Convention to bring in ‘eco’ building know-how
EVEN IN A global economic slowdown, the trend towards sustainable development and green building c o n t i n u e s t o g a i n mo me n t u m. Experts say green buildings attract better tenants, can be effectively tracked with solid performance metrics and do not always come at a premium.
To give the South African commercial property industry a chance to learn from leading green building experts and authorities worldwide, the Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA) is hosting its second annual Convention and Exhibition in October.
“The Convention aims to bring to SA the most cutting-edge thinking in green building, from both local and international specialists,” says Nicola Douglas, CE of GBCSA.
One of the international specialists is Marlon Kobacker, senior ESD consultant at Australian consulting firm Cundall, who says green buildings attract top tenants.
“Green buildings are futureproofed against increases in utility costs and better positioned to retain their asset value than traditional buildings,” he says. “These are the buildings of the low-carbon future and there is a profit to be made in getting it right early.”
Quantifiable metrics are being used increasingly overseas, says Paul Carew principal of PJ Carew Consulting in South Africa. Developers should track reduction in future utility costs and the cost impact of interventions on the overall project cost.
“It is important to get appropri- ate metrics in place early on, with the financial requirements that go with them. It is also vital to communicate clearly with the design team,” he says.
After a development is complete, i t s i mpact s hould be monitored, including impact on productivity and absenteeism, turnover vs salary cost and staff retention.
Carew says when it comes to g r e e n b u i l d i n g me t r i c s , S o u t h Africa really needs to catch up.
“Developers need to understand that green buildings are not necessarily more costly than traditional ones. There is nothing inherently expensive in green products. On the contrary, they typically have lower energy, resources and transport costs which contribute to lower life cycle costs,” says Jonas Bengtsson, a director at Australian firm Edge Environment.
“ Pe r haps more s i g ni f i c a nt l y, green products are, by definition, healthier, which directly affects the life-cycle cost that really matters: productivity and wellbeing.”
He says price is far more sensitive to quality, aesthetics and fashion trends than to greenness.
Kobacker, Carew and Bengtsson will be joined by a host of international scheduled to speak at the convention, among them Californiabased John Picard of John Picard & Associates, Shaun Killa, design director at Atkins Global in Dubai and Niall Enright, technical director of the Energy and Climate Change Group at ERM in the UK.
Frank Berkeley, managing executive of Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, the key sponsor for the event, says sustainability is a means of achieving the delicate but essential balance between economic objectives, social development activities and environmental responsibility. Nedbank considers it a strategic imperative to minimise any negative environmental impact of its operations and by sponsoring initiatives that promote sustainability, such as the Green Building Convention, we encourage partners and clients to do the same.
The Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA) Exhibition and Convention is being held at the Cape Town Inter national Convention Centre from October 21 to 23.
Vi s i t www. g b c s a c o nve n t i o n . org.za or call Lisa Parkes on 021 659 5990.