During 2021, a total of 140 certifications were awarded by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) to buildings in South Africa. One of the criteria for the green building label is the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the construction process.
Building owners in South Africa are increasingly taking sustainability into account when implementing their building projects. In 2021 alone, the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) is announcing the certification of 140 properties as ‘green buildings’. For GBCSA, the environmental and financial benefits of the 140 buildings are clear.
To assess the green nature of these buildings, GBCSA used three different tools depending on the type of infrastructure. The first tool, “Green Star”, awards points in nine categories, namely, project management (from the initiation phase to the inauguration), indoor environmental quality (method of using heating, air conditioning, lighting and air pollutants), type of energy used, mobility, water consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the site, technologies used, socio-economic impact of the project, etc.
The second tool used by GBCSA is called “Edge”. It is a simple and user-friendly online software platform for assessing green buildings. The Edge standard (Excellence in Design for Great Efficiencies) sets a minimum reduction of 20% in energy, water and embodied energy consumption. “In order for Edge to accurately calculate the inputs and outputs of your buildings, it uses locally adjusted data in three categories, utility costs, climate data and building regulations,” says GBCSA, which has partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to facilitate certification using the tool.
GBCSA also uses the Energy Water Performance (EWP) tool to award its green building label. This tool assesses the performance of an entire office building, comparing energy and water consumption figures to a national ‘average’ benchmark adjusted for a number of factors, including climate, number of computers, number of occupants, annual vacancy rate and hours of operation.
Using these tools, “the organization has certified some 740 buildings since 2009,” says Lisa Reynolds, GBCSA’s CEO. This certification is valid for a period of 3 years.