JSE-listed Balwin Properties has registered more than 16 000 units, across seven of its built-to-sell and three of its rental developments, as excellence in design for greater efficiency (EDGE) certified with the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA).
The registration will be completed over the next six months, and forms part of the property group’s ongoing pledge to fight climate change through mainstreaming green lifestyle developments.
In doing so, the group hopes to avoid a climate crisis in South Africa, Balwin founder and CEO Steve Brooks said on Tuesday.
He stated that the company had “always been differentiated by its innovative approach to environmental management, while creating quality lifestyle developments for its clients”.
Speaking to attendees at Balwin’s Kikuyu development, in Midrand, he highlighted that Balwin was one of the first companies to offer energy efficient appliances as part of the purchase price of an apartment unit.
Through using the EDGE software, Balwin can now have a cost-effective planning tool that helps it build green units based on occupant behaviour, building type and the local climate.
The EDGE registration also provides environmentally conscious buyers and tenants with the assurance that they are minimising their own environmental footprint while saving on utility costs over the long term, Brooks said.
Cited as an innovation of the International Finance Corporation, EDGE was created to respond to the need for a measurable solution to prove the financial case for building green, and to help jump-start the proliferation of green buildings.
The EDGE standard is set at a minimum of 20% reduction across energy consumption, water use and embodied energy in materials.
All Balwin’s units, moving forward, will be EDGE certified, Brooks said.
Solid Green Consulting was appointed to consolidate performance specifications for construction practices across the Balwin Properties portfolio, to create an EDGE-compliant standard specification and to support the EDGE registration process.
Solid Green director Chilufya Lombe on Tuesday said “sustainability making business sense is an important part of meeting the challenge. The stereotype of green buildings not being financially viable is being proven wrong, and the economy of scale of a standardised approach for a portfolio of this size is significant.”
GBCSA CEO Dorah Modise, meanwhile, enthused that it was encouraging to see Balwin realise the short- and long-term gains of designing, building and operating green buildings.
“To do so during an economic downturn, when many developers are holding back on upfront costs, shows they have realised the benefits of making better design work harder to increase operational savings, market appeal and accelerate property values,” she added.
Developments to be EDGE certified include Balwin’s Kikuyu, The Whisken, The Reid, The Blyde, De Zicht, The Huntsman and Ballito Hills built-to-sell developments.
Brooks also noted that the company was looking at being the first to offer a “green mortgage” to consumers, meaning consumers would get a discounted rate if they apply for a mortgage on a green-certified property.
More information on this development would be provided at a later stage, he said.