New rating tool credits property owners for greening old buildings
The Green Building Council SA (GBCSA), together with sponsor Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, will officially launch the new Green Star SA rating tool for existing building performance at the Global Green Building Convention 2013 under way in Cape Town.
The new rating tool will address demand from an entirely new segment of the property market in South Africa and allow effective and objective measurement of an existing building’s environmental performance in operation.
It will assess key performance indicators relevant to specific environmental issues, such as energy and water consumption.
“This is a powerful tool, giving property owners the chance to make every building a greener building, thus leveraging the benefits such as lower operating costs, higher returns on assets and increased property values,” said Frank Berkeley, the managing executive for Nedbank Corporate Property Finance.
To date, the GBCSA’s efforts have focused on new buildings, advocating specific design and technical interventions to be implemented before and during construction to improve environmental impact and performance.
“It is a natural progression of the rating tools currently at our disposal, and unlocks a whole new frontier for the GBCSA,” council chief executive Brian Wilkinson said.
“Because new buildings only account for about 1 percent to 2 percent of a company’s property portfolio, the existing building performance rating tool is a game changer, allowing all property owners to embrace environmental sustainability across their entire building stock,” Wilkinson said.
This new rating tool signals the GBCSA’s shifting focus to include transformation of the existing building stock in South Africa, where a critical mass can be leveraged and make a substantial difference in the impact of the built environment on the natural environment.
“The existing building performance tool focuses firstly on understanding the issues, and then managing existing buildings more efficiently and sustainably,” GBCSA project manager Francois Retief said.
“The credits of the rating tool will fall within three broad categories, and will consider measurable performance indicators such as water, energy and waste management; lease agreements, management contracts or procurement policies that define performance requirements; and building attributes that inform performance.”
Specific design solutions on how to achieve key performance indicators will not be prescribed, but links to other resources and education in this regard will be provided. The rating tool will also provide resources to ensure that the building’s environmental performance can be maintained or improved on over time.
The Green Star SA existing building performance rating tool can be applied to a number of different building types, such as offices, retail establishments, industrial sites, hotels and public buildings and hospitals.
The rating tool will profile and highlight well-operated buildings and ensure that they stand apart from those that are doing more damage than good.
Significant stakeholder engagement through the International Property Databank showed that the South African market wanted a performance rating tool to be accessible and simple, for certification to be viable within operational budgets, and for building tenants to see the value of certification.
As such, a streamlined online certification process will be used for the first time within the GBCSA.
Through simplicity and minimising documentation, the cost of certification is also reduced. Aspirational value will also be maintained and aligned with the current Green Star SA brand, and 4-, 5- and 6-star certifications will still represent SA best practice, SA excellence and world leadership, respectively.
“The streamlined process allows large volumes of existing buildings to start on the existing building performance journey, showing incremental improvements in their buildings as they work towards higher star ratings,” Retief said.
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 percent of the world’s energy consumption and generates a third of carbon dioxide emissions. Thus this sector presents the single largest and most cost-effective opportunity to tackle climate change and to limit natural resource depletion.
“It is incredibly humbling to see the level of interest and support from the industry in the development of this rating tool. It truly is a rating tool developed for the market by the market,” Retief said.
Berkeley said: “Nedbank Corporate Property Finance is extensively involved in financing new Green Star rated buildings, and as financiers and occupiers of green buildings, we look forward to the value that this new rating tool will add to the journey of a more a sustainable environment.”