The South African market tends to be indifferent towards the green industry trend, with the current market seemingly not valuing buildings that practise green management or that have been designed with green principles, says integrated facilities management solutions provider Servest.
“As the cost of incorporating green principles in a current new build adds about 6% to the overall costs and can vary according to a company’s green status, this may result in companies that lease buildings not wanting to pay any additional rental for green initiatives,” says Servest COO Steve Wallbanks.
He adds that landlords are reluctant to design and build buildings that are fully green, as this is a direct cost implication that they currently cannot recover easily.
Wallbanks notes that companies are focusing more on short-term investments and returns to reduce upfront investment costs, which negate the ‘green impact’, as green initiatives require significant investment.
While he told Engineering News in April that “key trends in sustainability and energy management include green buildings, environmental awareness and carbon dioxide emission reduction, peak demand, punitive tariffs and load-shedding”, he currently notes a resistance to change, which is more marked in the building sector, which comprises significant capital- intensive ventures.
Nevertheless, Wallbanks points out that a lack of additional power capacity and the high electricity tariffs have increased the awareness of energy users substantially, resulting in surging demand for energy management solutions to control ongoing costs and improve energy efficiency.
Meanwhile, Servest believes that green, or greening, methods and processes should not be regarded in isolation or as a mere add-on to a new building.
Energy management systems, air-conditioning systems or green building materials can ensure a fully green building or a green building rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa Green Star Rating for new buildings, Wallbanks maintains.
Therefore, all the aspects of a building need to be taken into consideration and all energy and resource efficiency methods should be linked to green a building, he says, adding that green principles are also about “being respectful to building occupants, the environment and resources”.