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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  18 Nov 2008

BUILDING: The Future is Green

 



Recent Western Cape Business News

THERE is a new revolution on its way in the building industry. And no, we’re not talking about the parlous business state of some sectors of the industry or any other constraining factors it faces.

It’s a good revolution, industry participants agree, and its colour is ‘green’.

This month sees the official launch of the Green Building Council of SA’s (GBCSA) Green Star Rating Tools in Cape Town. Basically it will set standards and benchmarks of green building and will enable an objective assessment as to how ‘green’ a building is.

The rating sets out a menu of all the green measures that can be incorporated into a building to make it ‘green’. Points are awarded to a building according to which measures have been incorporated and, after appropriate weighting, a total score is arrived at which determines the rating. The highest rating, six, means leadership excellence.

Bruce Kerswill chairman of the GBCSA, says green is not about indoor planting or landscaping, but rather about measures that make a building environmentally friendly. These include its use of energy, demand on transport (less is better), emissions and materials (reduce, re-use, recycle), to name a few.

He points out that buildings world-wide consume 40% of all energy resources and claims that green buildings can reduce energy consumption by from 30% up to 70%.

The new rating system, he says, is still strictly voluntary in South Africa, yet many of South Africa’s leading organisations are embracing the concept readily.

“The emphasis is increasingly to value the cost of a building over its life cycle, not just in terms of power and water savings, but also in terms of staff productivity, fewer sick days and so on”, he says.

Ideally, the target should be to attain a rating of 4-star and upwards. A new building constructed to current best practices will score 4 stars with a point rating of 45. Achieving 60 points means SA Excellence and may add u to 5% in additional costs to comply. A rating of 75 and higher makes for a 6-star, meaning World Leadership, and may add about 11% more to construct, compared to current best practices.

He says the green initiative creates a chain effect. The rating tools set targets for developers to achieve in order to attain certification and professionals are briefed to design accordingly. They in return pressure the suppliers, thereby creating the market demand for green products and services who, in return, pressure manufacturers.

The GBCSA will start rating from next year, with rating fees ranging from R30 000 up to R100 000, depending on the size and complexity of the building, according to Kerswill.

Should the local trend follow that of the Australian green initiative, it could spread like a ‘wild fire’, so to speak. In February 2007 more than 50 Aussie projects were rated. In February this year more than 550 buildings were registered, Kerswill says.


 
 
 
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