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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  31 Oct 2008

BUILDING: City Launches Green Guidelines


Recent Western Cape Business News

The City of Cape Town will launch its Draft Green Building Guidelines at the Green Building Conference which is taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 2 to 4 November 2008.

The aim of the Green Building Guidelines will be to actively promote the resource efficient construction of new or renovated buildings in Cape Town and minimise the negative environmental impacts of the built environment, while maximising positive social and economic impacts. 

The quality of the built environment in a city has a direct impact on its worth as a living environment and on the quality of life of the inhabitants. A built environment which prizes sustainability by minimising resource use in its construction and operation, contributes significantly to its social, economic and environmental development. 

Some 40% of global energy is consumed in the construction and operation of buildings. In Cape Town, rapid urbanisation and economic growth are contributing to a growing demand for energy and, as such, there is an urgent need to reduce the energy and other resources consumed in the construction and use of buildings. Compact urban planning is also critical to creating a resource efficient and liveable city. 

The City of Cape Town’s Integrated Metropolitan Environmental Policy (IMEP), and the Energy and Climate Change Strategy, underscore the City’s determination towards sustainable development, and its commitment to ensure access to affordable, clean, and secure sources of energy to underpin sustainable economic development and to protect our environment.

The City is putting policies in place to address the challenge of a sustainable city and has developed these draft guidelines to promote “Green Building”.

Also known as eco-design, environmentally friendly or sustainable building Green Building aims to create living and working environments that are comfortable and attractive without negatively impacting on human health or the natural environment.  It includes an ecologically sustainable focus and is designed, constructed and managed with energy and water efficiency in mind. 

The Green Building approach enables sustainable living; is locally appropriate; and uses resources efficiently in the positioning, design, construction, renovation, operation and eventual demolition of buildings. Green Building improves the quality of life of people through reducing running costs, saving resources and benefiting the environment.

Incorporating principles of sustainability into the lifecycle of buildings, including the materials, manufacture, design, construction and operation, enables designers and developers to minimise the environmental impact of a development at little or no cost. Many sustainable interventions actually save money through lower water and electricity bills, less maintenance and the improved health of inhabitants. Green buildings also save the externalised environmental and social costs we all bear.

The Draft Green Building Guidelines apply the following inter-related principles:

·          Local appropriateness the social, economic and cultural context

·          Conservation of the natural environment

·          Resource efficiency

·          Life-cycle approach consideration of the entire lifespan of the building

·          Zero waste no resources are wasted, all waste is recycled

·          Use of renewable resources throughout the building lifespan

·          Sustainable procurement

·          Local production for local use

·          Human health and wellbeing

·          Monitoring and evaluation the impacts of green buildings must be measured

·          Positive legacy green buildings mean that both the short and the long-term impacts of decisions and actions lead to sustainability. Interventions should also help to raise public awareness and encourage behavioural change in the building industry and amongst occupants.

The City supports these principles being implemented throughout the planning, design, operation, maintenance and eventual demolition of developments in order to build sustainability. Retrofitting of existing buildings to incorporate these principles and make them more resource efficient is also strongly supported.

The period for interested parties to comment on the Draft Green Building Guidelines will be from 1 November 2008 until 31 January 2009. Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to

Although this document is currently a draft guideline, in the long-term the City will work towards design manuals and legislation to promote the implementation of green buildings.

The Draft Green Building Guidelines document is allied with the Green Building Council of South Africa, which has incorporated the Green Star Rating system of the Green Building Council of Australia.

The City of Cape Town is exhibiting at the Green Building Conference at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 2 to 4 November 2008. A free CD copy of the Draft Green Building Guidelines and associated information documents will be available to conference participants at the exhibition. 

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