Green build­ings start pay­ing off

Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT - BY GLENDA WIL­LIAMS

The cur­rent energy cri­sis, on the radar since load-shed­ding be­gan im­pact­ing the coun­try in 2008, has con­trib­uted to a change in think­ing about the built en­vi­ron­ment. Add to this the at­trac­tion of lower op­er­at­ing costs and less de­pend­abil­ity on the grid and it’s lit­tle won­der that the move to­wards sus­tain­able, ef­fi­cient, eco-friendly build­ings is gain­ing sig­nif­i­cant trac­tion.

Build­ings are re­spon­si­ble for around 40% of the world’s end-use energy con­sump­tion and are among the main con­trib­u­tors to cli­mate change. Energy ef­fi­ciency and fi­nan­cial re­wards aside, aware­ness and per­cep­tions around en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues have changed and the once in­ef­fi­cient built en­vi­ron­ment is fol­low­ing rapidly as more build­ings are be­com­ing green.

Ad­van­tages of green build­ings in­clude energy and re­source ef­fi­ciency, a re­duced car­bon foot­print and the abil­ity to pro­vide sus­tain­able so­lu­tions for energy, wa­ter and waste. Over and above be­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble choice, they also of­fer sig­nif­i­cant monthly cost sav­ings. HOW GREEN ARE SA’S BUILD­INGS? Aside from two in­ter­na­tional prop­er­ties, the Green Build­ing Coun­cil of South Africa (GBCSA), which pro­motes and fa­cil­i­tates en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able build­ing prac­tices, has awarded Green Star cer­tif ica­tion to 121 build­ings in the coun­try, 25 of those in the last three months alone (see graph be­low). It’s a far cry from the sin­gle cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in 2009.

At 63%, 4-star cer­ti­fi­ca­tions are by far the largest. “4-star, rated as South Africa Best Prac­tice, is by no means an en­try-level rat­ing. It’s ex­tremely good and a tough moun­tain to climb,” ex­plains Brian Wilkin­son, CEO of the GBCSA. Just over 8% of green


build­ings have been awarded GBCSA’s high­est rat­ing, a 6-star cer­tif ica­tion. This world-class cer­tif ica­tion ranks along­side a LEED Plat­inum (US Green Build­ing Coun­cil’s high­est cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for sus­tain­able build­ing) or any other rat­ing sys­tem’s top build­ings.

USA, Canada and China hold the top three spots on the green build­ing rank­ings while Swe­den is 10th, with around 2.54m green square me­tres, just ahead of South Africa’s 2m green square me­tres, Wilkin­son tells Fin­week.


The com­mer­cial sec­tor has re­sponded to energy chal­lenges by de­mon­strat­ing its com­mit­ment to sus­tain­abil­ity and re­source ef­fi­ciency, with the bulk of the coun­try’s green build­ings be­long­ing to this sec­tor.

Boast­ing the largest port­fo­lio of green build­ings of any com­pany in South Africa is Growth­point Prop­er­ties, the coun­try’s largest real es­tate in­vest­ment trust (REIT).

Growth­point is not only act­ing as a re­spon­si­ble stew­ard by em­brac­ing green build­ing prin­ci­ples, but is do­ing well be­cause these build­ings are worth more, ten­ants are happy in them and they have lower op­er­at­ing costs.

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