Con­ven­tion to bring in ‘eco’ build­ing know-how

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

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.

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