Rosebank Link in Johannesburg is one of 40 buildings which were recently awarded a certification by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), achieving a four-star Green Star existing building performance rating as part of Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed Redefine Properties’ drive towards sustainability.
This property company recently certified and/or re-certified 40 buildings in its property portfolio, under the GBCSA’s Green Star existing building performance (EBP) rating tool.
These Green Star accolades include 16 office EBP re-certifications and 24 new EBP certifications across Gauteng, Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal and Polokwane – the largest bulk of Green Star EBP certification from any single commercial property owner to date, and it represents a major milestone for green property in South Africa.
Green funding should form part of the planning
“Property owners such as Redefine Properties stimulate market transformation by pioneering and leading when they ‘walk the talk’ and commit significantly to certification,” says the GBCSA’s technical head, Georgina Smit. “EBP certifications extend far beyond just energy and water performance management to encompass a much broader and holistic approach to sustainability management at an operational level. As such, they represent a commitment to a wide range of sustainability issues by a property owner and manager.”
Sustainability consultant and Green Star accredited professional for the project, Sally Misplon, explains that there are numerous advantages for REITs and other kinds of property owners willing to certifying many buildings at once. These include aligning each building’s operations with the overall sustainable objectives of the fund, building capacity within the fund for continued implementation, economies of scale in implementation and reporting of the overall portfolio performance (linked to environmental, social and governance, or ESG, goals).
Typical sustainability features across most projects:
• Indoor environmental quality testing to recognise the monitoring and control of indoor pollutants, and to help sustain the comfort and wellbeing of building occupants.
• Development and implementation of a building operations manual, building users’ guide and preventative maintenance management plan, landscaping management plan, hardscape management plan and pest management plan.
• Development of a solid waste and materials management policy to encourage sustainable waste management and recycling.
• A green cleaning policy in line with the Green Star requirements.
• A green procurement plan compiled and implemented to encourage and guide the property and facilities management teams to select the most sustainable products available on the market.
• Publication of green operational guidelines for tenants.
• Glare control devices are mandatory in occupied spaces to reduce the discomfort from glare and direct sunlight.
• Each building’s energy and water consumption benchmarked against other buildings of the same building type to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the burden on potable water supply and wastewater systems, which is associated with the use of energy in the building operations.
• A green travel plan introduced to encourage the use of alternative modes of transport to and from work.
Value of independent certifications
Independently verified green building certifications, such as the GBCSA’s Green Star certification suite, are linked to the improved financial performance of properties, according to the most recent MSCI SA Green Property Index results. Covid-19’s requirement for healthy indoor workspaces has also increased the demand for green office space, and there are benefits to be gained for commercial property owners and developers who commit to certifying their portfolios.
The head of ESG goals at Redefine, Anelisa Keke, elaborates: “The benefits of green buildings run deeper and wider than what’s obvious at first glance. Besides the water and energy efficiencies, reduction of emissions and waste that come through sustainable design, construction and operations, at Redefine the certification is a testament to our drive to create, manage and invest in spaces in a manner that changes lives.
“Looking ahead, creating spaces that support the health and well-being of our customers, tenants and employees, as well as the economy and environment, will be vital to accelerating sustainable development and delivering a better standard of living.”
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