The Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) on Wednesday announced the launch of the locally applicable version of the Green Star – Communities rating tool in South Africa.
The tool is a framework that will drive the development of more sustainable neighbourhoods and precincts, ultimately making African cities more sustainable.
The Green Star – Communities rating tool assists governments, development project teams, contractors and other interested parties aiming to: deliver large-scale sustainable developments to provide diverse, affordable, inclusive, well-connected and healthy places to live, work and play; protect, maintain and restore the natural environment by reducing the ecological footprint of developments; and receive recognition for demonstrated leadership and commitment to sustainability.
The tool is being launched in South Africa through a stakeholder engagement process that includes a number of pilot neighbourhood-scale projects, which will test and be certified by the GBCSA using the framework.
GBCSA CEO Brian Wilkinson says green building and sustainability in the built environment is about more than just buildings.
“It’s also about the spaces, connections and infrastructure between the buildings, a precinct, a neighbourhood or a city. At this scale, one can truly see the real impact of sustainability and make the connection between various daily activities related to home, work, gym, school and entertainment.”
The stakeholder engagement process is sponsored by the US Agency for International Development through their South Africa Low Emissions Development Programme and comprises a technical advisory panel that includes over 30 industry experts who are providing input and guidance on the applicability of the criteria in the Green Star tool in the South African context.
The process will conclude with the release of a Local Context Report in January 2017. Projects can register for certification under this tool from November 2016 onwards.
Fourteen projects were accepted by GBCSA through a call for pilot projects in August.
These pilot projects are vital early adopters to support the long-term success and applicability of this Green Star tool in the African context, because they will provide essential feedback allowing the tool to be appropriately adjusted to the local context by the technical advisory committee.
Of these 14 projects, eight have already committed to certification using this tool, targeting either a 4-, 5- or 6-Star rating from the GBCSA, with the other six considering committing to the certification.