Greener BeeGreen ElectronicsGreen building ratings agency reaches milestone

THE Green Building Council SA (GBCSA) enters its 10th year of operation with a milestone of 200 buildings boasting Green Star SA certifications.

The aim is for all new buildings in major business districts, such as Sandton and Rosebank in Johannesburg, to achieve five or six stars under the rating system for offices designed, built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way.

Businesses are increasingly recognising the long-term cost savings of building green offices.

GBCSA CEO Brian Wilkinson spoke recently about the importance of constructing new green buildings or retrofitting existing ones.

“Green building is part of the solution to global warming and the real hero in the fight against climate change. The increase in pace in green building in SA has been phenomenal.

“Support and innovation from across the industry has accelerated our green building movement and more green buildings have meaningful and significant positive impacts on our environment. We would like to congratulate SA’s property sector on this landmark achievement and encourage them to continue to create more sustainable, green buildings,” he said.

The GBCSA is one of more than 74 members worldwide of the World Green Building Council.

Wilkinson said it existed to “inspire the property industry to design, build, operate and tenant better, greener buildings”.

It does this by being the official certification body for Green Star SA and Edge (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiency) certification for residential projects.

These are “both rigorous, standardised rating systems that rank how green projects are with tangible results to back up these claims”, Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson’s stint as CEO ends at the end of the year. No replacement has been named.

The GBCSA was established in 2007 and awarded the country’s first green certification in 2009. By April 2014 50 buildings had the Green Star SA ratings, which doubled a year later. The council has since reached the milestone total of 200.

The GBCSA says the impact of buildings on the environment is astounding. Buildings account for 20% of the world’s water usage and 40% of its electricity.

The 200 Green Star certified projects span 2.8-million square metres, or 400 rugby fields, and have achieved combined annual savings of 280-million kWh. This is the equivalent of powering 19,500 households for a year. Wilkinson said this took a lot of pressure off SA’s strained power grid. They also cut 336-million kilogrammes of carbon emissions per year, which equates to taking 84,000 cars off the roads.

Certified green buildings save 260-million litres of potable water annually, enough for nearly 100-million people, according to the GBCSA.

The IPD SA Annual Green Property Indicator, compiled with the GBCSA and sponsored by Growthpoint Properties, recently demonstrated that commercial green buildings deliver higher returns than conventional buildings. They also consume about 35% less electricity and 42% less water per square metre.

Vice-president for Global Energy and Sustainability at Johnson Controls, Clay Nesler, says most US corporations were committed to achieving net-zero energy efficiency by 2050.

Johnson Controls is an American multinational conglomerate which produces automotive parts, including electronics, batteries, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment for buildings.

Net zero refers to buildings that produce as much renewable energy on-site as they consume annually, while net-zero carbon buildings produce no carbon emissions. Nesler was in SA to provide insights into green building technologies and their possible application here.

© BDlive 2016

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