Many property developers and clients want greener, more efficient buildings. In order to achieve this, a set of green building rating tools were developed by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA). These tools aren’t enforced by legislation, but were designed to create a common measurement for green buildings as well as recognise innovation and leadership in property development and construction.

Objectives of the Green Star SA Rating tools:
• Establish a common language and standard of measurement for green buildings
• Promote integrated, whole-building design
• Raise awareness of green building benefits
• Reduce the environmental impact of development
• Recognise environmental leadership

Categories covered by Green Star SA rating tools include:
• Management
• Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ)
• Energy
• Transport
• Water
• Materials
• Land use & ecology
• Emissions
• Innovation

These categories are subdivided into credits that address the initiatives that the design and construction team have undertaken to improve the environmental performance of a building. Points are awarded to the building according to a calculated score based on the appropriate environmental weighting of the environmental initiatives that were incorporated in the building (“Design” and “As Built” certifications are awarded for new construction or major refurbishment projects). “Design” certifications are submitted for and awarded upon completion of the design phase of the project. This enables property developers to market a proposed building as a Green Star SA certified building as they have demonstrated the green building strategies that will be included in the building. Upon completion of the building, a project can submit for and be awarded “As Built” certification, which verifies the procurement and implementation of green building strategies. GBCSA has also developed a Green Star SA tool for existing buildings in operation (a 12 month snapshot of the performance of an occupied building) and a Green Star SA tool for interior fitouts of tenancies. Recently the GBCSA also launched a Green Star tool for sustainable precincts (neighbourhood scale development).

Certification is awarded for 4-Star, 5-Star and 6-Star Green Star SA ratings. The following Green Star SA certified ratings are available for all projects:
• 4 Star Green Star SA Certified Rating: Weighted Score: 45 – 59. Recognises: Best Practice.
• 5 Star Green Star SA Certified Rating: Weighted Score: 60 – 74. Recognises: South African Excellence.
• 6 Star Green Star SA Certified Rating: Weighted Score: 75 – 100. Recognises: World Leadership.

For the Green Star SA – Existing Building Performance tool only, a 1-3 Star rating can also be achieved and awarded, recognising that existing buildings are on a longer journey to be greened while occupied and in operation.

All stakeholders in the property sector are invited to freely use the Green Star SA rating tools to guide their design, construction and operations, but cannot make public claims about being a Green Star SA rated project unless it has been certified by the GBCSA. Upon submitting a project for certification, the GBCSA commissions one or more third-party assessors to validate the project’s submission and confirm in a two round process that a Green Star SA rating has been achieved. Upon certification, a plaque showing the Green Star SA rating is presented to the project owner for ratings of 4, 5 and 6 Star. This can form part of the project opening or launch and the plaques are often displayed in reception areas of these buildings. The GBCSA also publishes short case studies of all certified projects on their website.

The GBCSA offers training and accreditation for industry professionals who would like to know more about green buildings and Green Star for the various property cycle phases – for more information and bookings go the,

For more information, visit, to which full thanks and acknowledgement are given.