Moves to create an eco friendly environment
Cape Town’s transformation into a greener city is gaining momentum, writes Anna-marie Smith
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.