PUBLICATION STORE SUBSCRIBE

The Promise of Paris – Climate change is creating business opportunities

African countries can meet climate targets promised in the landmark Paris Agreement by catalyzing trillions of dollars in private investments through a combination of smart policy reforms and innovative business models, according to a new report b a member of the World Bank Group.

The report identifies seven industry sectors that can make a crucial difference in catalyzing private investment: renewable energy, off-grid solar and energy storage, agribusiness, green buildings, urban transportation, water, and urban waste management. Already, more than $1 trillion (R15 trillion) in investments are flowing into climate-related projects in these areas. But trillions more could be triggered by creating the right business conditions in emerging markets, the report found.

“The private sector holds the key to fighting climate change,” said IFC CEO Philippe Le Houérou. “The private sector has the innovation, the financing, and the tools. We can help unlock more private sector investment, but this also requires government reforms as well as innovative business models—which together will create new markets and attract the necessary investment. This can fulfill the promise of Paris.”

IFC’s Creating Markets for Climate Business report offers several examples of such an approach. Zambia was experiencing daily blackouts, stemming from drought that had crippled its hydroelectric capacity, when it became the first country to sign up for Scaling Solar in 2015. The government aims to build two large solar plants as part of its long-term strategy to generate 600 MW from solar. Johannesburg Water demonstrated how PPPs can succeed in meeting development and climate objectives in the water sector. The municipality set out to establish a privately-operated utility in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2000, when city water and sanitation services were facing bankruptcy. It has since installed biogas-to-electricity generation in several wastewater facilities. Biogas scrubbing and combined heat and power cogeneration projects were installed in 2012.

Saleem Karimjee, IFC Country Manager for Southern Africa, said, “African private businesses have the opportunity to become regional and global leaders in promoting climate-friendly projects. New approaches to business can unlock significant funds for climate finance that IFC and other lenders are eager to support.”

The report’s findings point to specific investment opportunities including:

Renewable energy investments could climb to R115 trillion cumulative by 2040—reforms such as renewable energy auctions, land title reforms, and supportive energy storage policy frameworks would make this possible.

Investments in off-grid solar and energy storage can reach $23 billion (R115 trillion) a year by 2025—if countries use differentiated tariffs, clear technical and safety standards, and targeted financial incentives while supporting new business models for community based solar such as Pay-as-You-Go and innovative finance solutions such as asset securitization.

Trillions of dollars of agribusiness investment can become more “climate-smart”—if governments ensure property rights, good transportation infrastructure, and regulations and fiscal policies that encourage climate-smart investment while promoting improved farmer-training practices and using financial innovation to provide working capital for farmers.Investments in green buildings could reach $3.4 trillion (R51 trillion) cumulative by 2025 in key emerging markets—if countries adopt better building codes and standards and create targeted financial incentives such as green-building certification and mandatory benchmarking of energy use. Other important reforms should encourage new utility business models, such as green mortgages and energy service companies.

Trillions of dollars in investments in sustainable urban transportation can be mobilized in the coming decade—if governments issue mandates to enable infrastructure investments and adopt municipal transit plans that can spur innovations, such as light rail.

Investments in water supply and sanitation could exceed $13 trillion (R195 trillion) cumulative by 2030—for this governments would need to establish water pricing at predictable and sustainable levels to increase the creditworthiness of utilities while entering into public-private partnerships and adopting performance-based contracts.

Investments in climate-smart urban waste management could reach $2 trillion—if cities work to attract private sector participation through improved regulatory and enforcement frameworks, using economic incentives and cost-recovery mechanisms such as feed-in tariffs, and driving waste-conscious consumer behavior.

Addressing climate change is a strategic priority for IFC. Since 2005, IFC has invested $18.3 billion (R195 trillion) of its own funds in long-term financing for climate-smart projects and mobilized an additional $11 billion from other investors. The latest report is a follow-up to the Climate Investment Opportunities report issued by IFC last year, which found that the Paris Agreement could create $23 trillion in investment opportunities for 21 emerging-market countries.

Source: energyforecastonline

Green buildings: conserving energy, preserving the environment and saving money

There is a global shift towards energy efficiency, environmental sustainability and green buildings. South Africa’s recent signing of the Paris Agreements, coupled with increasing demand on the power grid is driving many businesses to invest in energy efficiency and alternative energy sources. Global interest and investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy are at an all-time high. At the same time, case studies for the ‘greening’ of existing buildings, are proving that such investments can not only save energy, but also provide an attractive financial return for building owners.

Find sales opportunities in your market

For example, in 2009, the Empire State Building in the United States embarked on a project to reduce costs, increase real estate value and protect the environment. In 2011, the building beat its first year energy-efficiency target by 5%, saving $2.4m. The following three years saw the program generate a total of approximately $7.5m in energy savings at the landmark building. The multi-million dollar investment in ‘greening’ the building is projected to save 38% in energy consumption, not only saving money for the building’s owners, but also for the building’s tenants who agreed to build out their office space to high performance standards.

On-site renewable energy generation

The next big trend in the evolution of green buildings is to use on-site renewable energy generation to deliver more energy to the electric grid than it consumes from the grid over the course of a year. These buildings, called ‘nett zero’ or ‘nett positive’, are a key global strategy for delivering on the Paris COP21 commitments.

The 2016 Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey of more than 1,200 facility and energy management executives in the United States, Brazil, China, Germany and India indicates that as many as 72% of the organisations surveyed anticipate increased investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy over the next 12 months. It also pointed to lack of funding, insufficient payback, uncertain savings and a lack of technical expertise as the most significant barriers to investment.

Similarly, there is a perception in South Africa that investing in green buildings is prohibitively expensive. While it can be costly, the cost savings will usually more than make up for the expenditure over time and subsequent to the payback period, the savings add directly to the bottom line. Over and above the cost saving and contribution towards a more sustainable environment, there are multiple additional benefits to energy efficient buildings, such as the positive effect on a business’ brand and reputation with investors, customers and employees. There is a “feel-good” factor to knowing that a business is concerned for the environment.

Start with little things

There are a number of ways that companies can begin investing in energy efficiency and they don’t all involve the investment of massive amounts of money into complete building retrofits. Building owners can start with little things, like properly insulating their building to reduce the cooling load, thus reducing the size and costs of the air-conditioning system.

Using sensor technology to automatically detect people’s presence in a conference room or office and adjusting the lighting, cooling and ventilation accordingly also makes a big impact, as equipment is not in use unnecessarily. Building owners with multiple tenants can also promote energy efficiency by including energy efficiency provisions in leases to incentivise high performance. They can also educate tenants and promote healthy competition between tenants to see who can reduce energy the most over a given time period.

Businesses looking to ‘go green’ adopt a phased approach, ensuring that the right steps are taken in the right order. The iconic building in the US example shows us that having a knowledgeable team of experts on board and following a proper, well thought out master plan can ensure that benefit is maximised with minimum investment.

With such a strong business case for energy efficiency and renewable energy, South African companies should have no excuse for not investing in greener buildings. With the global trend evidencing a move towards a more sustainable future, South African companies need to act now to take full advantage of the significant financial benefits while helping to preserve the environment and drive economic growth and job creation in our communities.
Earn valuable CPD credits

Redeem your 50% discount

How to use product life cycle analysis to your advantage. (David Baggs)

Source: bizcommunity


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

A green homes revolution is happening aroud the world: Terri Wills, World Green Building Council

Terri Wills, Chief Executive Officer, World Green Building Council, explains how green building schemes are expanding around the world to bring economic and environmental benefits to city-dwellers and businesses alike.

Find sales opportunities in your market

When we think of green buildings, we often picture towering office buildings with green walls and state-of-the-art technologies – such as the iconic Empire State Building retrofit or the EDGE office building in Amsterdam – with shiny LEED or BREEAM plaques at reception, boasting of their environmental credentials.

But whether small, big, multi-unit, stand-alone, urban, rural, it is actually the humble green home which represents one of the greatest untapped opportunities to improve our lives.

Homes represent directly 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but they can also contribute to serious health problems. According to the World Health Organization, lung and respiratory diseases associated with poor indoor environment quality are three of the top five leading causes of death.

Greening our homes will help us as individuals and as a society to thrive today – and in the future.

So why, then, are all homes not green? Many of our 74 Green Building Councils see a few key barriers. These include:

  • a gap in understanding of the why and how;
  • lack of financial mechanisms;
  • reluctance from governments to set regulations and incentives; and
  • an urgent need for housing which drives the construction of fast and cheap homes.

But our Green Building Councils see these barriers as surmountable. So we are rolling out ambitious programs to galvanize communities, governments and the private sector to create more green homes.

GREEN BUILDING SCALE-UP

One of the more successful approaches to scaling up green homes around the world is the use of voluntary certification or rating schemes.

Green Building Councils in Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa and the US, among others, are using large-scale implementation of these schemes – like LEED and Green Star – to create a common definition of what a green building is and facilitate the delivery of green buildings by professionals.

Our New Zealand Green Building Council saw an increase in the number of registrations for Green Star homes certification from 550 to 2,500 units in 2014-15 alone. And in Auckland, a proposed policy will see a six ‘Homestar’ rating – the highest – being a minimum requirement for new developments with multiple homes.

In India, 40% of the total 3.61 billion square feet of green building space constructed is residential. The ratings systems developed by India GBC encourages designers to address national priorities – and by working closely with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation to develop guidelines for Affordable Housing, several state governments have given incentives in the form of higher ‘floor area ration’ for green homes.

Ten years ago, the incremental cost of green homes in India was 6-8%, but now it is only 1-2%. For barely any extra cost, these green homes are seeing energy savings of 40-50% and water savings of 20-30%. Soon, these benefits will come at zero extra cost.

FINANCE MECHANISMS

In addition to certification, our Green Building Councils are seeing that the right financial mechanisms also drives take-up of green homes. In Europe, a group consisting of major banks and banking federations, valuers and Green Building Councils and their technical members, have started exploring the case for a European ‘Green Mortgage’.

This new mortgage will recognize the potential risks inherent in holding large investments in non-green property, as well as the potential upsides of energy efficient homes. Once implemented, our Green Building Councils believe the Green Mortgage will enable green homes to become mainstream.

Green Building Councils are also seeing that training and awareness-raising can drive both supply and demand for green homes. Jordan’s Green Building Council has partnered with Habitat for Humanity Jordan to increase green building knowledge within the informal sector.

The initiative is helping translate local needs into simple sustainable designs implemented by local builders with support from green building professionals, creating local capacity and knowledge that can spread through the community.

In South Africa, our Green Building Council also developed a few creative awareness-raising approaches. The My Green Home campaign has created a ‘green home makeover’ show that saw one family managing to halve their electricity and water consumption.

During the global COP17 climate talks in Durban, our Council also created South Africa’s first ‘Green Street’ upgrade in a low income area . A total of 30 houses in the township of Cato Manor benefited from green upgrades,including solar water heaters, insulated ceilings to protect homes from heat, LED lights replacing unsafe lighting, heat insulation cookers and rainwater harvesting. Not only did energy use go down, but the average temperature decrease indoors was 4-7 degrees.

The Green Street demonstration proves that green homes are indeed better for people as well as for the climate, with locals fondly naming the street Isimosezulu (meaning ‘climate’) COP17 Place.

Five years on and in the lead up to COP22, we can see that while barriers still exist, the solutions to scaling green homes are clear.

It’s time for every street in the world to become a green street.
Earn valuable CPD credits

Redeem your 50% discount

How to use product life cycle analysis to your advantage. (David Baggs)

Source: theclimategroup


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

A GREEN HOMES REVOLUTION IS HAPPENING AROUND THE WORLD: TERRI WILLS, WORLD GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL

Terri Wills, Chief Executive Officer, World Green Building Council, explains how green building schemes are expanding around the world to bring economic and environmental benefits to city-dwellers and businesses alike. 

When we think of green buildings, we often picture towering office buildings with green walls and state-of-the-art technologies – such as the iconic Empire State Building retrofit or the EDGE office building in Amsterdam – with shiny LEED or BREEAM plaques at reception, boasting of their environmental credentials.

But whether small, big, multi-unit, stand-alone, urban, rural, it is actually the humble green home which represents one of the greatest untapped opportunities to improve our lives.

Homes represent directly 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but they can also contribute to serious health problems. According to the World Health Organization, lung and respiratory diseases associated with poor indoor environment quality are three of the top five leading causes of death.

Greening our homes will help us as individuals and as a society to thrive today – and in the future.

So why, then, are all homes not green? Many of our 74 Green Building Councils see a few key barriers. These include:

  • a gap in understanding of the why and how;
  • lack of financial mechanisms;
  • reluctance from governments to set regulations and incentives; and
  • an urgent need for housing which drives the construction of fast and cheap homes.

But our Green Building Councils see these barriers as surmountable. So we are rolling out ambitious programs to galvanize communities, governments and the private sector to create more green homes.

GREEN BUILDING SCALE-UP

One of the more successful approaches to scaling up green homes around the world is the use of voluntary certification or rating schemes.

Green Building Councils in Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa and the US, among others, are using large-scale implementation of these schemes – like LEED and Green Star – to create a common definition of what a green building is and facilitate the delivery of green buildings by professionals.

Our New Zealand Green Building Council saw an increase in the number of registrations for Green Star homes certification from 550 to 2,500 units in 2014-15 alone. And in Auckland, a proposed policy will see a six ‘Homestar’ rating – the highest – being a minimum requirement for new developments with multiple homes.

In India, 40% of the total 3.61 billion square feet of green building space constructed is residential. The ratings systems developed by India GBC encourages designers to address national priorities – and by working closely with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation to develop guidelines for Affordable Housing, several state governments have given incentives in the form of higher ‘floor area ration’ for green homes.

Ten years ago, the incremental cost of green homes in India was 6-8%, but now it is only 1-2%. For barely any extra cost, these green homes are seeing energy savings of 40-50% and water savings of 20-30%. Soon, these benefitswill come at zero extra cost.

FINANCE MECHANISMS

In addition to certification, our Green Building Councils are seeing that the right financial mechanisms also drives take-up of green homes. In Europe, a group consisting of major banks and banking federations, valuers and Green Building Councils and their technical members, have started exploring the case for a European ‘Green Mortgage’.

This new mortgage will recognize the potential risks inherent in holding large investments in non-green property, as well as the potential upsides of energy efficient homes. Once implemented, our Green Building Councils believe the Green Mortgage will enable green homes to become mainstream.

Green Building Councils are also seeing that training and awareness-raising can drive both supply and demand for green homes. Jordan’s Green Building Council has partnered with Habitat for Humanity Jordan to increase green building knowledge within the informal sector.

The initiative is helping translate local needs into simple sustainable designs implemented by local builders with support from green building professionals, creating local capacity and knowledge that can spread through the community.

In South Africa, our Green Building Council also developed a few creative awareness-raising approaches. The My Green Home campaign has created a ‘green home makeover’ show that saw one family managing to halve their electricity and water consumption.

During the global COP17 climate talks in Durban, our Council also created South Africa’s first ‘Green Street’ upgrade in a low income area . A total of 30 houses in the township of Cato Manor benefited from green upgrades, including solar water heaters, insulated ceilings to protect homes from heat, LED lights replacing unsafe lighting, heat insulation cookers and rainwater harvesting. Not only did energy use go down, but the average temperature decrease indoors was 4-7 degrees.

The Green Street demonstration proves that green homes are indeed better for people as well as for the climate, with locals fondly naming the street Isimosezulu (meaning ‘climate’) COP17 Place.

Five years on and in the lead up to COP22, we can see that while barriers still exist, the solutions to scaling green homes are clear.

It’s time for every street in the world to become a green street.

Earn valuable CPD credits

Redeem your 50% discount

How to use product life cycle analysis to your advantage. (David Baggs)

Source: theclimategroup


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

Green Buildings In Developing Countries, Significant for Climate Change

What’s the most important step governments can take to combat climate change?

Find sales opportunities in your market

Surprisingly, building codes in developing countries are #1 for Faith Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency.

Developing countries are where growth is concentrated and if all buildings going up aren’t extremely efficient, we’ll be locking in high greenhouse gas emissions for decades, she told The Guardian.

This can be done through regulations and incentives fairly easily but enforcement may take longer, he says, pointing to the often lax standards in many countries.

In the US, for example, a home built to 2012 codes uses about half the energy as one built in 1975, and there’s room for even more efficiency, says Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Not only would they consume less energy, buildings would be much safer from disasters and more comfortable for occupants as the world warms. Birol also calls for more incentives for electric vehicles and for carbon capture in order to meet the Paris Climate Agreement goals.

Luckily, green buildings are now the preferred choice around the world, with the number doubling every three years, but that doesn’t mean plenty of energy hogs aren’t being constructed.

China In Africa

China is investing heavily in Africa, a scary prospect, given its outsized development appetite.

China ranks #3 for LEED-certified buildings, but it only has about 2000 green buildings compared to 54,000 in the US.

Whether they are building green in Africa we don’t know, but we do know they are building entire cities including infrastructure like highways, light rail and electric grids.

A walled-off city next to Lagos, Nigeria, is called a “special economic zone,” designed specifically to attract investors. After Shenzhen, China became a “special economic zone” in the 1980s, it grew from 20,000 people to about 15 million today, becoming the “factory of the world,” reports Fast Company. Inside the walls will be the new city’s airport, electric grid, harbor and police force. Separation from Lagos is necessary, say developers, because the city is dangerous and chaotic.

Another “special economic zone” is outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where a Chinese shoe factory employs local workers.

50 economic zones are planned in Africa and six are built.

Will China be allowed turn Africa into a continent of megacities and epic sprawl?

Photographer Nick Brandt’s life-sized panels show where Africa’s wildlife used to roam, but no longer, because of development.

Earn valuable CPD credits

Redeem your 50% discount

How to use product life cycle analysis to your advantage. (David Baggs)

Source: sustainablebusiness


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

Water Risks Higher in Green Buildings, Report Finds

Researchers at Virginia Tech say that water conservation measures in green buildings can increase the length of time that water stands in plumbing systems, thereby increasing the risk that water will become contaminated with microbes, including the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

A report in Chemistry World said that the study measured chlorine levels, temperature, and microbial content in the water supply in different types of green buildings, ranging from an office building to a net-zero energy home. It found that chlorine disinfectant in the water decayed as much as 144 times faster in green buildings because of increased water age.

Green buildings typically have low-flow showerheads and faucets and may have water storage features. As a result, water sits in pipes longer than it would in conventional buildings, “risking problems with corrosion, unappealing taste and microbial growth,” the magazine said.

“We are at the beginning of a green building revolution where new products and approaches to water and energy conservation are coming to the market much faster than we can critically evaluate their impact,” lead researcher William Rhoads said.

The study was published by Royal Society of Chemistry. (For access to the report, free registration is required.)

Three green buildings studied

The number of buildings sold as “green” has increased exponentially, the report says, with LEED-certified buildings increasing from fewer than 7,500 in 2010 to more than 75,000 in 2014. As much as 48% of all new non-residential construction was expected to be green by this year.

“High water age is inherent to some green plumbing designs, and it has the potential to negatively impact the chemical and microbiological quality of drinking water in building plumbing systems,” the authors said. “More work is needed to help achieve water conservation goals without compromising water quality or public health.”

Researchers defined green potable water systems as those achieving at least a 20% decrease in use over conventional (no conservation) construction.

High water age is known to affect corrosion, taste, and odor, and it also has “possible implications for opportunistic pathogens” including Legionella, non-tuberculosis mycobacteria, and other waterborne pathogens of high concern in the U.S. These “opportunistic pathogens in premise plumbing,” or OPPPs, are “integral members of potable water microbial communities” but have been studied only a few times before in green water systems.

Researchers looked at water systems in three types of green construction: a 10,000-square-foot LEED-Gold healthcare facility, a net-zero energy single-family home, and a net-zero energy office. Total water storage ranged from an 80-gallon water heater in the healthcare facility to a 3,000-gallon cistern in the net-zero energy office building. A conventional household with no green features also was included. In all cases, copper was the primary plumbing material/ (PEX was used in one system beyond the plumbing manifold.)

A sampling plan was developed for each of the buildings, designed to test water quality as the water came out of the taps.

Water age and microbial content varied

In each of the three green buildings, the survey found “extremely high water age” because of energy- and water-conservation features. In the building with the 3,000-gallon cistern, water age ranged from 2 to 6.7 months. Water consumption at the healthcare facility was 60 times lower than it would be in a typical commercial building; at the net-zero energy house, a solar water heater increased hot water storage and hot water age from less than 1 day to 2.7 days.

At all field sites, the report said, bacterial markers were higher in stagnant water samples than in flushed samples. In the conventional house, levels of Legionella and other bacteria “were below the quantification limit in stagnant samples and below the detection limit in flushed samples.” That was not the case with the net-zero energy house, where genetic markers were “frequently present” in hot and cold stagnant and flushed shower samples.

A key finding was the rapid decay of chlorine disinfectant residuals in green buildings, once a problem thought to occur only rarely.

“This study reveals cause for concern about the public health implications of green building water systems, particularly with respect to potential creation of conditions ideal for the proliferation of OPPPs,” the study said. “Given the rapid expansion of green building construction at a time when OPPPs are now the primary source of waterborne disease outbreaks, fundamental research is needed to guide green building science down a path that protects public health while also conserving water and energy.”

Source: greenbuildingadvisor


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

Tshwane Launches Green Economy Research Network

The City of Tshwane has partnered with the University of South Africa as one of its key research and academic stakeholders in its expedition to inaugurate the Tshwane Green Economy Research Network.

The Tshwane Green Economy Research Network to be launched on November 24th, is a collaborative research and knowledge exchange platform established to advise and provide research support to the City of Tshwane in its agenda to transition towards a green economy.

The platform brings together researchers, academia, thought leaders and industry experts to promote a shared-learning partnership, knowledge exchange and collaboration to advance green projects in the Capital City.

“The City has committed itself to a sustainable path of economic growth and development pursued in several ways including green urban designs, providing sustainable forms of public transport, integrated transport systems, hybrid engines, green buildings and supporting the demand management interventions to mention a few”.

“Collaboration and exchanging of knowledge through focused thematic networks will bring a significant contribution to better understand the green economy pathway and come up with sustainable ways to meet citizens’ social, economic and material needs”- said the Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Cllr Kgosientso Ramokgopa

Source: allafrica


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

Financing green buildings and retrofits still a challenge

Green building has become a no-brainer, as South Africa’s energy crisis worsens with no indication of abating and rolling power outages now seemingly a part of daily life.

The general consensus among industry players was that green buildings were a nice-to-have and the perceived high capital requirements of sustainable building would erode returns.

How times have changed for green buildings to now being the standard for quality real estate in the country.

As associate and sustainability consultant at WSP Africa Alison Groves puts it: “The uptake of the green movement in South Africa has been exponential [and] there is a deep understanding of the benefits of green building.”

In fact, United States-based McGraw-Hill Construction in its World Green Building Trends survey supports Groves’ views. South Africa’s adoption of green building, according to the survey, trumps most developed regions which include Europe, Australia, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Brazil.

While South Africa is only playing catch-up to its developed and developing counters, the survey pegs the country’s take up of green building to grow three-fold, from a measured 16% in 2012 to 52% by 2015.

“The future for green building is more concentrated in South Africa compared to other parts of the world… Notably, South Africa is one of the only countries with a high reported level of green activity in the residential marketplace,” the survey notes.

When South Africa’s green building movement started in 2007, the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) only certified one building and years later 100 buildings are currently certified.

Despite the country’s progress, most financial institutions are only now beginning to tap into this market by offering capital for green developments and retrofitting initiatives (conversions of buildings built to traditional standards). Property developments by nature are capital intensive and most developers rely largely on financial institutions.

Associate in banking and finance at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright Rorisang Mongoato says property financiers are still using mainstream lending practices, as financing green buildings is not a separate activity from their overall focus.

“Banks are not that sophisticated in green building, as most don’t have dedicated green building divisions. They need to tweak their transactions in financing a green building,” Mongoato says.

She says most financial institutions don’t have the requisite skills in the form of green building professionals who understand the rating system for green buildings, requirements of green buildings compared with conventional buildings and incentives for energy efficient buildings.

Despite these setbacks, she says financial institutions are cognisant of having green building and funding solutions for developers, but she stresses that “it is still early days and a work in progress.”

In the interim, many green building or retrofit projects are being bankrolled by property developers, says GBCSA CEO Brian Wilkinson.

“We have seen most retrofits funded by tenants or owners. The private sector seems to be leading the market with some property developers and property owners applying a green mandate to their businesses with visible returns on their investments,” Wilkinson told Moneyweb.

Implementing energy efficient initiatives, such as replacing conventional light systems with energy efficient lighting, upgrading chillers, investing in rain harvesting technology, waste disposal, solar panel heating, can translate into higher returns on a building.

“Investment in off-grid or co-generation is really starting to take hold as such projects increase their commercial value in the face of the electricity crisis,” Wilkinson says.

Also green buildings are allowing developers to reap the rewards of having lower operating costs, increased productivity and tenant retention as they usually favour energy efficient buildings, says Groves.

Groves adds: “Tenants understand that they would rather pay more in their square metres and reduce their risks in terms of energy costs. Those tenants are demanding green buildings because they see the benefits of going green.”

However, the focus among financiers has been on independent power producers, with the public and private sector looking to grow this market.

Source: moneyweb


Follow Alive2Green on Social Media
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle +

Green Capital: The City of Tshwane’s Green Economy Strategic Framework

GBJ 10 (2014)

By Alistair Schorn

As South Africa’s capital city, the City of Tshwane has recognised and embraced its responsibility to play a leading role in the transition of the county’s major cities and metropolitan areas to low-carbon, climate- resilient and resource-efficient models of development. This is clearly demonstrated in the development of the City’s Green Economy Strategic Framework, and its alignment with the City of Tshwane Vision 2055.

As with any initiative at the level of local government this framework was developed in alignment with the national economic development context. In this regard, the South African government has for a number of years recognised the green economy as a significant catalyst for employment creation, and socially equitable and environmentally responsible economic development. More specifically, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs states that the green economy refers in particular to two interlinked developmental outcomes for the South African economy, namely:

  • Growth in economic activity (leading investment, employment and competitiveness) in identified green industry sectors;
  • An overall shift in economic activity towards cleaner industries and sectors that have a low environmental impact compared to their socio-economic impact.

In line with these imperatives, the government has implemented a number of policy measures which aim to promote a transition to a green economy. These include the National Strategy for Sustainable Development, the Industrial Policy Action Plan, the New Growth Path, the Green Economy Accord and most recently, the National Development Plan that was released in 2012.

In the context of these national policy measures, strategies and plans, the implementation of South Africa’s green economy transition has been to the level of a significant degree decentralised to provincial and local government level. As a result, the City of Tshwane has identified a requirement to develop a city-specific Green Economy Strategic Framework, which reinforces national policy and provincial policy in this area.

What is a green economy and how can we get there?

In developing the Green Economy Strategic Framework for Tshwane, the City’s government has adopted the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) definition of a green economy, namely “one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities”

From the City’s perspective, therefore, the essence of a green economy lies in the following:

  • Improved human well-being;
  • Improved social equity;
  • Reduced environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

It is therefore imperative that a green economy transition can de-couple economic development from resource consumption and environmental impacts, and enable inclusive growth through a more equal distribution of wealth and access to ecological goods and services such as clean air and water.

It should also enable improved human health and well-being, through enhancing the quality and quantity of these goods and services, as well as the quantity and quality of public infrastructure and services such as transportation, education and civil services.

If implemented effectively, a green economy can offer a new economic path to sustainable development, in which the spheres of technology, economy, society and ecology are embedded in each other and are underpinned by systems of good governance.

Sustainable development and the green economy (adapted from the National Strategy for Sustainable Development).

This understanding of a green economy provides the broader context for the development of the City of Tshwane’s Strategic Framework.

The successful implementation of this Framework, and the resulting transition to a green economy, will require that the City makes best use of its inherent competitive advantages, to develop a highly appropriate, resource-efficient, low-carbon and inclusive programme.

The City of Tshwane

Tshwane is of course located in the north of Gauteng, and comprises over one-third of the province’s area. It has a population of 2, 92 million and a population density of 4 634 people per km2.

Tshwane exhibits a diversity of land uses, including residential (rural and urban), agricultural, natural open, industrial and commercial. Much of Tshwane is currently urbanised, although significant potential exists for agricultural production in less urbanised regions. Over the past several decades, Tshwane has experienced rapid economic growth and development, resulting in significant urban sprawl, which presents a growing challenge in terms of basic services, infrastructure and housing.

One of the objectives of the Strategic Framework is of new and existing projects and programmes to be included in the City of Tshwane’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) in the next planning cycle. The IDP for 2011–2016 has made significant improvements in livelihoods by addressing service backlogs and poverty through improving the availability and universal accessibility of essential public services (such as housing, water, sanitation, education and health care). The next IDP will therefore need to continue with service delivery roll-out, while at the same time focusing on the development of integrated solutions that reduce resource consumption and the generation of pollution and waste, while opening up new opportunities for green jobs and green economic growth.

The Strategic Framework will help to inform the City of Tshwane’s medium to long-term green economy objectives. It also forms part of the Tshwane 2055 initiative, which is a long-term strategy for improving the quality of living across the metropolitan area, revitalising the city, boosting economic development and attracting investment. It aims to articulate the City of Tshwane’s vision, game-changing interventions, indicators and outcomes.

In this regard, Tshwane 2055 has the following six identified outcomes:

  • A resilient and resource-efficient city;
  • A growing economy that is inclusive, diversified and competitive;
  • Quality infrastructure development that supports liveable communities;
  • An equitable city that supports happiness, social cohesion, safety and healthy citizens;
  • An African capital city that promotes excellence and innovative governance solutions;
  • An activist citizenry that is engaging, aware of their rights and present themselves as partners in tackling societal challenges.

The Tshwane Green Economy Strategic Framework is aimed at addressing primarily the first of these objectives, namely the development of a resilient and resource-efficient city. It will also contribute to achievement of the second objective, particularly in the area of economic inclusivity.

The Tshwane Green Economy Strategic Framework

The development process for the Framework included extensive internal consultation with relevant City officials, and significant support and participation were received from local UNEP representatives. Based upon this process, the principal drivers of the green economy were identified as a response to the growing economic and environmental crises that demand a new green economic model for the following:

  • Resource efficiency: the efficient use of natural resources to reduce the generation of waste and pollutants;
  • Low-carbon development: the use of innovation and increased investment in low-carbon technologies and solutions; and
  • Inclusive growth: the creation of green jobs and the greening of service delivery to ensure more equitable and inclusive growth with a focus on the poor.

It was decided that the focus areas or themes of the Strategic Framework should be action-based and aligned with existing green economy initiatives and strategies. These themes were accordingly finalised in March 2013, and were divided into two principal categories or clusters, namely mitigation and adaptation.Within each of these themes, the status quo and challenges were described to give context and perspective. Known challenges and barriers to developing the City’s green economy were used to formulate aspirations, objectives and appropriate actions for each theme.

These were incorporated into an initial draft of the Strategic Framework that was reviewed and finalised by the City of Tshwane’s Sustainability Office.

Thematic action areas

Under each of the mitigation and adaptation clusters, the Framework identifies the following specific thematic action areas, as follows:

1. Transitioning to a low-carbon city (mitigation)

  • Pollution and waste management – reduction and effective management of waste streams, including solid waste, wastewater and air pollution;
  • Integrated water resource management – coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources;
  • Green buildings and built environment – the development of a green built environment in the City, including spatial planning and public service infrastructure, with due consideration of national initiatives in this area;
  • Sustainable transport and improved mobility – improved efficiency and sustainability in transport systems and infrastructure, and the creation of an enabling environment for green transport initiatives;
  • Sustainable energy – including initiatives, in line with various national policies and programmes in the field.

2. Building a resilient and resource-efficient city (adaptation)

  • Maintenance and provision of ecosystem goods and services – protection and enhancement of ecosystem goods and services, with due consideration of ecological limits and rates of replenishment;
  • Sustainable agriculture and food security – creation of sustainable food supply systems which maintain and enhance the ecological integrity of land and other natural resources;
  • Sustainable communities (health and social development) – promotion of a vibrant citizenry and a healthy, skilled workforce that contributes to improved wellbeing and social cohesion.

For each of these themes, a set of overall aspirations, strategic objectives and appropriate actions were developed for the Framework.

Specific mitigation actions include the following: reducing emissions from buildings; improving mobility and providing low-carbon mass transport options; reducing the generation of waste and encouraging product re-use, recycling and material recovery; promoting integrated planning and land use; improving energy efficiency and developing renewable energy supply options; and encouraging the efficient use and management of water and other natural resources.

The adaptation actions include: main- streaming environmental priorities and carrying out biodiversity assessments to inform development plans; supporting and expanding government public works programmes to incorporate payment for an ecosystem services approach, enhancing the skills and knowledge in agro-ecology, enhancing local urban and peri-urban food production for increased food security; and providing services and facilities that enable a safe and healthy environment while enhancing opportunities for improved connectivity and social cohesion and human wellbeing.

A number of specific methods of implementation were identified to promote the establishment of a green economy in the City, including the following:

  • Investing strategically in green innovation and technology;
  • Defining a new economic base for a green economy; and
  • Developing partnerships between government, business, labour and civil society.

In terms of these implementation methods, the Framework identifies the financial constraints under which the City (and in fact all municipalities) operate, as a potential inhibitor of transition to a green economy, and it acknowledges the necessity for effective public-private partnerships to overcome this obstacle.

Furthermore, the Framework refers to the possible use of municipal fiscal policy, in the form of both incentives and disincentives, as an effective method of catalysing the growth of a green economy in the city.

A final element of the Framework, included as an Appendix, outlines the City’s targets for various measures and initiatives for a green economy as derived from national and provincial targets in these areas.

These include areas such as the installation of solar water heaters, the creation of green jobs, public sector investment in green economy sectors such as renewable energy and sustainable transportation, energy efficiency targets, waste reduction targets and the implementation of appropriate sustainability standards such as those for green buildings.

The City of Tshwane’s transition to a green economy will require a fundamental change in the established economic system, from one based on increasing exploitation of natural resources to fulfil the growing demands for material consumption, to one that can ensure sustainable and equitable growth within the ecological limits of Tshwane and the region.

Achieving this shift will require effective integrated planning, robust policy signals, good governance and high levels of accountability on the part of the City’s management. It will also require investment in new skills, research in innovation and green technologies, and a new mindset for doing business.

The Green Economy Strategic Framework provides a means to achieve these objectives, by outlining the suite of strategies and actions that are required to facilitate the City’s transition to a green economy and a sustainable development path.