and the communities in which we are invested through our properties. We want our buildings to be places where business in South Africa can thrive, with quality, healthy, productive working environments that also offer savings on utilities consumption and costs.”

Gauteng leads South Africa with the largest number of certified Green Star SA projects – an impressive 55. It is followed by the Western Cape with 29, KwaZulu-Natal with 11, the Eastern Cape with two and Limpopo with one. GBCSA has also certified two international ratings.

“Congratulations to the GBCSA and the industry as a whole on this achievement,” says Robin Lockhart-Ross, Managing Executive of Nedbank Property Finance. “As a bank whose reputation is built on its commitment to the environment and sustainability, we are proud of our own achievements in championing the cause of green buildings not only by financing and occupying these, but also through our sponsorship of the Existing Building Performance Rating Tool and the GBCSA annual convention, a platform that is aimed at ensuring that the ‘green’ agenda is maintained.”

Wilkinson says: “The increase in pace in green building in South Africa has been phenomenal. From a single Green Star SA certification only five years ago, to 50 certifications last year, and 100 certifications now, the green building movement in South Africa is certainly gaining momentum.

“The positive impacts these buildings are having on our environment is meaningful, and becomes more significant with each green building certified. We would like to congratulate South Africa’s commercial property sector on this landmark achievement, and encourage them to continue to create sustainable, green buildings.”

Source: sacommercialpropnews

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