Four South African cities strive to make all new buildings zero-carbon

16th April 2018 By: Simone Liedtke - Writer

Residents and businesses moving into new buildings in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Tshwane will soon enjoy lower energy bills, and will generate fewer greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, reducing their climate change impact.

High-efficiency energy performance requirements are being developed for all new buildings in these cities as a result of climate leadership group C40 Cities’ South Africa Buildings Programme.

The C40 South Africa Buildings Programme is funded by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and is part of the Building Energy 2020 Programme. 

The aim of the programme, launched on Monday at an event in Tshwane, is to make zero-carbon buildings the standard practice across South African cities. 

The energy used to power, heat and operate buildings accounts for more than 25% of the GHG emissions produced by South African cities. Therefore, action to make buildings more energy efficient has huge potential to reduce GHG emissions.

More than 70% of South Africans are expected to live in cities by 2030 and, with this growth, comes an increase in demand for housing, commercial buildings, office space, schools, hospitals and other buildings.

Ensuring these new buildings meet high-efficiency energy performance requirements will be crucial if cities, and South Africa as a whole, is to deliver on its commitments to the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. 

Representatives from ten cities across C40's global network have gathered in Tshwane this week to exchange best practice on building energy efficiency. The cities outside South Africa include Boston, Chicago, Copenhagen, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro. 

“South African cities are already seeing the effects of climate change, from the drought in Cape Town to the threat of rising seas and flooding in Durban,” said C40 executive director Mark Watts.

The C40 South Africa Buildings Programme will support cities to make sustainable, energy-efficient new building the new standard practice.

C40, in partnership with Sustainable Energy Africa, will support the four cities through locally employed technical professionals.

City officials will be able to share knowledge and collaborate with cities outside of South Africa, facilitated through C40’s global city networks.

This exchange will bring best practices in energy efficient building policy and practices to the four cities as well sharing these with other cities in South Africa.