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Rwanda‬, ‪Namibia‬ add ‪‎Green‬ Building to their skyline

Green building is gaining rapid momentum in Africa with office buildings in Rwanda and Namibia both receiving 6-Star Green Star ratings.

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In Kigali, Rwanda, the Nobelia Office Tower has achieved the very first Green Star rating in the country – a 6-Star Green Star SA-Rwanda – Office v1 Design rating for shell and core.

While in Windhoek, Namibia, Emcon Consulting Group’s offices received a 6-Star Green Star SA-Namibia – Existing Building Performance Tool v1 rating, becoming the second Green Star certified building in the country, and the first to attain a 6-Star rating.

Commenting on ratings, Brian Wilkinson, CEO of Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), says: “The pace of green building in Africa is accelerating, not only in South Africa but across the continent. Green building is a growing global movement, but its implementation varies widely by country and region, including the rate of growth in green involvement, triggers and obstacles impacting that growth and even the degree of benefits noted.”

He adds: “Africa has already made great strides in green building, and these are only its first steps in the significant green building journey of a continent bearing the brunt of the negative effects of climate change.”

The GBCSA’s own story shows the tremendous impetus gained by South Africa’s green building movement and paints an exciting picture of a greener built environment in Africa’s future.

Founded in 2007, GBCSA certified just one green building project in its first year of operation. In April 2014, it celebrated a milestone of 50 certified projects and, only one year later, that figure had doubled. Today, it has awarded 161 Green Star SA certifications, and the World Green Building Trends 2016: Developing Markets Accelerate Global Green Growth – SmartMarket Report’ predicts that South Africa could become a leader in the green building sector in the next three years.

The Nobelia Office Tower in Kigali, Rwanda has set its sights on being a leading green building in Rwanda and the wider Central East African region. The 19 storey tower will have 16 floors dedicated to office space, adjacent to commercial, residential, recreational and retail zones. It is constructed on previously developed land to prevent urban sprawl.

Manfred Braune, GBCSA’s Chief Technical Officer, reports: “This project scored very high results in key areas of its rating, including energy consumption, water management, emissions and transport. It boasts several impressive sustainable building features.”

This includes the building’s ability to provide dehumidified fresh air, solar panels and on-site water treatment. Its façade is a tribute to the building’s green inner workings, with mesh that allows for plant growth and shading. The building’s waste management plan even includes an on-site composting facility to improve on soil, plant growth and biodiversity.

In Namibia, Emcon Consulting Group is leading by example. As an African consultancy firm that operates in the energy, electricity, building services and project management sectors, it set lofty green goals for its own office in the heart of Klein Windhoek.

Previously a private residence, Emcon’s office building’s green performance was boosted with a solar power plant, more natural light with daylight control, and an energy efficient evaporative cooling system that provides 100% fresh air – cooling and humidifying the hot, dry Windhoek air. This has helped make it 79% more energy efficient than the industry average. It has an intelligent energy and water monitoring system, a live on-screen energy and water usage display, and a Xeriscape Garden with an artificial turf putting green.

Wilkinson says: “The Green Star certified projects showcase world-class, innovative implementations that benefit people, planet and profit. Results in the USA, Australia and now Africa clearly show there is no significant difference between the costs of green buildings compared to conventional buildings. However, green buildings show the potential to achieve better investment returns and higher valuations.”

As the market becomes more aware of these benefits, the GBCSA expects green building to gain even more traction in Africa.

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Green building accelerates in Africa

With office buildings in Rwanda and Namibia both receiving 6-Star Green Star ratings, certified by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), green building is gaining rapid momentum in Africa.

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In Kigali, Rwanda, the Nobelia Office Tower has achieved the very first Green Star rating in the country – a 6-Star Green Star SA-Rwanda – Office v1 Design rating for shell and core. While in Windhoek, Namibia, Emcon Consulting Group’s offices received a 6-Star Green Star SA-Namibia – Existing Building Performance Tool v1 rating, becoming the second Green Star certified building in the country, and the first to attain a 6-Star rating.

Commenting on these landmark ratings, Brian Wilkinson, CEO of GBCSA, says: “The pace of green building in Africa is accelerating, not only in South Africa but across the continent. Green building is a growing global movement, but its implementation varies widely by country and region, including the rate of growth in green involvement, triggers and obstacles impacting that growth and even the degree of benefits noted.”

“Africa has already made great strides in green building, and these are only its first steps in the significant green building journey of a continent bearing the brunt of the negative effects of climate change,” he adds.

Adapting Green Star SA tools for specific local contexts

The GBCSA’s Green Star SA rating tools were developed specifically for the South African context but are also a natural touch point for green building movements and councils in other parts of Africa. The GBCSA, therefore, seeks to work with other green building councils and structures like the African Network of Green Building Councils to adapt Green Star SA tools for specific local contexts – this has been done through what the GBCSA calls a Local Context Report.

So far, Local Context Reports have been developed for Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Namibia, Mauritius, and Uganda with the GBCSA working in collaboration with the relevant Green Building Councils to certify buildings in these countries.

In this way, the GBCSA is clearing the path for fledgling green building industries, like those behind the new Green Star certifications in Rwanda and Namibia.

The Nobelia Office Tower in Kigali, Rwanda has set its sights on being a leading green building in Rwanda and the wider Central East African region. The 19 storey tower will have 16 floors dedicated to office space, adjacent to commercial, residential, recreational and retail zones. It is constructed on previously developed land to prevent urban sprawl.

Manfred Braune, GBCSA’s chief technical officer, reports: “This project scored very high results in key areas of its rating, including energy consumption, water management, emissions and transport. It boasts several impressive sustainable building features.”

This includes the building’s ability to provide dehumidified fresh air, solar panels and on-site water treatment. Its façade is a tribute to the building’s green inner workings, with mesh that allows for plant growth and shading. The building’s waste management plan even includes an on-site composting facility to improve on soil, plant growth and biodiversity.

Lofty green goals

In Namibia, Emcon Consulting Group is leading by example. As an African consultancy firm that operates in the energy, electricity, building services and project management sectors, it set lofty green goals for its own office in the heart of Klein Windhoek.

Braune says what makes this project even more remarkable is that Emcon’s 6-Star Green Star Existing Building Performance rating submission was led by first-time Green Star Accredited Professional (AP), Emcon’s own Carina Muller, who achieved this in the first round of what is typically a two-round process.

Previously a private residence, Emcon’s office building’s green performance was boosted with a solar power plant, more natural light with daylight control, and an energy efficient evaporative cooling system that provides 100% fresh air – cooling and humidifying the hot, dry Windhoek air. This has helped make it 79% more energy efficient than the industry average. It has an intelligent energy and water monitoring system, a live on-screen energy and water usage display, and a Xeriscape Garden with an artificial turf putting green.

Wilkinson says: “The Green Star certified projects showcase world-class, innovative implementations that benefit people, planet and profit. Results in the USA, Australia and now Africa clearly show there is no significant difference between the costs of green buildings compared to conventional buildings. However, green buildings show the potential to achieve better investment returns and higher valuations.”

As the market becomes more aware of these benefits, the GBCSA expects green building to gain even more traction in Africa.

“Green building presents a compelling business case. Our partners, associates and Green Star certified projects have already started reaping the rewards of their green investments through lower operating costs, higher returns on their assets, minimised churn and increased productivity – all while doing their bit for the environment,” Wilkinson says.

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Africa leads responsible tourism according to #WRTA16 longlist

Cape Town – Conservation has become a prominent and important factor in global tourism, and the move to responsible and sustainable practices is long overdue.

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But while legislation and planned shifts are admirable, the move to more sustainable tourism practices globally has been slow. This, mainly because it’s difficult to change an already-operational hotel or tourism establishment from the top down.

This is where South Africa and the whole African continent has an ironic advantage on sustainable tourism – tourism growth is behind that of first world countries with leading economies.

In Africa, for example, the hotel industry grew nearly 30% over the past year and is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. With the high pressure and great rewards that come with going green, this means that new developments will be able to lay foundations for green hotels from the ground up, instead of having to adopt existing infrastructure to slot in with green practices.

It’s a concept that’s already gaining international recognition.

Hotel Verde in Cape Town serves as a prime example. This hotel opened in 2013 and was built on green-only principles. Within one year of existence, the hotel was already named a World leading establishment when became the very first hotel in the world to be awarded double platinum for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

But more and more African and South African establishments are being recognised for their sustainable achievement.

So much so that an incredible one-third of tourism organisations – 28 out of 75 – that have been longlisted for the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards can be found on the African continent. Of these, 11 establishments are South African.

The longlist was announced on #AfricaDay2016.

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Standard of Sustainable Building Materials and Inspection

Green building encompasses all that facilitate skillfulness in avoiding energy wastage, the utilization of sustainable construction materials, and processes that promote not only human, but also those that promote environmental health. There are profound effects that revolve around green building, effects that are either positive or negative. The results not only point to the individuals living or surrounded by the Green Building, but also at the natural environment which we as people share every day of our lives. The green building comes in as a way to curb the adverse effects, amplifying the positive ones in an attempt to make the world a better place for us to live and call home.

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Building permission precedes green building architecture focuses solely on the proper operations, planning, the construction processes, the design of buildings with core and most profound considerations. These factors include both energy and water utilization, within environmental quality, building material selection and the effects that may come as a consequence of building at the particular site. The practices involved all play around profound scientific principles that are considered to bring forth a constant development. Sustainable green building very much relies on the field of science a great deal.

Utilization of energy that is near its source is preferred. It is important as energy conversion losses are substantially minimized. All forms of heat transmissions are considered in the choosing of the better sustainable construction materials and the practices involved. Air barriers are created and maintained like that throughout the construction process. Ventilation and a pressure neutral interior are equally significant. Construction details that can accommodate the movement of water by the process of gravity, by capillary action or by diffusion are considered. They all form part of the green building architecture.

Some of the sustainable construction materials that are typically taken to be green encompass lumber, electric renewable plant components such as bamboo and straw, recycled metal, dimension stones, reclaimed stone, together with other goods which are reusable, renewable, recyclable and non-toxic. Using already used substances like processed coal materials and other reusable substances in the construction processes are equally recommended.

Inspection is a key thing that is important after any procedure has taken place. It gives room to finding out whether the whole process was okay and whether specific expectations are achieved. A pre handover inspection helps assure value, it is a brief review of the entire process before the full review commences.  There are specific issues that are considered to a particular level to reach the green building structure inspection standards. These items include energy efficiency, sustainable construction materials and practices and human and environmental health.

Energy efficiency

Efficient use of energy is recommended. Power consumption involves not only the equipment and methods employed in the green building process, but also its design and the effectiveness of the equipment set up within the building. Green building inspection should above all provide information on the economic utilization of the energy. Smoke alarm testing is often done to find out if proper fixing was done in the building process. The inspection focuses on the evaluation of the effectiveness of the design of the building in trying to save energy. All these are also often included in the energy audit process apart from the home inspection process. Different skills are used in the energy auditing process, that are relatively dissimilar to those used in the review process.

Sustainable building materials

It is during the consideration process when it is determined whether sustainable equipment and practices were applied. Sustainable building materials and the methods involved include those that uphold environmental health. They also include those that encourage the efficient use of resources throughout the entire process of construction. Durable materials are low-energy materials. Materials like wood are regarded as sustainable when obtained from trees that grow at a fast rate and which once cut are replaced quickly to ensure no deficit when they are badly needed. Conserving water by using equipment that encourages this is recommended. Such are the good practices helped hitherto. The training of home inspection does not, however, address the utilization of these materials and the carrying out of these practices. The lack of address makes it difficult for the individuals carrying out the inspection processes to identify the existence of both the materials and the practices. It is just, but one of the challenges, which the persons are going round to inspect the green buildings incur.

Human and environmental health

The inspection process also focuses on certain features of homes that are kinder the health of people. It also focuses on aspects that are environmental friendly. During the review process, the inhabitants of greenhouses are encouraged to embrace practices that are health friendly. It means that when all seems right, it may necessarily not be good enough. The inspection process brings to light all these.

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Green innovation highlighted in Sandton

SANDTON – Read up on why Sandton has become the premium spot for the Green Building Convention this year.

With the spotlight on Sandton being the epicentre for green buildings, this year’s Green Building Convention will move from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

The Sandton Convention Centre has been chosen to host the annual convention for the first time from 26 to 29 July, and City Improvement district manager of the Sandton Central Management District, Elaine Jack, said Sandton is a fitting choice for the event.

Jack said the venue is the perfect choice as Sandton has the largest number of standing and under construction green buildings in Africa – many of which are ground-breaking sustainable developments.

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She said, “Ever since it was launched eight years ago, [the event] has been hosted in Cape Town, and this year, for the first time, the convention will be hosted in Sandton. It is South Africa’s flagship green building and sustainability event, and will put the spotlight on Sandton as a major centre of green building activity in Africa.”

The Sandton node hosts the largest collection of green-rated buildings in Africa, with more than 20 projects certified by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) and includes the landmark Nedbank head office on the corner of Rivonia Road and Maude Street in the Sandton CBD.

The Nedbank office hosts some impressive green innovations including a rainwater harvesting system and blackwater treatment system, an energy-efficient lighting system as well as highly efficient water fixtures and fittings. The rainwater harvesting and blackwater treatment systems provide recycled water for all non-potable water uses such as irrigation, toilet flushing and for cooling towers; while water-efficient plumbing reduces outflows to the sewerage system by 50 percent.

The Sandton CBD will welcome a plethora of new green buildings, with Jack adding, “The new Discovery and Sasol head office buildings are two of the largest green building developments in Africa. They are going to be cutting-edge marvels of green building and sustainability when they are complete.

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“Sustainable public transport and eco-mobility form a crucial part of Sandton’s future as a major hub. New and even existing buildings in Sandton that are targeting a green building certification can benefit from the Gautrain and other eco-mobility projects, such as the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System in the future in terms of the sustainable public transport element of the GBCSA’s Green Star Certification Scheme.”

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Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront swims against sluggish economic tide

Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is bucking the sluggish trend in the national economy. It pulled in over three-million visitors in December alone, has substantially boosted its coffers and has embarked on some dynamic new developments. Retail, commercial, leisure and residential developments are all included in the 123 ha mix.

The 26-year-old V&A Waterfront receives more than 24-million visitors each year. While the V&A is clearly a tourist hub, locals make up the largest share of visitors, at 63%. Tourists make up just short of a quarter of the number of people who visit, with upcountry travellers making up the remaining 14%. “Our vision is to be the best waterfront in the world, but we also want to continue to be a space which locals love and celebrate,” says V&A Waterfront CEO David Green. So far, the V&A seems to be hitting the sweet spot by diversifying and appealing to various markets. The most hotly anticipated development is the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (Zeitz MOCAA) in the historic grain silo district of the V&A. Green describes the grain silos as a phenomenal piece of industrial architecture, which are being repurposed by the ‘magic and genius’ of renowned British architect Thomas Heatherwick.

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“The redevelopment plan specifically aims to retain and honour the historic fabric and soul of the Grain Silo building, in which the Zeitz MOCAA will be housed, while transforming the interior into a unique cutting-edge space to house the collection,” says Green. When it is completed next year, it will be the largest museum built in Africa for over 100 years – since the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, in Cairo. The aim is to harness the growing interest in contemporary African art and bring together collections of African art from across the world. The museum is also seen as a drawcard for attracting more tourists. CEO of Cape Town Travel Enver Duminy says the Zeitz MOCAA is set to be a ‘jewel in the V&A crown’ and will be home to 80 gallery spaces. The R500-million investment in the MOCAA dovetails with various others in the area. Four new silo developments will hold 35 000 m2 of new corporate offices, a Virgin Active Classic Health Club, a residential development, a midrange internationally branded hotel and over 1 050 additional parking bays. The road leading to the silo area will be widened to accommodate the expected increase in traffic.

Green Building First

The V&A has been working with the Green Building Council of South Africa to develop a new mixed-use tool which will be a first for South Africa. The new developments in the precinct will be located on top of the 2 750 parking bay super basement that will house the district seawater cooling plant and a number of other services, including sprinkler tanks, backup generators and diesel storage, potable water and gas. With Silo 1 and 2 already completed, this will bring the total investment in the silo development by V&A shareholders, Growthpoint and the Government Employees Pension Fund, managed by the Public Investment Corporation, to over R2.5-billion. About 2 500 people are expected to work at the Silo district every day once it is up and running. Currently, over 19 200 people are directly employed at the V&A, with another 16 894 indirect jobs. Cape Town’s first cruise liner terminal is also being developed at the V&A. The terminal upgrade will make up the first phase of a larger site revamp. The passenger terminal is expected to be completed in December 2017. Given that the cruise industry is seasonal, the terminal will be developed and run as a multiuse building, which can operate all year round. “The cruise terminal gives us the opportunity to extend a warm welcome to Cape Town, and is important as it’s the first impression it will create of the city,” says Green. An increasing number of people are also calling the Waterfront home, with residential developments becoming popular and prices on the rise. The new No 3 Silo residential development will comprise 75 luxury one- to four-bedroom apartments, with the same environmentally sustainable elements used in the No 2 silo. The V&A recently introduced its first rental developments, which has attracted young professionals. “The Ports Edge and Breakwater areas cater to a younger professional market that are not yet committed to buying property, but want to live and work and play in an urban-chic environment,” says Green.

Rooftop Energy

The Waterfront has included green technologies in the build phases of its developments as well as retrofitting onto existing buildings. A 7 500 m2 rooftop solar system was installed on six rooftops of major buildings in the precinct last year. Working with the Green Building Council of South Africa, the V&A has set a target of achieving at least a four-star Green Star SA rating for its buildings. The R50-million Watershed, which makes up the old Red and Blue craft markets at the Waterfront, has also gained ground. Made up mostly of craft and design businesses and traders, it tripled its retail trade in the 12 months from the end of 2014 to the end of 2015. A street was created through the physical building, turning it into a multi- functional space. The new development has sparked innovation and creativity, with designers sharpening their skills there. Small businesses now make up between 3% and 4% of the overall retail trade at the Waterfront, up from 1% a year ago. The Waterfront, which has 22 official landmarks on site, is part of south Africa’s historical legacy. It was developed in 1988 by Transnet Limited, with official commercial trading getting under way in November 1990. Now, 26 years later, the V&A has contributed R33-billion to the South African gross domestic product. This is nearly four times more than in 2002. With tourism identified as a key growth sector in the province overall, MEC for Economic Opportunities Alan Winde says the Cape Town Air Access team is finalising negotiations for nonstop flights between Cape Town and key strategic destinations in Africa, Asia and the US.

CBD Reconnection

The revitalisation of the V&A has also blended with changes in Cape Town’s central business district (CBD). “For many years, the V&A overshadowed the central city. We would like to think that the new-found popularity and investor confidence in the CBD has helped to contribute to the new-found investor confidence in the V&A. The two areas complement each other very well these days, and the reconnection is highly beneficial to both,” says Rob Kane, chairperson of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District. He says that, for a number of decades, there has been a disconnect between the central city district and the sea, largely owing to the town planning of the 1930s and 1940s, when the area known as the Foreshore today was reclaimed from the sea to extend the harbour. Harbour infrastructure, together with the freeway network built across the Foreshore effectively cut off the rest of the CBD from Table Bay harbour. But the vacant lots and car parks of the past have been transformed into an increasingly vibrant area. Investors are ploughing R8.2-billion into developments in the area over the next three to five years, from the construction of a new state-of-the-art hospital and the expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) to new office complexes, international hotels and residential accommodation. “Simultaneously, the V&A has developed. We are now seeing the two areas – the CBD and the V&A – move closer and closer together, reconnecting again for the first time in nearly 90 years. This is huge for the city and overall,” says Kane. The R700-million ‘Canal District’ straddling both sides of Dock road, in Cape Town, is testament to this. With a canal at its heart, the area will have a new urban park incorporating the remnants of the historical Amsterdam Battery. Totalling 75 000 m2 (or 7.6 ha), the mixed-use Canal District ties into the arterial route that connects the city to the V&A, and into the main pedestrian route that runs along Dock road. A corporate head office for British American Tobacco South Africa (BAT South Africa) is the first project in this new area. Called Amsterdam House, the building has been designed according to best practice green design principles. “The Canal District is a piece in the jigsaw puzzle that provides a seamless link through to the CTICC and Cape Town’s CBD,” says Green. The 2010 FIFA World Cup has been given some credit for hiking interest in the Cape Town CBD and the V&A, with many locals reconnecting with the CBD for the first time in a long time. For Green, the V&A provides endless scope for cascading development in Cape Town. “A waterfront cannot be viewed in isolation. It is an extension and neighbourhood of the city, not just an attraction,” he says. The Waterfront’s being intrinsic to the V&A’s development has been immensely rewarding for Green. “It is not only the pride of the people who work here that energises me, but seeing the pride that South Africans hold. History, industry, commerce and tourism are intertwined to make this an incredibly special place.”

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South Africa leads with green building projects

New research has revealed that green building is forecast to double globally by 2018.

The results showcased South Africa as one of the top performers worldwide, reporting the highest percentage of green building projects currently under way. Even more impressive is the fact that South Africa’s commitment to green building isn’t triggered by regulatory requirements, as is the case in many other jurisdictions, but by ‘doing the right thing’.

Dodge Data & Analytics and United Technologies published ‘World Green Building Trends 2016’ this month, on which the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) was a research partner.

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The report states that respondents in South Africa believe the green activity so far is just laying the groundwork for an overall shift in the market. If this degree of commitment to green building holds, South Africa will be a leader in the global green market in the next three years.

The report finds that, internationally, twice as many companies are expecting their building projects to be certified green by 2018 – an increase to 37%. In comparison, respondents in South Africa indicated that 41% of their work is already green.

Outperformance continues

“South Africa will continue to outperform with almost two thirds of respondents expecting more than 60% of their projects to be green by 2018,” says Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) CEO, Brian Wilkinson.

Especially noteworthy is that South African green building is driven by an acknowledgement that green building is ‘the right thing to do’, rather than by regulations, according to the report.

“In South Africa, there is an absence of regulatory requirements – which, in countries like the UK, Australia and Singapore, are in fact the trigger for green building,” explains Wilkinson. It’s testimony to the work being done by the GBCSA.

The GBCSA certified South Africa’s first green building project in 2009. In May 2015, the council certified its 100th building project, and today, there are 167 certified projects.

“It’s a clear sign that green building practices are gaining significant momentum in South Africa, along with an acknowledgment that Green Star certified projects are not only world-class and innovative, but benefit people, the planet and profits,” concludes Wilkinson.

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Global green building is expected to double by 2018 as companies continue to invest in renewable technologies

According to a study (see attachment) entitled, World Green Building Trends 2016, Developing Markets Accelerate Global Green Growth, the percentage of companies expected to have more than 60 per cent of their building projects certified green is anticipated to more than double by 2018, from 18 per cent currently, to 37 per cent.

The anticipated growth will largely be driven by countries that still have developing green markets, with firms from Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, China and India reporting dramatic growth in the percentage of their projects that they expect to certify as green.

The study, from Dodge Data & Analytics and United Technologies Corporation, on which the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) was a research partner, features the results of more than 1,000 building professionals from 69 countries – including Green Building Councils and their corporate members, from architects and contractors, to owners and engineers.

The study identified a green project that is either certified or built to qualify for certification under a recognised green standard, such as LEED, BREEAM, the DGNB System, Green Star and many other tools.

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Other key findings from the report include:

  • Global green building continues to double every three years.
  • Brazil expects six-fold growth in the percentage of companies that expect to certify the majority of their projects green (from 6 per cent to 36 per cent); five-fold growth is expected in China (from 5 per cent to 28 per cent); and four-fold growth is expected in Saudi Arabia (from 8 per cent to 32 percent).
  • Building owners report seeing a median increase of 7 per cent in the value of their green buildings compared to traditional buildings (an increase that is consistent between new green buildings and those that are renovated green).
  • The most widely reported benefit globally
is lower operating costs. But around 30 per cent of respondents also consider documentation and certification providing quality assurance, education of occupants about sustainability, and higher value at the point of sale as additional benefits which are important in their markets.
  • The top sector for green building growth globally is commercial construction, with nearly half (46 per cent) of all respondents expecting to do a green commercial project in the next three years.
  • Reducing energy consumption continues to be the top environmental reason for building green (selected as one of the top two reasons by 66 per cent of all respondents), protecting natural resources ranked second globally (37 per cent), and reducing water consumption ranked third (at 31 per cent).

Terri Wills, CEO of WorldGBC, and who is interviewed as a thought leader in the study, said: “This study offers further evidence on the strong business case for green building – the growth of which is now truly a global phenomenon. Green building is playing
 a critical role in the development
 of many emerging economies, particularly as their populations grow and create a pressing need for a built environment that is both sustainable and ensures a high quality of life.

“Green Building Councils and their members around the globe will play a pivotal role in delivering this projected growth, and their leadership and expertise will be vital in realising the multiple social, economic and environmental benefits that green buildings offer.”

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Mosque renovated with sustainable, eco-friendly features

Badriya Jum’a Masjid was recently unveiled in India as the world’s first zero energy eco-friendly green mosque pioneered by Bearys Group. The mosque design has integrated Islamic architecture and sustainable technologies, the Deccan Herald newspaper reported.

Syed Mohamed Beary of Bearys Group said the important feature of the green building is that its entire energy requirement is met through hybrid renewable energy, both wind and solar.

“At a time when the world is passing through climate change crisis, the mosque demonstrates how sustainable developments can help in mitigating global warming,” he said.

The mosque was built 80 years ago. It was renovated 40 years ago.

“It is our little contribution in India’s march towards sustainable development,” Syed said, adding that he hopes the mosque will become a holistic place of worship where people from all over the world can come, pray and find true solace.

The mosque, built on 15,000 square feet of area, incorporates greenery in and around. The cooling of the building is achieved by using elements of nature. The building orientation minimizes solar heat gain.

The L-shaped building plan and elevated nature of the prayer hall, green vegetation and water tanks around it offer a naturally cooled environment. The solar heat reflecting terrace floor, laid with white China mosaics and fitted with turbo vents, not only keep the prayer space cool, but also reduces warming of local microclimate, Syed said.

The building’s open envelope with sunrays travelling and non-conducting glass reinforced concrete (GRC) with more than 50 percent openings increases natural ventilation.

Natural cooling of the building is accentuated by the wind scoop on a 70-foot multifunctional Minaret (from where the Azan, the call for prayer is given), which forces a down draft of cool breezes into the prayer hall and supports the tower structure with the wind turbine mounted atop.

Use of hybrid renewable energy (wind and solar energy) in the mosque will produce more energy than used by the mosque, thus feeding energy to the state grid and accruing energy credits for the next 25 years.

“Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Regenerate” technology has been implemented with low-flow water fixtures.

Source: proudgreenbuilding


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SA introduces green office buildings

South Africa’s first commercial green star-rated building has been unveiled. The cutting-edge building – the E block in Upper Grayston, a small multi-purpose development in Johannesburg’s Sandton business district – is the first small office building to receive five green stars from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA). “We want to get the message out to other developers,” says Martin Evans of Upper Grayston’s developer Bryprop, “that South Africa can produce green buildings economically.” Green buildings are attractive to the property market, he says, and they offer a good return on investment. “Green buildings command a higher rental price and capital value, they have lower running costs, they let better, and they retain tenants better,” says the GBCSA’s executive chairman Bruce Kerswill. This green mindset is catching on in South Africa, he says. Five stars are not enough for Bryprop, though, and the firm is aiming for the coveted six-star rating with its newest building, Upper Grayston F, which is under construction right next to the E Block. This will make it the only six star-rated commercial building in the country. Rental space should be available around the end of June 2013, according to Bryprop.

Green buildings mitigate climate change

South Africa is following a new trend noted in a report titled “Rethinking Consumption: Consumers and the Future of Sustainability”, which has found that people in developing nations have a keener sense of responsibility towards the earth than those in developed nations. “Two-thirds of consumers globally say they ‘feel a sense of responsibility to society’ (65%), including 81% in emerging markets and 50% in developed markets,” notes the report. “Buildings can be a big part of the solution to mitigating the effects of climate change,” says Kerswill. “Good planning can reduce their use of power and water by up to 70%, and together with waste reduction this can have a significant impact.” Office buildings especially contribute heavily to global warming and pollution, and consume large amounts of energy and water. “But buildings are the cheapest way to make savings on carbon emissions,” says Warren Gray of Solid Green Consulting. “Overseas they use around 30% of the world’s energy. In South Africa the situation is a little different because our economy has been geared towards mining and we are still constructing the buildings that other countries already have.” Savings realised in a green building will come mainly from running costs and electricity. Although the largest part of a company’s expenses goes towards salaries, says Gray, people who work in green buildings perform better, they get discharged from hospital sooner, and they give the employer more value for the salary. “A 10% increase in productivity outperforms a 5% saving on electricity.”

Bringing in the tenants

Bryprop says that its tenants are becoming more and more interested in green features. In the new building, lessons learned from Upper Grayston E will be applied, with some extra features that the developers are confident will earn the six green stars. All timber used in the project comes from a sustainable forest and is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Most of the building’s water will be reclaimed from rain and filtered and purified, and municipal water will only be used when the tanks are empty. Solar panels for both power and heating will ensure that no energy is used to heat water, and in terms of space heating, says Gray, good architectural principles and passive design means that a minimal amount of heating is needed. The building also has big glass windows which let in natural light and air, reducing the need for artificial lighting and climate control. A mixed-mode ventilation system will allow the building to use mechanical ventilation when necessary. People in the building will be able to monitor energy consumption in real time, via a screen in the entrance and a page on the web, which will supply a graph of energy consumption measured at one-minute intervals. The graph for Block E is already available online. The amount of concrete used in construction has been reduced through the addition of fly ash into the mixture. Fly ash is a residue generated during combustion, for example at coal-burning power stations. “This means that the building itself is constructed from recycled material,” Gray says. Carpets and paint used in the interior contain low levels of volatile organic compounds. Cycle parking and special cycle routes around the office park are aimed at encouraging this eco-friendly alternative means of transport.

Going green and saving the planet

Green buildings, according to GBCSA, are energy- and resource-efficient and kind to the environment because of the practices used in their design, construction and operation. They have also been proven to be healthier for residents and workers, leading to higher productivity. For green buildings, these practices will usually include the optimal circulation of fresh air and use of natural light, resulting in a lower use of air conditioning and heating. Lighting will be energy-efficient and controlled through motion detectors, and there will be greater use of renewable energy sources. The builders will make use of recycled or sustainable materials, and there will be other sources of water, such as rainwater harvesting, besides the municipal supply. Locally sourced products are essential to shrink the construction footprint, and if any existing structure is demolished to make way for the new building, as much material as possible, such as windows, doors or floors, must be re-used. When a company applies for green star certification for a building, there is a rigorous process that must be followed. Once the building has been registered – which is only the first step towards certification – the project team will prepare the necessary documentation to prove that the building complies with GBCSA standards. Assessors will not award points, says the GBCSA, unless they can see that all the requirements have been met exactly as detailed in the technical manual. By this stage the full assessment fee must have been paid. Once the fee and the documentation have been received, a panel will evaluate the submission and make their recommendations to the GBCSA, who will then contact the project team. At this point the team gets another chance to earn their green stars by including extra supporting documentation or making alterations to their designs if necessary, and resubmitting their application. The panel will again scrutinise the application and make their final pronouncement and the project team will be notified of their score. A score of 45 to 59 earns the building four green stars and is an indication of best practice locally; a score of 60 to 75 earns five green stars and signifies South African excellence; and a score of 75 to 100 earns six green stars and is indicative of world leadership. Upper Grayston E scored 67 points, which is currently the highest five-star score in the country.

Source: southafrica


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