The Greenovate Awards, active since 2015, aims to seed an early passion for sustainable development in university students, notably in engineering and property-related faculties at South African institutions. The Greenovate programme hothouses innovative thinking and imagination in those young people – the future leaders of the built industry.

The winners of the student Greenovate Awards 2020 delivered an inspiring list of entries, and especially noteworthy is that the top and second spots were clinched by two female students.

Fresh life for old tyres and visionary 3D printing for construction are just some of the clever and sustainable ideas presented by university students competing in the annual Growthpoint Properties and Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) Greenovate Awards.

Record entries despite Covid-19
In 2020, a record amount of 31 students from seven universities entered. However, this year of the competition will be remembered as uniquely gruelling not just because of the high standard and large number of entries, but also because of the extraordinary circumstances presented by 2020.

“Learning in lockdown was difficult enough, but for those students to present such forward-thinking projects under these conditions really impressed the judges,” says Grahame Cruickshanks, Growthpoint’s head of sustainability and utilities. “The commitment shown was astounding. In such trying times, we at Growthpoint are prouder than ever to be drivers of the Greenovate Student Awards – and it looks like the future of green building is in capable and creative hands.”

Living construction lab
“This year’s Greenovate Awards demonstrated student enthusiasm and passion for applying their learning to solutions that will make the world more sustainable. It’s inspiring to know that so many students are actively using the built environment as a ‘living lab’ to explore new opportunities. The GBCSA is proud to be part of stimulating ‘greenovation’ within South African universities and shaping a better future,” says Georgina Smit, technical head at the GBCSA.

The students benefit immensely from the support and input provided by the programme – much of which was enabled by technology and email in 2020 – as well as gaining a prestigious platform in their chosen field. They are given the opportunity, expertise and resources to develop their research into a real and workable product or service for the property industry – and for the future, both their own and the planet’s.

The winners of the 2020 Greenovate Student Awards are:


First: Fadheelah Madhi, Shweta Singh and Mpho Mtimkulu from the University of the Witwatersrand – “The use of waste tyre rubber in the partial substitution of cement bricks in South Africa.”

Second: Talia White from the University of Cape Town – “An investigation into critical success factors for sustainable waste management in shopping centres.”

Third: Alan Hunter and Dylan Hubner from the University of Cape Town – “An investigation of the impact of implementing innovative technology to reduce energy consumption in South African commercial property.”


First: Jean-Pierre Mostert from the University of Stellenbosch – “Topological interlocking for 3D-printed concrete.”

Second: Rue Munemo from the University of Stellenbosch – “Thixotropic characteristics for robust interlayers in 3D-printable concrete.”

Third: Moniqué Scheepers from the University of Stellenbosch – “Development of a training methodology for emerging contractors.”

For more information and to enter the 2021 awards, visit

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