The Green Building Council of South Africa announced a new green building certification programme called “EDGE”.


The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), together with World Bank Group member, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and local rollout partners, the National Home Builder Registration Council (NHBRC), announced a new green building certification programme. The programme, called the “EDGE” rating system, is aimed at residential homes and its launch was announced at the GBCSA’s seventh annual convention, which was held in Cape Town on 10 to 12 September.

EDGE stands for “Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies”, in the wake of the GBCSA’s My Green Home education and awareness campaign for the greening of homes. The programme seeks to help facilitate a transformation of the property sector in rapidly urbanising countries by influencing design considerations.

Home owners wishing to achieve EDGE certification need to save a minimum of 20% energy, water and embodied energy in materials. The tool is built on a user-friendly interface and will help home owners to determine the financial viability of green building initiatives early in the design phase.

“Its aim is to reduce energy and water consumption, calculating upfront costs and potential operational savings,” Brian Wilkinson, chief executive officer of the GBCSA, says.

“This entry into the housing market is another major milestone for us and illustrates our commitment to bolstering and promoting green building in all sectors of property development in South Africa,” continues Wilkinson.

“This partnership puts South Africa in a leading position globally to test and apply simple, easy-to-use green rating software for homes at scale and will extend the GBCSA’s impact of trying to transform the way that residences are built. We can utilise EDGE to target the largest sector of the property market in the country. The commercial property sector is already covered by the GBCSA’s Green Star SA rating tools, while the residential property development sector will now be supported by EDGE,” he adds.

Wilkinson says the GBCSA is glad to be able to leverage the systems and structures of the NHBRC as their local rollout partner.

“With the NHBRC’s support and the launch of the EDGE programme in South Africa, we foresee a groundswell of greener and more sustainable residential developments in the country. EDGE will be available in South Africa for the first time and this means that green residential developments can now be recognised for their efforts. We hope to make a big positive impact on not just more green residential developments, but also for an increased number of ordinary South Africans to look at innovative ways to make their homes greener and less impactful on the environment,” adds Wilkinson.

Dr Jeffrey Mahachi, the NHBRC’s head of the Centre for Research and Housing Innovation, says the tool has the ability to transform how homes in South Africa are designed.

“The launch of EDGE in South Africa is a hugely exciting development that affords us an opportunity to benchmark ourselves against our international counterparts, who have already introduced services related to energy-efficiency and green buildings. This will also benefit housing consumers, builders and developers as it will transform how homes are designed and built in the country. We are proud to be the local rollout partner with the GBCSA on this,” said Mahachi.  

Marcene Broadwater, the IFC’s global head of climate strategy and business development, said EDGE enables builders to assess the most cost-effective ways of bringing green features into their designs, financiers can offer better terms to developers and green mortgages for homeowners, and governments can do their part through incentives and improved regulations.

“The goal of the IFC’s EDGE programme is to help build capacity for developers, banks and governments to mainstream resource-efficient buildings in rapidly growing economies around the world,” says Broadwater.

“The GBCSA team has already proven to be excellent partners through their broad reach, superior technical knowledge of the marketplace and reputation for excellence. We look forward to applying our experiences in South Africa to our EDGE target markets, which include countries such as Costa Rica, Indonesia, and India,” commented Prashant Kapoor, the IFC’s principal green buildings specialist and the inventor of EDGE.

EDGE will initially be launched as a programme for new homes being designed and built. The GBCSA anticipates that mostly large residential developments, which roll out free-standing homes, will target certification using the rating tool, and less so apartment buildings and single home owner builders that can also use EDGE.

Manfred Braune, chief technical officer at the GBCSA, says EDGE has been adapted for the local South African context, especially in light of the SANS 10400 Part XA energy-efficiency building code.

“This code was promulgated for all new buildings in 2011. EDGE will undergo final adjustments with some industry input and review before being released to a few pilot projects later this year, and launched to the market early in 2015,” concludes Braune.

Medium to large residential projects currently at concept design stage that are interested in piloting certification using the EDGE rating tool should register their interest with the GBCSA via the email address

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