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Green building rating tool in South Africa

Green buildings

15 October 2013 – The Green Building Council South Africa’s (GBCSA) new Green Star SA existing building performance tool is to be released in October 2013. The tool aims to assess and certify an existing building’s performance while in operation. GBCSA appointed Royal HaskoningDHV in April 2013 as lead technical consultant to develop the tool intended to influence a new segment of the South African property market – building owners and facility managers.
Credits of the rating tool will fall within three broad categories, and consider:

  • Measurable performance indicators (water, energy and waste management).
  • Lease agreements, management contracts or procurement policies that define performance requirements.
  • Building attributes that inform performance.

Within the Green Star SA categories all are assessed with a key focus on management, energy and water consumption, as well as indoor environmental quality and materials (waste and procurement).

As with all Green Star SA tools it was developed in collaboration with GBCSA technical staff, the technical working group (TWG) consisting of volunteer members of industry representatives as well as specialist sub-consultant, Eco-centric, having experience in certifying LEED (USA) existing buildings operations and maintenance projects.

The review of existing international and local resources was the starting point of tool development. Focusing on different fields of expertise, Royal HaskoningDHV’s architects, and facility management consultants, mechanical, electrical and civil engineers as well as environmentalists together with Eco-centric then analysed the proposed framework of credits. In the context of the South African property and facility managing market the team proposed other potential or possible credits to be considered and some minor adjustments.

An important part of development was to analyse and determine eligibility of different existing building types for performance rating to allow for credit criteria to be applied equitably but also ensure a maximum reach within the market. The eligibility criteria was considered from start to finish and adjusted as more clarity regarding criteria became apparent.

Detailed credit development consistent with the format of existing Green Star SA tools followed and was executed on an incremental, stage by stage basis. All proposals for the framework, eligibility and credit criteria were constantly reviewed and adjusted in TWG sessions, sub-group and teleconference discussions.
The input from the TWG industry stakeholders as future end-users was incredibly valuable and ensured the tool be appropriately developed to the market (by the market). The building owner/facilities management focus required the tool to be accessible and simple to use. Specific design interventions or behaviour to maintain improved performance was not prescribed but mostly shown in additional guidance by links to other resources.

Assessment and improvement of South Africa’s existing building assets is a necessity, just as responsible and green building of the country’s future building stock is vital to improve the built environment’s impact on the planet.

Globally the built environment is responsible for about 40% of the world’s energy consumption, and generates one third of global carbon dioxide emissions – thus this sector presents the single largest, and most cost-effective opportunity to tackle climate change, and limit natural resource depletion.

From 16 October 2013 the Green Star SA – Existing Building Performance tool will be available in pilot form to allow for feedback from stakeholders in the South African market. The pilot phase will run through 2014, and during this time the tool is available for download from the GBCSA website www.gbcsa.org.za. The final version of the tool is highly influenced by the amount of feedback received during this period, and stakeholders are urged to contribute.

In addition, the GBCSA will work closely with a limited number of buildings to further test the pilot version of the rating tool and ultimately reward them with a certification under the tool. To register interest in participating as a pilot project, please email existingbuilding@gbcsa.org.za with a short description of your building.