Western Cape Business News

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BUILDING: Green Building Council Convention


Recent Western Cape Business News

To give the South African commercial property industry a chance to learn from the leading green building experts and authorities worldwide, the Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA) is hosting its second annual Convention & Exhibition in October 2009.

The Convention aims to bring to SA the most cutting-edge thinking in green building, from both local and international specialists,” says Nicola Douglas, CEO of GBCSA.

One of those international specialists is Marlon Kobacker, senior ESD consultant at Australian consulting firm Cundall, who says that green buildings attract top tenants.

Green buildings are future-proofed against increases in utility costs and better positioned to retain their asset value than traditional buildings,” he explains.

These are the buildings of the low-carbon future and there is a profit to be made in getting it right early.”

Quantifiable metrics are being used increasingly overseas, says Paul Carew, principal of PJ Carew Consulting in SA. Developers should track reduction in future utility costs and the cost impact of interventions on the overall project cost.

It is important to get appropriate metrics in place early on, along with the financial requirements that go with them. It is also vital to communicate clearly with the design team,” he says.

After the development is complete, the productivity impact should be monitored, including impact on productivity and absenteeism, turnover vs. salary cost and staff retention.

Carew adds that when it comes to green building metrics, SA really needs to catch up.

Developers need to understand that green buildings are not necessarily more costly than traditional ones.

There is nothing inherently expensive in green products. On the contrary, they typically have lower energy, resources and transport costs which contribute to lower life cycle costs,” explains Jonas Bengtsson, a director at Australian firm Edge Environment.

Perhaps more significantly, green products are by definition healthier, which directly affects the life cycle cost that really matters: productivity and wellbeing.”

He adds that price is far more sensitive to quality, aesthetics and fashion trends than to greenness.

Kobacker, Carew and Bengtsson will be joined by a host of international and local experts scheduled to speak at the Convention, among them California-based John Picard of John Picard & Associates, Shaun Killa, Design Director at Atkins Global in Dubai and Niall Enright, Technical Director of the Energy and Climate Change Group at ERM in the UK.

Douglas concludes, “The Convention programme is incredibly strong this year and the Green Building Council is very excited to be able to bring out presenters of this calibre – it’s going to be an awesome event and a very worthwhile two days for delegates.”

Nedbank Corporate is the key sponsor for the event. Says Frank Berkeley, managing executive of Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, “For Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, sustainability ultimately presents a means of achieving the delicate but essential balance between economic objectives, social development activities and environmental responsibility. We consider it a strategic imperative to minimise any negative environmental impact of our operations and by sponsoring initiatives that promote sustainability, such as the Green Building Convention, we encourage our partners and clients to do the same.”

Sponsored by Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, the second annual Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA) Exhibition and Convention is being held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 21-23 October 2009.

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