JSE-listed South African real estate investment trust (Reit) Redefine Properties recently certified and recertified 40 buildings in its property portfolio, under member-based organisation the Green Building Council South Africa’s (GBCSA’s) Green Star Existing Building Performance (EBP) rating tool.
Redefine’s diversified property portfolio, which is valued at about R75.3-billion, includes a mix of retail, office and industrial space throughout South Africa, as well as retail and logistics property investments in Poland.
The recent Green Star accolades include 16 office EBP recertifications and 24 new EBP certifications across Gauteng, Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal and Polokwane.
This is the largest bulk Green Star EBP certification from any one commercial property owner to date and represents a major milestone for green property in South Africa, the GBCSA says in a statement.
Sustainability consultant and Green Star accredited professional for the project Sally Misplon explains that there are numerous advantages for Reits and other kinds of property owners willing to certify many buildings at the same time.
These include economies of scale in implementation, and reporting of overall portfolio performance linked to environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.
Independently verified green building certifications, such as GBCSA’s Green Star certification suite, are linked to improved financial performance of properties, according to the most recent MSCI SA Green Property Index results.
Covid-19’s requirement for healthy indoor workspaces has also increased the demand for green office space, and there are benefits to be gained for commercial property owners and developers who commit to certifying their portfolios, the GBCSA says.
The EBP rating tool measures a building’s operational performance over a 12-month period.
Covid-19’s unexpected arrival, and the subsequent lockdown in March 2020, posed some challenges to the measuring of the information.
“The EBP rating tool has some minimum requirements in terms of occupancy density where each building is required to be occupied at a minimum of 70% during the performance period.
As a result, the GBCSA issued Covid-19 guidelines to assist projects teams in finding a way around this which still gave credits meaning during these different times.
“For example, the most recent reliable and accurate ‘pre-Covid’ set of energy and water data was used to benchmark the buildings energy and water performance, and adaptions were made to certain indoor air quality audit criteria to make it applicable to Covid-19 times, all while keeping the original intent and integrity of the rating tool in place,” Misplon explains.