South Africa's second voluntary green building rating tool in pilot form, the Green Star SA - Retail Centre Pilot Tool, was officially launched by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) in Cape Town on Thursday.
The objective of the Green Star SA - Retail Centre rating tool was to assess the environmental attributes of new commercial retail centres, as well as major base building refurbishments of existing retail centre facilities across South Africa.
The GBCSA classified retail centres as centres that included more than one retail business, a common mall area, some common/shared plant and shared building infrastructure among tenancies.
Addressing delegates at the GBCSA Convention in Cape Town on Thursday, GBCSA technical manager Jason Buch said that the tool assigned a Green Star SA rating to the base building and its services on the basis of the design potential of retail centres.
The tool was based on the existing Australian Green Star - Retail Centre Version One Tool.
A panel of 24 experts from the South African building sector were seconded to adapt the Australian rating tool to the local property development sector.
In addition to the 24-member technical working group, WSP Group was contracted by GBCSA to undertake the technical research and to develop the technical details of the local retail centre rating tool.
The tool was similar to the existing Green Star SA Office rating tool, which was launched in November last year in that it assigned a Green Star SA rating to the base building and its services on the basis of design potential and did not examine in-use data or operational management.
The tool was designed to be used by building owners, developers and consultants to influence the design of retail facilities.
Essentially, the tool enabled these stakeholders to lessen the environmental impacts on their developments and to capitalise on, and receive recognition for, their design initiatives.
Similar to Green Star SA Office Version One, the retail centre tool consisted of eight environmental categories, including: energy, indoor environment quality, management, transport, water, materials, land use and ecology, and emissions, as well as an innovations category.
Points were awarded within each of the categories based on the building's potential to lessen its environmental impact in a range of key areas.
Buch told delegates that the retail centre tool had been launched as a pilot project and would be available for public comment until February next year.
He said that the retail centre tool had been launched in pilot form in order to allow for feedback from users and testing of the tool. The final version of the tool would be highly influenced by the amount of feedback received, and users were urged to contribute in order to refine the rating system, said Buch.
The public comment period would close on February 19, 2010.
Once feedback from the public had been assessed, Buch stated that the official Retail Centre Rating Tool Version One would be launched in April next year.
Only once the Version One Tool was released would projects be able to register and be certified under the Retail Centre Tool.