Moves to cre­ate an eco friendly environment

Cape Town’s trans­for­ma­tion into a greener city is gain­ing mo­men­tum, writes Anna-marie Smith

Business Day - Home Front - - HOMEFRONT -

THERE is an in­creased aware­ness in Cape Town that green ini­tia­tives are not only en­vi­ron­men­tally ben­e­fi­cial but also fi­nan­cially vi­able. The mind­shift be­gan in 2008, when the city’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Re­source Man­age­ment Depart­ment joined 20 other cities world­wide in a bio­di­ver­sity ini­tia­tive, fol­lowed by in­fras­truc­tural im­ple­men­ta­tion strate­gies, ed­u­ca­tional tools, train­ing cour­ses and an en­vi­ron­men­tal in­tern­ship pro­gramme.

At the same time, the city’s ex­ec­u­tive man­age­ment team en­dorsed sup­port for a new, in­te­grated ap­proach to en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment and ap­proved the im­ple­men­ta­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues across all its func­tions.

The may­oral com­mit­tee an­nounced its new strate­gic fo­cus area with an in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment plan to ad­dress proac­tively the chal­lenges of en­ergy ef­fi­ciency for a sus­tain­able city.

Dur­ing this pe­riod, Piet Van Zyl, the city’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of strat­egy and plan­ning, ex­pressed aware­ness of Cape Town as a lead­ing global desti­na­tion for sus­tain­abil­ity re­lated events and tourism, and was happy to see busi­ness tak­ing green is­sues on board.

At the same time, green build­ing guide­lines were es­tab­lished to guide re­source ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ments in new and ex­ist­ing build­ings to cre­ate a low car­bon fu­ture for Cape Town.

In 2009 the City’s Green Week aimed at main­stream­ing green eco­nomic think­ing and sus­tain­abil­ity in fi­nance and in­vest­ment.

The fo­cus dur­ing that week was to re­build bal­ance sheets, rep­u­ta­tion and trust af­ter the eco­nomic cri­sis.

March 2010 saw the launch of Ac­cel­er­ate Cape Town, a busi­nessled ini­tia­tive aimed at bring­ing to­gether stake­hold­ers to drive sus­tain­able in­clu­sive growth.

Backed by the Cape Town Part­ner­ship and 36 Cape-based or­gan­i­sa­tions, busi­ness’s vi­sion for the next 20 years was de­fined.

Guy Lundy, CEO of Ac­cel­er­ate Cape Town, said that sus­tain­abil­ity is no longer re­stricted to fringe or pro­gres­sive or­gan­i­sa­tions. Ini­tia­tives such as green skills awards pro­grammes aimed at mak­ing green jobs pos­si­ble, the city’s ex­ten­sive en­ergy ef­fi­ciency im­per­a­tive and re­new­able en­ergy cer­tifi­cates were in­tro­duced.

Green projects com­ing to fruition in­clude es­tab­lish­ing trans­port op­tions to travel to the work­place, while re­duc­ing the num­ber of cars mov­ing in and out of the city. Fol­low­ing the suc­cess­ful in­tro­duc­tion of the rapid tran­sit MyC­iti bus com­muter ser­vice be­tween the city and the air­port, fu­ture plan­ning is for this ser­vice to be in­tro­duced in other ar­eas.

This year saw the open­ing of an 18km ded­i­cated cy­cling track along the MyC­ity com­muter line to Blou­bergstrand, the 105ha Green Point park, new re­cy­cling and plant­ing ini­tia­tives and a change in the be­hav­iour of build­ing oc­cu­pants and home own­ers.

In Septem­ber, Cape Town par­tic­i­pated in World Green Build­ing Week cel­e­bra­tions — in­tro­duced by the World Green Build­ing Coun­cil — to show­case sus­tain­abil­ity ini­tia­tives in the built environment.

Il­lus­trat­ing busi­ness’s com­mit­ment to re­duc­ing the car­bon foot­print of build­ings and work en­vi­ron­ments, the Green Build­ing Coun­cil of SA (GBCSA), to­gether with Aure­con and Ra­bie Prop­erty Group, ac­com­pa­nied GBCSA mem­bers on a build­ing tour of SA’s first 5-star Green Star SArated build­ing dur­ing the event.

The GBCSA’s fourth an­nual con­ven­tion and ex­hi­bi­tion in Cape Town later this month will ad­dress sus­tain­able green build­ing, as well as a case study of the build­ing.

Bruce Ker­swill, GBCSA’s ex­ec­u­tive chair­man, will de­scribe how he com­mis­sioned a new fam­ily home, now com­pleted, that il­lus­trates sus­tain­abil­ity through the im­ple­men­ta­tion of green mea­sures by a team of pro­fes­sion­als.

By see­ing how he prac­tised as he preached, home own­ers can ob­serve how build­ing a green home reaches be­yond re­cy­cling and so­lar power and em­braces far­reach­ing el­e­ments such as pas­sive de­sign, nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als and much more.

The lat­est ad­di­tion to the pro­gramme, the retrofitting and green­ing of ex­ist­ing build­ings, in­clud­ing houses, prom­ises a wealth of in­for­ma­tion for all real es­tate own­ers.

As SA’s of­fi­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive at the World Green Build­ing Coun­cil, GBCSA has di­rect ac­cess to the most ad­vanced and ex­cit­ing knowl­edge and cut­ting-edge think­ing around the world’s built environment.

A wel­come ar­rival is the GBCSA’s lat­est de­vel­op­ment, a multi-unit res­i­den­tial pi­lot build­ing rat­ing tool re­leased in De­cem­ber 2010. Aimed at at­tract­ing en­ergy-re­spon­si­ble buy­ers, the tool as­signs a Green Star SA rat­ing to the base-build­ing dwellings, com­mon prop­erty and shared ser­vices and in­fra­struc­ture on the ba­sis of de­sign po­ten­tial.

The tool will be used to as­sess en­vi­ron­men­tal at­tributes of de­vel­op­ments such as gated com­mu­ni­ties, golf es­tates, town­houses, re­tire­ment vil­lages and apart­ment build­ings.

Pre­vi­ously, GBCSA’s green star build­ing rat­ing tools were aimed at com­mer­cial build­ings, specif­i­cally for of­fice and re­tail cen­tres.

Home built by AGMAC Con­struc­tion Cape Town — spe­cial­ists in sus­tain­able con­struc­tion meth­ods.

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