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 Building Green


 Green building incorporates design, construction and operational practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of development on the environment and people. Green buildings are energy efficient, resource efficient and environmentally responsible.

The Green Building Council South Africa (gbcsa) – a non-profit company formed in 2007 – leads the transformation of the South African property industry to ensure that buildings are designed, built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way.


Lower operating costs: Research reveals that Green Star SA buildings enjoy energy savings of between 25% and 50% compared to buildings designed to SANS 204 standards. The payback periods of energy and water saving practices are becoming much shorter as a result of increasing utility costs and the wider availability of more affordable green building technology.

Higher returns on assets: Extensive studies in the United States and Australia have shown rental rates in green buildings to be approximately 6% and 5% higher, respectively.

Increased property values: Decreased operating costs, lease premiums and more competitive, less risky, future-proofed buildings contribute to the value of green buildings. This has been empirically proven in the United States and Australia with 11% and 12% valuation premiums, respectively.

Enhanced marketability: Green building creates a differentiated product in the market, which is viewed as technologically advanced and environmentally and socially responsible. These attributes are positively linked to the company brand and image of the owner and/or the tenant.

Reduced liability and risk: Green buildings are future-proofed against increases in utility costs, potential energy and water supply problems, tightening legislation, carbon taxes and the impact of mandatory energy efficiency disclosure, as well as costly retrofits or even obsolescence.

Retaining government and other major tenants: The Department of Public Works’ planned ‘Green Building Framework’ is likely to include certain green building requirements for government accommodation. This will increasingly apply to large multi-national tenants too.

Responsible investing: Investment in green building is an integral part of the worldwide trend to more responsible, sustainable and ethical investing.

Increased productivity: Improved internal environment quality (IEQ) from increased ventilation, temperature and lighting control, the use of natural light and the absence of toxic materials result in the improved health, comfort and wellbeing of building occupants. This has been shown to increase productivity up to 20%, which easily covers any premium paid for higher quality green space.

Attracting and retaining talent: Educated people, particularly younger graduates, are increasingly aware of sustainability and wellness issues and consequently, may be more attracted to working in a green environment.

Minimising churn: With increased comfort and occupant satisfaction and more flexible spaces, green building can minimise the costs and impact of churn (tenants leaving), which represents a significant cost to businesses.

Combat climate change: Green building practices can have a significant impact on combating climate change and help to create truly sustainable communities.

In practice

Green building measures include:

  • Careful building design to reduce heat loads, maximising natural light and promoting the circulation of fresh air
  • Energy-efficient air conditioning and lighting
  • Using environmentally friendly, non-toxic materials
  • Reducing waste and using recycled materials
  • Water-efficient plumbing fittings and water harvesting
  • Using renewable energy sources
  • Sensitivity to the impact of the development on the environment.

For more information, tools, training, knowledge, connections and networks, visit the Green Building Council of South Africa’s website:

Source: GBCSA website





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