BUILDING: Interest In 'Green' Commercial Buildings
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While awareness of the benefits of 'green' buildings is still in its infancy in South Africa, interest is already being expressed in the marketplace regarding energy-saving commercial buildings, says Geoff Stroebel, GM of Pam Golding Commercial.
"We are starting to receive enquiries from investors in regard to the green aspects of buildings – both new and existing. And tenants are also showing a desire to seek office accommodation that includes features such as the harvesting and maximum use of natural light, solar energy, insulation and air quality in the building – all of which creates a more pleasing work environment," says Stroebel.
Media reports from overseas eg the USA, reveal that green office buildings are already attracting slightly higher rentals. As a result it makes sense that green buildings in the long term are set to impact positively on property values, particularly as cost savings to business as a result of green aspects start to take effect and can actually be measured in regard to the bottom line. It has also been reported overseas that 'green' improvements are having a positive effect on work attendance which translates directly into improved productivity – a key aspect of any manpower-intensive business.
Says Stroebel: "There are opportunities for both new projects, redevelopments and existing commercial buildings to incorporate green aspects such as occupancy sensors and daylight saving, solar energy, efficient use of water including gray water and rain water, window glazing, and insulation to conserve or reduce heat. The use of indigenous, water-wise landscaping methods is another practical way – already being applied by some corporates – to create an appealing, natural environment. With South Africa facing rapidly rising electricity and water tariffs, green buildings which address green issues such as these are bound to attract more tenants and lower vacancy rates than non-green buildings, so it is simply a matter of time before we start seeing developers and commercial property owners beginning to realise that this could provide them with an advantage in the marketplace."
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