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Green Building Council announces South Africa’s first socio-economic impact certification

Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) announced Karl Bremer Office Block in Bellville, Cape Town, is the first project to achieve a Socio-Economic Category (SEC) Pilot rating in Africa as part of its 5-Star Green Star SA rating, achieved at the same time. The office block is a project of the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works.

The Socio-Economic Category Pilot is a world-first for rating tools. The GBCSA has taken the lead in developing a set of socio-economic criteria for green building rating tools. Simultaneously it has developed an International Socio-Economic Framework for the World Green Building Council, which can be used by other green building councils to apply to their rating tools.

Socio-economic factors are particularly relevant in developing countries such as South Africa, and extend green buildings to encompass not just environmental sustainability but also socio-economic sustainability.

The Socio-Economic Category allows the socio-economic achievements of new buildings and major retrofits, new buildings and major retrofits to be recognised and rewarded under Green Star SA tools.  It is a separate optional category for which projects can be rated alongside their standard Green Star SA certifications. The development of the rating tool category was sponsored by Old Mutual Property. The socio-economic category is in its pilot phase and being tested before it is converted into a ‘version one’ rating tool category.

Brian Wilkinson, CEO of GBCSA, says: “Our property sector is truly becoming a growing force for good in South Africa, not only for the environment but also for people and business too. Societal challenges such as poverty, unemployment, lack of education and skills, and health can all be addressed, at least to some degree, through the way we design, build and operate buildings.”

He adds: “We encourage property owners, developers and designers to use the Socio-Economic Category to assess, improve and certify their project’s socio-economic features. Social and economic factors are important to address broader sustainability issues in our communities and businesses.”

The design for the Karl Bremer Office Block has achieved a 5-Star Green Star SA Office V1 Design rating. It is on the Karl Bremer Hospital site, on the corner of Mike Pienaar Boulevard and Frans Conradie Avenue. The Department of Transport and Public Works, Provincial Government Western Cape owns the building under construction, which will be occupied by the provincial Department of Health.

The Green Star SA Accredited Professional on the project is Nick Gorrie from Agama. He says: “Karl Bremer Office Block is developing into an exciting and innovative project. On one hand, there are multiple innovations and sustainable designs that have been incorporated into the base building. On the other hand the entire Project Team is dedicated to achieving a Socio-Economic Category rating. It has been a challenging project so far but, with the commitment and drive of the whole team, it is aiming for a positive result.” A building that previously stood on the site was demolished and the new offices are under construction for completion in mid-2016.

The new building is designed to have a footprint of 1,927m2 and gross floor area of 7,520m2 on a site area of 14,046m2. It’s landscaped area, including a 98m2 roof garden, covers 4,761m2, or 32% of its total site area. It comprises a north and south wing, connected by a common core, with a single security-controlled access point. It has a basement, as well as offices and meeting rooms on its ground to fifth floors, and a mechanical plant on its roof.

Head of Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, Jacqui Gooch, says the building fits in with the Western Cape Government’s 110% Green initiative, launched on World Environment Day 2012. Gooch explains 110% Green calls for a paradigm shift to connect environmental preservation and economic growth. She adds it aims to be a catalyst to build a critical mass of activity that puts the Western Cape well on the road to becoming Africa’s Green Economic Hub.

“The Department of Transport and Public Works is 110% committed to ensure the properties we build are in line with the 110% Green Initiative. We aim to provide a platform that stimulates people and organisations to build an innovative and dynamic green economy and this project is an example of our commitment,” says Gooch.

There are seven possible credits for the Socio-Economic Category to recognise achievements across a priority set of factors. They are: employment creation, economic opportunity, skills development and training, community benefit, empowerment, safety and health and – only applicable to multi-unit residential projects – mixed-income housing.

For Karl Bremer Office Block, its employment creation targets at least 10% or more of total labour employed during the construction to comprise of disadvantaged people who are collectively from the target groups of youth, women or disabled people. It will measure this by percentage cost of the contract value.

When it comes to economic opportunity, it targets three main impacts. The first is a minimum contract participation goal of 5% of the total project value on selected contracts to be undertaken by joint-venture partners or sub-contracted to developing contractors that are also beneficiaries of enterprise development support from the main contractor.

The second is a minimum 30%, or 25% of contract value, of the procurement of project-specific goods and services during the construction phase from any SMEs or SMEs that are either black owned or black women owned respectively. Third, the project is targeting a minimum of 70% of the contract value for materials, products and services produced or generated within South Africa.

The project’s skills development target is to be compliant with Construction Industry Development Board Standards of Developing Skills through Infrastructure Projects. It aims to do this by providing different types of workplace opportunities and mentorships for learning and skills development over the project period, which lead to recognised qualifications.

For safety and health, the project aims to improve the primary health of construction workers and promote better safety practices. Besides standard construction regulations, the project’s contractor will have to conduct full medical screening tests and basic health awareness programmes for all construction-related employees. The Karl Bremer Office Block design team also conducted Hazardous Identification Risk Assessments of their designs.

As the starting point for its positive impacts, the project’s design delivers green benefits that are good for the environment. These include zero discharge to sewer through a blackwater treatment plant and re-use of treated blackwater for supply to HVAC cooling towers. It will also have zero storm water discharge to municipal storm water infrastructure through multiple Bioretention areas.

Wilkinson says, “We applaud the Karl Bremer Office Block development team for committing the project to the Socio-Economic Category Pilot and achieving the first pilot project certification. Projects such as this are set to have a hugely positive impact in South Africa.” Wilkinson adds the GBCSA hopes to issue many Socio-Economic Category certifications in the future. “We are confident the Socio-Economic Category will not only acknowledge leadership in social and economic upliftment but also inspire more and more positive socio-economic impacts and benefits in the property sector.”

Source: eprop


 

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Black River Park first Green Star SA rated office precinct in SA

Black River Park in Cape Town has become the first office precinct in South Africa to receive Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) certified Green Star SA ratings for all its buildings.

The eight buildings at Black River Park office precinct in Observatory, offering a combined 75,000m² of office space, have earned unparalleled green building credentials. Besides being the first full office park to have all buildings Green Star SA rated, it is also home to the first Green Star SA Existing Building Performance (EBP) certified building and the first buildings to receive a 6 Star Green Star SA Existing Building Performance rating.

Brian Wilkinson, CEO of GBCSA, comments, “This is a major achievement, both for Black River Park and for GBCSA. Certifying all eight of Black River Park’s existing buildings is quite a feat, especially for a precinct of this size. It is an exciting example of outstanding sustainable innovation, and confirms the vision of its management team and their outstanding commitment to sustainability.”

He adds, “We would like to see more business parks following this leading example. All the buildings at Black River Park were certified using the EBP rating tool. The EBP tool means that South Africa’s many existing buildings in established office parks can now be retrofitted with green innovations and certified. This has huge potential for positive impacts to our environment, our businesses and our economy.” Nedbank Corporate Property Finance sponsored the EBP tool.

Black River Park is home to more than 110 companies, including the GBCSA’s head office and South African Property Owners Association’s Western Cape offices. It is now owned by JSE-listed Redefine Properties. Redefine acquired the landmark green office precinct as part of its Leaf Capital deal earlier this year.

Redefine CEO, Andrew Konig, comments, “The Black River Park complex has set itself apart with pioneering green initiatives and sustainable building management. We are exceptionally pleased to acquire this property, which perfectly supports our commitment to sustainability.”

The Black River Park buildings received maximum points on all credits targeted in their Green Star SA submissions. Three buildings received a 6-Star Green Star SA rating, three received 5-Star certifications and two earned 4-Star ratings.

Sally Misplon of Misplon Green Building Consulting, the Green Star Accredited Professional and principal participant in the green project team, guided Black River Park right from the very start in its certification project.

Some of the green initiatives undertaken by the office precinct to secure its ratings include:

  • The largest roof-mounted photovoltaic system in Southern Africa.
  • Feeding electricity back into the grid.
  • A high-performance green cleaning programme.
  • 68% of the tenants in the office park signed a Green Lease. These leases encourages collaboration and govern the relationship between the building owner and the tenant to manage and operate the building along environmentally sustainable principles, to the benefit of both.
  • For comfort and well-being, the building features performance glass and balcony overhangs, to reduce heat and shield harsh sunlight.
  • All lights in common areas were replaced with LEDs, with owners and tenants both benefiting from cost savings achieved as a result. A financing option was also offered to tenants to enable them to retrofit to LED in their own premises.
  • Indoor air quality testing and management.
  • All 6 Star rated buildings stood out for water and energy performance. They outperformed the Green Star benchmarks and achieved significant improvement on their baselines.
  • Sustainable management and operations that optimise the buildings’ environmental performance.
  • A green travel plan to encourage alternative modes of transport to and from work.
  • Sustainable procurement and purchasing practices. For every product or consumable purchased by Black River Park, the most sustainable one is selected.
  • All waste at the park is sorted into recyclable and non-recyclable materials. It also correctly disposes of fluorescent tubing, batteries and e-waste. Garden waste is recycled and reused as mulch.
  • Ecological gardens, including a vegetable garden and fruit orchard, are maintained with borehole water pumped on site.

Perhaps some of the most exciting green innovations at Black River Park are those involving the park’s tenants. These include holding a ‘cycle to work’ day, a clean-up of the Liesbeeck River that runs past the park and other activations with the precinct’s tenant community. Numerous other presentations and showcase tours are held for parties such as UCT, African Utility Week, Iziko museum and the like.

“It is wonderful to see an office park owner going above and beyond what’s required for certification,” says Wilkinson. “These initiatives encourage people to do more within green spaces and enjoy their many benefits. They bring sustainable environments to life and encourage the wider community to become an active part of the green building movement.”

Source: Cape Business News

South Africa: How green is ‘officially’ green?

Given the threat of both an energy and water crisis, President Jacob Zuma has encouraged the private sector to “go green”, with government now looking to increase the energy efficiency incentives on offer. But how green do you have to go to be considered officially green, and how will this be measured and rated?

“Support for green initiatives was also stated in the budget speech, but I believe that businesses still find themselves in an uncertain position as to what it is they’re supposed to do,” says Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).

Wilkinson adds: “The possibility of incentives for greater efficiency will certainly encourage more green buildings initiatives. But, there will need to be a clear measure of efficiencies for government to confidently and consistently award these incentives.

Businesses especially will now more than ever be looking for solutions to bring about reductions in operation and facilities management costs in light of, for example, Eskom’s recent announcement that they would be appealing for an additional 9,5% increase on electricity costs over and above the already approved 12%. Sustainable solutions are desperately sought.

“Green has become a new buzz word with many businesses and service providers claiming to be sustainable in their offering and operations. This focus on green building has demonstrated the need for a rigorous, standardised system that rates just how green projects are with tangible results to back up these claims. “

Fortunately, this system is already in place with the GBCSA’s Green Star SA rating tools.

“With these tools we can not only guarantee that businesses live up to their green building claims, but also assist with their endeavours to minimise their carbon footprint,” says Wilkinson. “With happier, healthier employees and existing of evidence significantly reduced operations and maintenance costs at greener buildings, the benefits of a Green Star SA rating are extensive.”

Building owners looking to achieve a Green Star SA rating can, together with their green building consultant, submit the necessary documentation to the GBCSA. “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,” Wilkinson explains.

Office, retail, multi-unit residential, public and education buildings, as well as existing commercial buildings are all catered for with rating tools designed specifically for the various projects. The GBCSA has also recently introduced a Green Star SA Interiors tool which focuses primarily on efficient maintenance and operations of interior fit-outs and caters for a broad range of tenancies, including office, retail and hospitality projects.

“With this tool the tenants have all the power, allowing each tenancy to have their own unique environmental design initiatives fairly and independently benchmarked. It rewards healthy, productive places to work which are less costly to operate and maintain and have a reduced environmental footprint,” he says.

For existing buildings, the Green Star SA – Existing Building Performance (EBP) tool covers the same environmental categories addressed in the Green Star SA new building tools but also places focus on the efficient operations and management of the building. This rating is only valid for a period of three years, to ensure the building is continually well operated and maintained and energy and water monitoring, management policies and plans are all required.

Wilkinson advises the most effective and simple starting point to check the performance of your building is the GBCSA’s Energy Water Performance (EWP) mini-tool. This tool benchmarks an office building’s energy and water consumption against an industry mean. So, if your asset compares poorly, you can be sure that investing in its electricity and water efficiency will bring worthwhile benefits to the building’s bottom line, attractiveness, and sustainability, and the environment too. While the EWP mini-tool makes up 40% of the EBP, it is also available as a separate certification.

“Green Star SA rating tools are comparable to those of other green building councils around the world, making them a reliable benchmark, not only across South Africa, but internationally too,” he says.

Source: African Environment


 

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Net Zero Waste in Construction

By Gordon Brown

According to the World Green Building Council the construction sector accounts for up to 40% of waste in landfill sites worldwide, and while this figure may be lower in South Africa construction remains a significant contributor to landfill content. The National Waste Information Baseline Report (DEA2012) indicates that the construction sector is responsible for 8% of all waste generated, although it is unclear whether this number includes the waste from product suppliers during production, which is significant. Importantly this statistic also excludes the ongoing operational waste generated in all occupied buildings, and so is understated.

Construction waste is made up of aggregates (concrete, stones, bricks) and soils, wood, metals, glass, biodegradable waste, plastic, insulation and gypsum based materials, paper and cardboard, a very high percentage of which are reusable or recyclable if separated at source. Currently 16% of construction waste is recycled in South Africa (NWIBR).

Trends and forces for change

The green building movement is being spearheaded by the CSIR and the Green Building Council of South Africa, the latter having set up rating tools that award points for, amongst other green building aspects, resource efficiency for designs which reduce waste.

Best Practice

Construction waste emanates due in some part to inconsiderate design, construction, maintenance, renovation and demolition, as well as supplier considerations such as packaging. Intelligent design and best practices during each phase can significantly reduce waste.

Design

Architects and engineers have a very significant opportunity to affect the waste generated through the life cycle of a building by determining the method of construction and the materials specified. From simple strategies like utilising building rubble onsite as fill for instance, or reusing items from demolished buildings such as wooden window frames, by specifying materials with recycled content, and adopting strategies and building methods geared to dismantling and designed for deconstruction – design affects everything, and with careful planning and consideration given to waste and reusing materials at concept stage, much waste to landfill can be avoided. An example of this is modular construction.

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It is also very important at design stage to consider how the building is going to manage operational waste while the building is occupied – sufficient space will be required for recycling storage and sorting, as well as the access to various floors and of course for collection.

Construction

At a waste management level, there are a number of best practices to ensure maximum recyclability of materials on site:

  • Make this consideration a key performance criterion when appointing contractors
  • Set targets for % of waste not to go to landfill (refer to Green Star SA for achievable best practice)
  • Have a waste management plan drawn up according to best practice prior to beginning the project(ie. Part of the tender/brief document)
  • Have correctly marked skips for certain waste streams
  • Ensure that the correct paper work is filed for all items removed from site
  • Safe disposal tickets for hazardous waste must be kept

Keep a monthly and overall project reports of all waste and at the conclusion of the project –confirm whether targets are being achieved

There are many great examples of achieving excellent standards in construction waste management, one of these was the first Green Star SA certified project in South Africa, the Nedbank Phase II building in Sandton – in 2008 the contractor was initially concerned about the high standards set within Green Star SA for waste diverted from landfill (30, 50, or 70% of construction waste). By the end of the project, with the good waste management programme they employed, they were surprised at the incredible success – they were able to divert over 90% of their construction waste from landfill. This is a significant achievement, and is replicable across all construction projects by implementing good waste management programmes.

Product and Material Suppliers suppliers have huge potential to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Many suppliers could provide their materials to site in a way that requires less or no ‘packaging’, or packaging that is recyclable, and also ensure that their contract with the construction contractors is such that their packaging is returned to them directly for recycling or reuse. ‘Packaging’ is a significant waste source. (Packaging refers to anything that is not the actual material that will be used and left installed on site.) Besides the ‘packaging’ referred to, the product suppliers are also responsible for a significant amount of waste at their own factory or storage houses – the contractors and design team can have a significant influence on the downstream waste impacts by contracting only with suppliers that minimise their waste production and maximise recycling and reuse of waste.

The building in operation

During the course of a buildings life it will require multiple new light bulbs, new carpets and flooring, painting, filling, stripping, windows due to breakages etc. Good building managers and operators can make the necessary effort to separate materials.

The Green Star SA rating tools will reward designers for making provision for separation operations within the utilities area of the building, and building maintenance would utilise these facilities for its waste streams. It is important to have both the space designed to store and sort the waste for collection, but also to have waste management policies in place for the ongoing operation while the building is occupied.

Market forces

As the market places a greater value on sustainability, products with recyclable content become more sought after. Masonry bricks made from crushed aggregates, tiles made from recycled plastics, are just two examples of products gaining traction.

On the waste disposal side, costs are rising but it remains relatively cheap to dispose of construction waste to landfill, cheaper in fact than general waste disposal which costs R272.00 per ton.

As costs increase so too does illegal dumping, which poses an environmental problem, and municipalities need to consider increasing the penalties imposed on transgressors and to find ways of policing illegal dumping more effectively. Perhaps funds from increased charges for legal dumping can be directed in part to policing illegal dumping.

The construction sector has a massive impact and a commensurate opportunity to effect positive and meaningful change. Through a combination of product design and innovation, building design and methods, and through best practice waste management on site the sector can radically reduce the amount of waste created and significantly improve on the rate of recycling.

Source: Green Building Handbook Volume 6


 

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South Africa’s new government building is “milestone” in green leadership

The South African government’s Department of Environmental Affairs has opened a brand new head office in Pretoria that exemplifies its approach to sustainable building, including the country’s National Climate Change Response Policy.

The building, which is 6 Green Star SA Office Design rated, is designed with the aim of capping energy consumption at 115kWh/m2 per year, 20% of which comes from the solar photovoltaic panels that cover the roof. A concentrated photovoltaic panel in the car park also tracks the sun in order to provide solar-powered charging stations for electric cars.

The design also makes use of rainwater harvesting and irrigation systems, and water-saving indigenous plants, in order to reduce water consumption by 30%.

In order to incentivise low energy consumption, the building also operates a “green lease” with it maintenance contractors, which monitors performance and introduces penalties if the building consumes more than planned.

For any building to achieve a 6-star rating is a feat that should be celebrated because of the high standard of green building design and construction applied.

This landmark new Green Building represents a major commitment by the government to green building and sustainable development. We welcome the green leadership shown,” commented Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the government-affiliated Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA).

For any building to achieve a 6-star rating is a feat that should be celebrated because of the high standard of green building design and construction applied. For a government building, this is a precedent setting move by the leadership of our country and is quite a progressive demonstration of consciousness for the green movement.”

Source: Intelligent Building Today


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