- Lincolne Scott, environmental design specialist, Richard Palmer discusses the importance of a green-building rating tool, and what will drive green building forward in South Africa (17/01/2008) (13.25 MB)
This has been identified as "an urgent issue as many corporates are wanting to move ahead with green building and have been looking at a variety of different tools", the council said.
The GBCSA board made the decision to use Australia's Greenstar environmental rating system for buildings as the basis of a South African rating system, which will be customised for the South African situation.
"The process will be overseen by a subcommittee of the board whose members will include technical experts - our objective is to have a pilot rating system in place during the first half of 2008," GBCSA CEO Nicola Douglas told Engineering News Online.
The Green Building Council of Australia offered the GBCSA the Intellectual Property of their Greenstar system at no charge, as well as support in operating the system and training staff and assessors.
Global design, engineering and management consultancy the WSP Group, which also provides solutions to environment-related business issues, has been working closely with the GBCSA, and has brought individuals from its offices worldwide to share experiences with GBCSA members, particularly with regards to the Greenstar rating system.
"Green buildings have a long way to go in South Africa, but I think things may move pretty quickly," Lincolne Scott (An Australian WSP Group subsidiary) Advanced Environmental consultant Richard Palmer said while in Johannesburg to conduct a seminar to South African built-environment professionals.
In an interview with Engineering News Online, he explained that for green building to be driven forward, it needs buy-in from all industry stakeholders, and reiterated that there was a fundamental mind shift that needed to take place, where the focus was not on the initial capital cost of a building, but focus on the life-cycle costs of the building was prevalent.
If one considers the productivity increase of staff working in a sustainable green building, as well as energy and water bill savings, it has been proven that "clean green is making you money, not costing you money," Palmer affirmed.
He identified the main drivers for the green building industry in South Africa, as economic growth, as well as the current infrastructural capacity constraints.
"Green must be commercially viable or it will not fly, so the commercial market will probably be the biggest driver in South Africa."
"Also, the current infrastructure issues, in terms of electrical supply are also a massive boost for green design, because it is about efficiency, and improving the efficiency will ultimately make the impact of infrastructural capacity issues smaller on business continuity, and also the cost associated with standby generation will come down if you focus on the efficiency of the buildings you are running," he added.
Palmer also noted that the development of the international carbon market, which could see emission reduction targets placed on developing countries, was a driver for green design, as for South Africa, a critical part of emission reduction would be in improving its energy efficiencies.