GBCSA adopts green-product certification scheme

2nd April 2015 By: David Oliveira - Creamer Media Staff Writer

Sustainable product certification provider Global GreenTag’s green-product rating and certification system, Green Tag, which is used internationally to assess the environmental attributes of products, has been acknowledged by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) as a valu- able assessment tool to be used in conjunction with the GBCSA’s Green Star SA Interiors v1 rating tool.

The Green Star SA Interiors v1 rating tool is used to rate the environmental attributes of a building’s interior fittings.

Speaking at a green building continuing professional development seminar, hosted in Sandton by Global GreenTag in February, GBCSA technical coordinator Lesley Sibanda explained that the organisation used five criteria to assess the sustainability of products.

Firstly, GBCSA assesses whether a product has received certification from a GBCSA-approved third party, such as Global GreenTag.

Other criteria include the reuse of materials and products, whether manufacturers or suppliers have established a take-back scheme for products, the warranty and durability of products, and whether products have been designed for disassembly.

The GBCSA’s consideration of the reused, recycled and certified content of a product, and whether it has been manufactured in an ISO 140001-certified facility, comprises the last criterion.

Further, Sibanda explained that the GBCSA’s interiors rating tool assesses interior building projects according to management, internal environment, energy use, transport, water use, land use and ecology, carbon emissions, innovation and materials.

The management category encourages sustainable practice during an interior project’s design and construction, as well as during the project’s life cycle.

“The focus in the internal environment category is on occupant comfort and reducing the amount of pollutants in the occupied space, thereby promoting increased productivity in the work environment,” said Sibanda.

Using products that reduce the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions while a building is in operation is emphasised in the energy category.

To promote the reduction of single-occupant car use, the transport category rewards projects that encourage car commuting by more than one person, as well as the use of public transport.

High scores in the water category entail projects ensuring that potable-water use is significantly reduced through water reuse strategies and increasing the efficiency of fittings and fixtures.

Sibanda noted that the land use and ecology category places significant importance on site selection, “particularly for tenants that choose sustainable base buildings”.

The seventh category assesses interior building projects’ carbon emissions and the environmental impact of pollutants and refrigerants used in a building, while the innovation category rewards innovative green practice.

The materials category assesses the number of resources that a project is using. Projects that limit the number of resources used through positive material selection, reuse initiatives and efficient management prac-tices, score high in this category.

This category enables the GBCSA to assess aspects, such as furniture assemblies, flooring and wall coverings, which the organis ation previously did not address using other rating tools,” Sibanda concluded.