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Green Building Council celebrates 50 Green Star SA certifications

Categories: COMPANY NEWS , Environment & Bio-diversity, Housing & Living Conditions, Social & Community
South Africa’s green building movement has gained significant momentum with the achievement of 50 Green Star SA certifications in only six years.

The milestone was marked at an event held in Johannesburg on April 10 by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), which was established in 2007 to lead the transformation of the property sector by ensuring that all buildings are designed, built and operated in an environmentally responsible way.

The event was attended by Green Star SA project owners, accredited green building professionals, sponsors of rating tools used to develop and assess buildings and representatives of property industry groups.

Developers of the 50 certified projects expect their buildings will result in the combined annual savings of 76 million kilowatt hours (the amount of electricity needed by 5 300 households for a year), 115 million kilograms less of carbon emissions every year (equivalent to taking 28 000 cars off the road), and 124 million litres of water per annum, sufficient for 34 000 households for a year.

“Reaching 50 certifications illustrates the commitment the South African commercial property sector has shown towards resource efficiency and climate change abatement while creating healthier and more productive environments for us to work and live in,” says Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA.

“The GBCSA could not have achieved the success it has to date without the support of some very big players in the sector that have pioneered the way to a better future for people and planet. The 50 certifications celebratory event will honour and thank these leaders for their valuable support.”

Globally, the built environment is responsible for one third of all carbon emissions and with global warming a very real concern that affects us all, a shift in focus to green building is something that should be foremost in everyone’s minds – from government, to developers to the average man in the street.

According to McGraw and Hills’ World Green Building Trend survey (2013), 51% of South Africa firms expect to be building green by 2015 – most notably in the commercial markets. This suggests that outside investors, developers and owners will have an ongoing, important role to play in the ongoing green building groundswell.

Going green is not just about the environment, the bottom-line benefits of building and operating green buildings are particularly important considering South Africa’s rising energy costs and water scarcity – coupled with lower risks, improvements to employee productivity and ultimately, better investment returns and higher property valuations.

“We are absolutely thrilled by the uptake in green building in South Africa. In the past few months the number of buildings that have been certified, or which have applied for certification, has increased exponentially – with 20 buildings being certified in 2013 alone. We are confident that this upward spike will continue as an ongoing trend as increased market demand and clear financial rewards, coupled with mounting government regulations and shareholder pressures, provide multiple incentives to own and occupy high-performance green buildings,” concludes Wilkinson.

FAST FACTS

Predicted performance of the 50 certified green building projects is impressive. These predictions are based on certification submission documentation.

WATER: Predicted water savings if the 50 certified projects are operated as their designs intended (numbers rounded off):

  • 124 million litres per annum of water.
  • 250 million litres predicted to have been saved to date by these buildings since they were built.
  • The average predicted potable water savings of these projects is 48% more efficient than the reference case, which is based on Wels Two Star fittings – viewed as typical standard practice). 124 million litres per annum of water saved is equivalent to approximately:
  • The volume of drinking water consumed by the South African population in one day (given 50 million people each consuming 2.5 litres)
  • Enough drinking water for 34 000 households every year (2.5 litres/day for a family of four)

ENERGY: Predicted energy savings if the 50 certified projects are operated as their designs intended (numbers rounded off):

  • 76 million kWh per annum of energy predicted to be saved by these buildings.
  • 167 million kWh predicted to have been saved to date by these buildings since they were built.
  • The average predicted energy saving of these projects is 34% more energy efficient than the reference case, which is based on SANS10400 Part XA – the legal standard for energy use in buildings. 76 million kWh per annum of energy saved is equivalent to approximately:
  • The energy needed by 5’300 households per annum.
  • The energy needed to boil 1.4 million kettles of boiling water per day for a year.
  • 1-2% of what a large-scale power station might produce in a year. Thus, the amount of electricity saved by 2 500-5 000 green buildings

GREEN HOUSE GAS EMISSIONS: Approximate kgCO² savings from the 50 certified projects:

  • 115 million kgCO² predicted to be saved per annum.
  • 250 million kgCO² predicted to have been saved to date.
  • The average predicted kgCO² emissions savings of these projects is 57% more than the reference case, which is based on SANS
  • 10400 Part XA, the legal standard for energy use in buildings. Note: The kgCO2 numbers take renewable and on-site energy generation into account where relevant, whereas the kWh energy savings numbers exclude on-site generation. 115 million kgCO² is equivalent to approximately:
  • Taking 28’000 cars off the road per annum (medium-size car with annual mileage of 15’000km)  6 000 full Boeing flights from Cape Town to Johannesburg (one way)

CONSTRUCTION WASTE: 50% on average of construction waste diverted to landfill Construction waste is approximately 15-30% of the total amount of waste that ends up in landfill.

DAYLIGHT: On average, 30% of usable area has adequate daylight, creating a healthier and more productive environment, and allowing opportunity for switching off artificial light sources.

FRESH AIR: On average, provide 100% more fresh air than what done as a standard practice, creating healthier and more productive environments.

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