South Africa is fast becoming a frontrunner in green building and, if its current commitment to green activity continues, the country will be a leader in the global green market in the next three years, a new report has revealed.
South Africa had the highest proportion of green building projects currently under way, with significant growth expected over the next few years, Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) CEO Brian Wilkinson said on Tuesday.
The country had a well-established commercial green building market, having grown from one GBCSA green-certified project in 2009, to the current 167. By the end of 2016, 310 certified projects would be under its umbrella.
The recent Dodge Data & Analytics and United Technologies’ World Green Building Trends 2016 report showed that respondents in the local market indicated that 41% of their work was currently green, well above the global average of 24%.
The report noted that South Africa was one of the few countries to undertake a significant number of “retrofitting” projects, with 46% of the respondents expecting to embark on green retrofits to existing buildings in the next three years.
Commercial buildings and low-rise residential projects were also expected to be relatively strong, with 40% and 31% of the respondents respectively expected to undertake such projects.
The drive behind the African nation’s green building initiatives was not regulatory pressure but rather “doing the right thing”.
The survey, which showed developing markets were accelerating global green growth, forecast green building activities to double globally by 2018.
“There is a wealth of local and international research that shows green buildings contribute to environmental sustainability, health and productivity, and are also cost-efficient to operate and a good investment,” GBCSA said at a media lunch.
The report showed that South African respondents believed the green activity undertaken to date was groundwork for an “overall shift in the market”, with 61% reporting that they expected over 60% of their projects to be green by 2018.
The survey tracked the responses of some 1 000 participants across 69 countries.