The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) launched its new Green Star – Existing Building Performance (EBP) custom industrial pilot rating tool. Sponsored by Growthpoint Properties, the pilot tool is now available for all industrial properties to use.

Industrial sector showing positive growth

The South African industrial property sector has shown growth year-on-year post-lockdown in 2020 (source: Stats SA). This is attributed in part to the rapid expansion of ecommerce (accelerated by the pandemic), leading to an increased demand for logistics and warehousing type spaces.

Industrial buildings form a notable portion of South Africa’s existing building stock. Better-managed and better-performing green industrial buildings have great potential to decrease energy and water consumption, as well as reduce waste-to-landfill production.

Industries play a key role in national economy

“Industrial buildings, such as warehouses, manufacturing plants and logistics facilities, play a key role in the smooth running of national and regional economies. It’s vital that these assets are future-proofed for the impacts of a changing climate and the rising costs of energy, water, waste and emissions, as well as delivering a range of other benefits for their tenants,” explains Errol Taylor, head of asset management: industrial at Growthpoint.

Customised to existing buildings

To support the variations of the industrial property market, the GBCSA board gave a directive that the Green Star – EBP rating tool should be specifically customised for existing industrial buildings in December 2020.

The GBCSA’s existing Green Star – EBP tool is aimed at rewarding buildings that are managed sustainably well, can demonstrate good operational performance over a measured period and that contribute towards better quality spaces for tenants.

“When the original EBP tool was developed, it endeavoured to take as many building typologies as possible into account, but there were nonetheless limitations and, in reality, it has largely been applied to the commercial office segment of the market,” explains the GBCSA’s technical head, Georgina Smit.

The customisation process must ensure that the GBCSA can offer the market standardised guidelines for energy and water benchmarking of industrial buildings, as this currently does not exist in the South African property market. Nuances around industrial building ownership needed to be reconsidered within the tool to better serve the market.

What’s new?

The custom industrial pilot rating tool follows the same structure as the current Green Star – EBP v1 tool, but with clarifications and benchmarks specific to the industrial sector.

Some specific differences property owners can expect to see are:

  • Credits that are better aligned with the varied kinds of industrial building typologies. All energy and water usage is included in the benchmarking process. There are also sub-categories such as distribution centres, warehousing, light manufacturing and workshops. 
  • A new Energy and Water Benchmark Framework that can be used when following benchmarking operational performance for the industrial sub-categories. Existing operational performance data was contributed by major REITS, analysed by the appointed sustainability consultants, and new benchmarking parameters were set to form this framework. 
  • Credits that support property owners and tenants working together at improving assets. As with the EBP v1 tool, property owners can address some credits without necessarily involving tenants. For many of the credits relating to building management practices such as waste management, green cleaning the tenant must commit to implementing the procedures.

Taylor anticipates that over time the new tool will demonstrate that Green Star – EBP custom industrial certified buildings outperform non-certified industrial buildings against ESG criteria and financial returns on investment.

For more information, contact the World Green Building Council:

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