Correct energy management and using green building techniques can decrease the demand for energy by 30%, says the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).
The GBCSA believes that reducing power demand in this way should be a major theme in South Africa’s energy narrative, with GBCSA CEO Brian Wilkinson being concerned that energy management is being underemphasised.
“We acknowledge that it is terribly important to have an energy supply-side debate around electricity generation; however, demand-side management that emphasises reducing consumption is an opportunity that is being completely underemphasised,” says Wilkinson.
Further, he notes that simple energy management in households can help decrease energy demand “drastically”.
Following in the footsteps of other green building councils worldwide, the GBCSA has been promoting the use of green building techniques throughout the country.
What started as a way to help and promote green building in the commercial building sector has extended to residential projects through the Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (Edge) standard in 2015. A standard created by the International Finance Council, it is implemented in South Africa exclusively by the GBCSA.
The Edge standard is a total saving of 20% in energy, water and other materials for a residential property and the GBCSA expects more than 5 000 homes to be registered for certification in the near future.
Edge enables residential property owners and developers to calculate upfront costs and potential savings of new residential projects using the online tool. The GBCSA has an “. . . ambitious commitment to drive residential green building certifications, targeting 10 000 residential certifications by 2020,” explains Wilkinson.
With the growth of the Edge standard, combined with the more than 167 Green Star SA certified buildings, South Africa has been found to be a potential world leader in green building projects in the next three years, according to World Green Building Council research.
The GBCSA is also working towards creating the Net Zero/Positive building certification scheme that will focus more on the energy contribution, and carbon emissions of buildings.
The new certification will provide specific recognition for a building that produces more energy than it consumes and is carbon neutral.