Greening of SA commercial property sector gains momentum
The Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) announced that 140 buildings were certified over the past year – a record number. The announcement was made during the GBCSA’s flagship Green Building Convention that was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre last week.
“Certified green buildings held their own as far as vacancy and return rates go over the past year. Property owners, tenants and investors are now insisting on better, certified green buildings, as the environmental and financial benefits of these become indisputable. To date, the GBCSA has certified 740 buildings since 2009,” said GBCSA CEO, Lisa Reynolds.
Reynolds said that the 140 certifications during a challenging Covid year was significant and spoke to a growing green building movement. She also commended the built environment community for driving the movement, saying “we do the certifications, but you make the commitment”.
It was also announced that Giles Pendleton, who is the Chief Development Officer at Attacq Limited, will remain as the Chairperson of GBCSA for another year.
The Green Building Convention hosted several keynote international and local speakers, including Nigerian architect, Kunlé Adeyemi, whose ‘African Water Cities’ have garnered him worldwide acclaim; Dutch bio-designer, Teresa van Dongen who shared the ground-breaking work she is doing in combining nature and science into her design; and Mashudu Ramano, entrepreneur in transition to a regenerative and sustainable future, bringing home our undeniable connection to and reliance on the environment.
“Our programme was curated around this year’s theme – One – One Planet. One Chance. It comprehensively looked at the critical role of the green building community and the need for us to come together as one powerful movement to effect positive change that counts.
“The theme spoke to the need for decisive and immediate action to mitigate the effects of climate change and to save our one planet for future generations. This is not something we can do alone – we need everyone to commit to a future where people and the planet thrive,” Reynolds added.
GBCSA also thanked its sponsors for making this year’s Convention possible.
“To our lead sponsors – Nedbank, Rand Water and Vodacom Business and all our other sponsors and supporters, thank you for partnering with us and investing in the green building movement. Partnerships are key to achieving the SDGs and we are in great company as we drive sustainable changes in the built environment,” said Reynolds.
GBCSA also announced the winners of its annual Leadership Awards at the closing plenary of the Convention. The awards are based on submission data gathered during the Green Star certification process, and individuals are nominated by the industry.
“Congratulations to all the projects and individuals who received awards this year. It is an honour to recognise the movers and shakers in our industry,” said Reynolds.
HIGHEST RATED BUILDING
The Ridge (Cape Town)
6-Star Green Star Office Design v1.1
AP: Mike Munnik, Agama Energy | Property Owner: V&A Waterfront
Balwin Head Office (Johannesburg)
6-Star Green Star Office Design v1.1
AP: Zendré Compion, Solid Green | Property Owner: Balwin Properties
BEST QUALITY SUBMISSION
5-Star Green Star Existing Building Performance v1
AP: Sally Misplon, Misplon Green Building Consulting | Property Owner: Redefine Properties
Wickham House (Johannesburg)
5-Star Green Star Existing Building Performance v1
AP: Sally Misplon, Misplon Green Building Consulting | Property Owner: Redefine Properties
Yvonne Pelser, InsideOUT Consulting
ESTABLISHED GREEN STAR
Mike Munnik, Agama Energy
Dash Coville, Solid Green
RISING GREEN STAR
Hlologelo Manthose, WSP Group Africa
Alex Varughese, Solid Green
YIPA SUSTAINABLE YOUNG CHANGEMAKER
GBCSA also partnered with the Youth in Property Association (YIPA) to introduce the inaugural YIPA Sustainable Young Changemaker Award, which recognises the exceptional contribution of young people to sustainability in the built environment sector.
Thamsanqa Hoza, is the first recipient of the award. Hoza is a young leader who is passionate about the intersection of infrastructure development, technology, and people, and particularly using this to improve the livelihoods of Africans. He is the founder of Hot Nozzle, a company that manufactures novel water heating technologies. He is an Allan Gray fellow, AIF top ten young innovators, received qualifications from UCT and Cambridge University, and has also received an award from the Queen of England.
For more information about the Green Building Convention, visit www.gbcsaconvention.org.View more
GBCSA Convention returns to Cape Town after Covid hiatus: drives ‘One planet. One chance’ call to action
After going virtual in 2020 due to Covid lockdown restrictions, Green Building Council South Africa’s (GBCSA) flagship annual Green Building Convention is back in the heart of Cape Town with the event taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 2–4 November 2021.
“We are thrilled to be back in Cape Town and to play our part in both stimulating the local economy and leading discussions on promoting sustainable changes in the built environment.”GBCSA CEO, Lisa Reynolds
The Convention, a highlight on the sustainability calendar, is the gathering place for the green built environment’s professionals, thought leaders and decision-makers. The theme for this year’s Convention, ‘One – One Planet. One Chance’, is inspired by the wake-up call that we need radical action to mitigate the effects of climate change.
“One of the key lessons we’ve taken from the pandemic is our very real and negative impact on the environment. As economies around the world came to a standstill, the environment thrived. With the built environment contributing 39% to global carbon emissions, we have a significant responsibility to drive a sustainable transition to spaces where both people and the planet can thrive.”
“Ultimately, it’s about creating a global built environment that acts as ONE powerful force of nature, effecting meaningful change that counts,” Reynolds added.
The Convention is once again hosting a heavyweight line-up of keynote speakers representing a range of built environment disciplines. From innovative award-winning international architects, resiliency experts and urban sustainability thought leaders to circularity specialists and climate activists – the programme comprehensively covers the most critical aspects of driving a sustainable future.
The sustainability agenda is further bolstered by expertly curated breakaway sessions, workshops and the Green Innovation Stage that deep dive into a wide range of topics, trends and pioneering green initiatives and solutions.
“Partnerships are vital in enhancing sustainable development and we are proud to collaborate with organisations that are actively driving positive environmental change in South Africa.
A big thank you to our lead sponsors Nedbank, Rand Water and Vodacom Business; our gold sponsors Balwin Properties and Pareto Limited; silver sponsors Investec Property Fund, Liberty Two Degrees, JLL Tétris, Standard Bank and Old Mutual; and our Bronze sponsors Growthpoint Properties, Belgotex, Formfunc, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) for partnering with GBCSA.”
“In 1990, at a time when few companies were talking ‘green’, Nedbank recognised the centrality of the natural environment; that it underpins everything we are – the lives we live, the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, our economies, and our livelihoods. This led to their pioneering partnership with WWF-SA to create the WWF Nedbank Green Trust and put in place Africa’s most sustainable, dynamic mechanism for supporting environmental issues at a time when there was no such understanding in the business world. Thirty years later, the WWF Nedbank Green Trust celebrates three decades of funding catalytic projects that have brought real change to the lives of South Africans and to the natural environment on which we all depend,” says Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Nedbank Group Sponsorships & Cause Marketing.
“Rand Water is proud to be associated with the Green Building Convention, we are cognisant that there are pressures on our planet’s limited natural resources; we have a long-standing commitment for a sustainable environment and are conscious that the challenge of climate change necessitates that an urgent action is taken by us all,” says Rand Water’s spokesperson, Justice Mohale.
“As Vodacom, connecting for a better future is the purpose that drives us, so we’re looking forward to not only supporting but also participating in this year’s Convention. As a technology company, we’re committed to leveraging technology to address societal challenges. We believe that taking advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT) will further enable businesses to make use of relevant, real-world, tech-savvy solutions that can positively transform society in the most sustainable ways possible,” says Shobana Singh, Managing Executive for National Facilities at Vodacom.
In a bid to accelerate the transition to a green economy and in recognition of the important role of SMMEs and NGOs in achieving this vision, GBCSA and Pareto Limited are introducing the Climate Action Village at Convention this year. 15 SMMEs and NGOs will be showcasing their innovative green products, initiatives and services while attending Convention and engaging with an influential network of built environment professionals and decision-makers.
GBCSA will also be announcing its latest statistics on Green Star certifications at the Convention, as well as the winners of the annual GBCSA Green Star Awards that recognise leading green building projects and professionals. This year, in partnership with the Youth In Property Association (YIPA), the winner of the inaugural YIPA Sustainable Young Changemaker Award will also be announced.
The organisers of the Green Building Convention, idna say that the positive response to this year’s Convention has been overwhelming and showed that people are eager to meet in person again.
“It is exciting to see the recovery of our industry in action and especially, through bringing people together again, creating a platform that drives critical dialogue around building a sustainable future. Having worked with GBCSA for several years now, the Green Building Convention is truly a highlight and we can’t wait to reconnect with everyone in Cape Town,” says idna CEO, Tamlynne Wilton-Gurney.
For more information about the Green Building Convention, visit www.gbcsaconvention.org.za.
Divercity and GBCSA: how to build a city for people and planet
Location, location, location! This real estate mantra is considered the key to successful property development. Now, a ground-breaking South African study reveals that the location of housing development is also the key to lowering carbon emissions – significantly so.Continue reading View more
GBCSA congratulates Redefine on 40 new Green Star certifications
In a progressive contribution to transformation of the commercial green building space, JSE-listed South African real estate investment trust (REIT), Redefine Properties, recently certified/re-certified 40 buildings in their property portfolio, under the Green Building Council South Africa’s (GBCSA) Green Star Existing Building Performance (EBP) rating tool.
Redefine’s diversified property portfolio, which amounts to a value of R75.3billion, includes a mix of retail, office, and industrial space throughout South Africa, and retail and logistics property investments in Poland. The recent Green Star accolades include 16 office EBP re-certifications, and 24 new EBP certifications across Gauteng, Cape Town, Kwazulu-Natal, and Polokwane. This is the largest bulk Green Star EBP certification from anyone commercial property owner to date and represents a major milestone for green property in South Africa.
“Property owners, such as Redefine stimulate market transformation by pioneering and leading when they ‘walk the talk’ and commit significantly to certification,” says GBCSA head of technical, 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 overall portfolio performance (linked to environmental, social, and governance -ESG- goals).
Independently verified green building certifications, such as GBCSA’s Green Star certification suite, are linked to 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.
Smit says the MSCI SA data shows that “certified offices, in comparison to their non-certified equivalents, are attracting higher tenancies, higher net operating income per square meter, and lower risk ratings.” These benefits signal a growing appetite for green buildings and sustainability in the property market, and also in the greater global business context. Essentially, greener office spaces offer healthier work environments for employees and mitigate risks of increasing energy costs, and potential future water shortages (to name a few potential climate-related crises).
The EBP rating tool measures a building’s operational performance over a 12-month period. Covid-19’s unexpected arrival, and the subsequent lockdown in March 2020, posed some challenges to the measuring of the information. Misplon explains: “The EBP rating tool has some minimum requirements in terms of occupancy density where each building is required to be occupied at a minimum of 70% during the performance period. As a result, GBCSA issued Covid-19 guidelines to assist projects teams in finding a way around this which still gave credits meaning during these different times. For example, the most recent reliable and accurate ‘pre-Covid’ set of energy and water data were used to benchmark the buildings energy and water performance, and adaptions were made to certain indoor air quality audit’s criteria to make it applicable to Covid-19 times, all while keeping the original intent and integrity of the rating tool in place.”
Covid-19 aside, processing a large number of certifications simultaneously, is a massive undertaking. Timing and planning are critical, Misplon explains. “Staying on top of data collection and tracking everything well is pertinent to successful and high-quality submissions.” As is support from the technical team at GBCSA. Due to meticulous teamwork, a high number of the projects received their certification after round 1 assessment.
Substantial portfolio certification, such as Redefine’s recent move, acts as a catalyst to other property owners who operate in the same space, says Misplon. Head of ESG 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.”
Typical sustainability features across most projects
- Indoor environmental quality testing to recognise the monitoring and control of indoor pollutants and 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
- 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, 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
Solar PV and the value of your home
We offer a new perspective on the potential long-term value you can create by installing a solar PV system in your home.
Authors: Matthew Capes, Sean Moolman
To provide context we elaborate on why the reliability, affordability, and sustainability of solar PV make it a viable and valuable addition to your home. The trends in the South African residential property market and the current challenges caused by Eskom’s service are also discussed. We then move on to the focal points of Saleability and sales premium. To get insight into how solar PV systems can improve the saleability of South African homes, we spoke to two local residential property experts: Sandra Gordon, Senior Research Analyst, Pam Golding Properties, and Anthony Stroebel, Head of Business Development, Pam Golding Properties and Director of the Green Building Council of South Africa.
We conclude with a method designed to help you calculate an estimate of the potential home sales premium unlocked by installing a solar PV system in your home.
Read time: 4 minutes
The Context: Declining Grid Reliability and Increasing Cost
The transition to clean energy is critical to securing a sustainable future for humanity.
In an ideal world, this would be at the top of everyone’s to-do list, but each day brings its own challenges.
Especially in sunny South Africa.
Note: EAF = Energy Availability Factor
For example: How do I manage to keep up with rising electricity and water bills? How do I cook dinner, have a hot shower, or watch some TV with my family, when persistent load-shedding and unexpected blackouts leave us in the dark?
Solar PV has become an increasingly affordable, reliable, and sustainable solution to these issues.
*Annexure A includes more detailed information and references for the above illustration*
As a South African you are certainly aware of the challenges Eskom brings, and you may already be familiar with the reliability, affordability and sustainability provided by solar PV.
There are solutions to the current challenges faced by many South Africans.
But what about the future?
An important reality often overlooked, is that the solar PV system becomes part of your home once it is installed (solar PV panels are routinely guaranteed at 25 years or more).
This begs the question: can a solar PV system add future sales value to your home?
International research suggests that it can, however, we sought insights closer to home. A lekker local perspective if you will. We spoke with Sandra Gordon (Senior Research Analyst at Pam Golding Properties) and Anthony Stroebel (Director at GBCSA, Head of Business Development at Pam Golding Properties) about two forms of value:
Saleability is the extent to which the home can be easily sold or rented.
Sales premium is the ability to command a higher sale or rental price.
At the end of this article, we provide a guideline for estimating your own home sales premium.
Let’s begin with saleability.
Gordon and Stroebel note, “Saleability is always relative to that particular moment in time i.e what else is on the market that would be competing for the same buyers. Certainly, at this point in time, when solar PV has not necessarily reached any degree of critical mass, it is likely that solar homes will be competing with non-solar homes and will definitely, therefore, have a ‘value edge’.”
Let us elaborate on what that “value edge” is.
Independence from Eskom
Stroebel and Gordon anticipate that despite the lack of local research on the matter, the fact that South African electricity tariffs are rising steadily and load-shedding is set to continue for the foreseeable future, it is extremely likely that any measures which reduce utility costs and increase a home’s independence from state utilities would increase its saleability.
They explain: “With a large, young population – and with utilities becoming more erratic and expensive – new mixed-use developments typically include energy and water efficiency features, solar power and – in some cases – rain harvesting, etc. These features are undoubtedly attractive to the majority of potential homebuyers and, based on international trends, will be particularly important to younger buyers (who are an important source of housing demand in South Africa).”
Securing the value of your home means you should consider who the buyers are likely to be and what would attract them to your home.
Millennials in the Market
Research conducted by COGNITION Smart Data found that Millennial home buyers have “a strong ethic of sustainability” and are looking for “smart homes that are sustainable, efficient and healthy”.
Adds Stroebel, “Millennials want homes with the latest and greatest – and most environmentally compatible – technology.
“According to this research, millennials have a high level of interest in solar technologies to reduce their carbon footprint, reduce their energy bills and increase self-sufficiency. Trends which rising local tariffs and increased instability in delivery are likely to reinforce.”
So, they are young and they want to save the planet… and money too.
Environmental and Financial Sustainability
According to research conducted by CoreLogic, “Surveys have demonstrated that millennials tend to be more environmentally conscious, so it is no surprise that they are the ones driving the green revolution in housing.
Solar panels will continue to be more popular on single-family homes, each unit with its own battery and power management system”.1
Green features such as a solar PV system also provide financial sustainability in the form of direct savings on energy costs, improving the saleability of your home and a potential home sales premium.
In a 2018 survey by the Pam Golding Property group, “70.3% of its agents estimated that homes with green features record a price premium of up to 5%, while 54.4% of agents stated that buyers are showing an increased interest in green features.” 2
According to Ooba, “Energy-efficiency has become a buzzword for house-hunters – not just because of load shedding, with homeowners around the globe trying to go green. A home that is less dependent on the grid makes for a sound investment opportunity.” 3
What does this all mean?
A smarter and more sustainable home can offer you cost savings and certainty through independence from Eskom – and these solutions will undoubtedly make your home more attractive to prospective buyers.
All these factors (and more) combine to create a perception of the value in prospective home buyers’ minds.
As they say in marketing, perception is reality.
So, does this perception of enhanced value translate into real value?
Listed in Table 1 (below) are several estimates from reputable international research for quantifying the potential home sales premium as a result of having a solar PV system installed.
Table 1: Sources of international research on solar PV and home sales premium
|The Appraisal Journal cited researchers Ruth Johnson and David Kaserman||“Value increase of about $20 for every $1 saved on annual energy costs.”|
|A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory||“$5,000 resale value increase for every kilowatt (kW) of solar installed.”|
|The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)||“Price premium of up to 4% (depending on size and age/condition of system).”|
Reference – 4
Using the methods in Table 1, we created a rough guideline on how to estimate your home’s potential sales premium by having a solar PV system installed. *Please see Annexure B*
The estimates from the National Bureau of Economic Research (4%) in Table 1 and the aforementioned Pam Golding Properties survey (5%) are close enough to provide a basis for estimating the potential home sales premium in South Africa.
In the following illustration, we depict a range of potential sales premiums made possible by installing a solar PV system in a South African home.
Acknowledging the limitations of applying these methods and estimates is pertinent, especially considering the lack of local data.
With that being said, we want to leave you with a final thought. Put yourself in the prospective buyer’s shoes. Imagine you have narrowed your choices down to two houses on the same street. The selling price is similar and so are the houses. The only major difference is that the owner of one house decided to install a solar PV system.
The houses don’t seem so similar anymore. One of them is smarter, more sustainable, and offers independence from ever-increasing electricity tariffs and protection against load-shedding.
Which house would you be more interested in buying or be willing to pay a premium for?
*We would like to extend a special thank you to Sandra Gordon and Anthony Stroebel. We greatly appreciate your time and effort spent on providing us with invaluable insights.
We know that solar PV can offer independence from Eskom’s unreliable service.
Although we were in lockdown most of the year, South Africa still experienced its worst year ever of load-shedding in 2020with a total of 1798GWh shed and 859 hours of outages.
To put that into perspective, there are 8 760 hours in a year.
Eskom has not been off to a good start in 2021 either. According to data from Eskom se Push we had already seen 560 hours of load-shedding in the first half of 2021.5
Will the situation improve?
According to a technical report by the CSIR, Eskom’s coal fleet’s Energy Availability Factor (EAF) has declined from 94% in 2002 to 57% in 2019. Degrading infrastructure, scheduled maintenance, and unexpected breakdowns exacerbate the rate at which the coal fleet’s EAF declines.
This means the situation is likely to get worse (at least, before it gets better).6
Solar PV has also become much more affordable, whereas Eskom is progressively more unaffordable. From 2007 to 2019, Eskom’s average electricity tariffs increased by 446%. Over that same time period, the price of solar PV modules decreased by more than 90% from R57,4/Wp to R5,32/Wp. 7
For the 2021/2022 year, the average monthly electricity bill is about R1 508 across all income groups in the four major metropolitan areas (Cape Town, Joburg, City of Tshwane and eThekwini).*B
Solar PV is dramatically more environmentally friendly too.
Several lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions studies show that solar PV, at only 50g of CO2-eq./kWh, has a fraction of the lifecycle GHG emissions of coal (948g of CO2-eq./kWh). 8
Remember, most of the electricity generated by Eskom comes from coal-fired power plants.
These studies analysed the emissions over the entire lifecycle of each technology, from the mining of raw materials to manufacturing to operation to decommissioning at the end of its useful life.9
*We adjusted the monthly electricity cost and solar PV system cost estimates from the methods in Table 1 to reflect those in South Africa rather than America.
Using the methods from Table 1, we begin our calculation with R2 034, the average monthly electricity bill for lower-middle to upper-income groups (LSMs 5 to 10) for the 2021/2022 year.*B
According to the Appraisal Journal, a solar PV system can enable a home sales premium of up to R20 for every R1 saved on annual energy costs.
To calculate potential annual savings, we multiply the R2 034 average monthly electricity bill by 12 months, which equals about R24 000.
Next, we multiply R24 000 by R20 which gives us a potential sales premium of R480 000.
To get to that same R480 000 but using the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory method which estimates R75 000 sales premium for every kW of solar installed – you would need to have about a 7kW solar PV system installed. *C and D
According to a 2021 BusinessTech article, having a 5kW solar PV system installed will cost about R110 000.
This equates to R22 000 per kW installed, thus we can expect the 7kW system mentioned above to cost about R150 000.10
If our potential sales premium is about R480 000 and the cost of our solar PV system is about R150 000, we arrive at an arbitrage opportunity of R330 000.
We must consider that, if the potential 4% sales premium is R480 000, the total starting price of our home would need to be R12 000 000.
Since most of us don’t have a home valued at R12 million, let us work out the sales premium using the average selling price of houses in South Africa for property in the lower-middle (R638 200) income group to luxury value property (R2 300 000).11
In 2019, the average selling price of houses for the above groups was about R1 300 000. Subsequently, the 4% sales premium would be about R52 000.
Green Economy Journal Issue 48
Methods and Assumptions
*A – We want to make it clear: The ranges shown in the “Real Value: An Overview of Estimates” illustration, as well as the more detailed sales premium estimation guideline found in Annexure B, are based on rough international data which we further adjusted to make it more relevant in the South African context.
With many variables, some of which have changed drastically over the last few years, these sales premium ranges and estimation guidelines are rough at best. They are only intended to give a basic idea of how a solar PV system can potentially lead to a home sales premium.
*B – Average residential electricity consumption data was obtained from Goliger, A. and Cassim, A. (14 and 15 July 2017). Tipping Points: The Impacts of Rising Electricity Tariffs on Households and Household Electricity Demand. 3rd Annual Competition and Economic Regulation (ACER) 2017 Conference, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Last accessed: 21/08/2017.
*B – Average effective residential electricity tariffs were calculated from the published 2021/22 tariffs of the following four metropolitan municipalities: City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane, City of Cape Town and Ethekwini, using the average electricity consumption values for LSM5-10 obtained from the above references.
*C – The solar PV systems as discussed in this article include battery back-up and are thus either hybrid or off-grid residential solar PV systems. Grid-tied systems do have some form of backup (AC grid power) and provide cost savings with solar energy they do not have a back-up in the case of load-shedding. Thus, in our estimations, we focused on hybrid and off-grid solar PV systems.
*D – At the time of writing the exchange rate was R15 to the DollarView more
New legislation requires SA buildings to display energy performance certificate
Recently gazetted regulations published by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy now make it compulsory for non-residential buildings in South Africa to declare their energy consumption by displaying an energy performance certificate at the entrance of their buildings. Building owners have until December 2022 to comply with these new building energy regulations, which require a formal assessment of your building energy consumption.
According to David Petrie, Technical Manager (Utilities) at FM Solutions Technical, these directives form part of the National Energy Efficiency Strategy under the National Energy Act, 2008 (Act No.34 of 2008), aimed at improving the country’s energy consumption. This process will determine the amount of energy that a specific building is allowed to consume per square metre. Similar energy performance certificate systems are currently in operation in the EU and the UK, where it was launched in 2007.
“It is important to note that the new legislation does not apply to factories and manufacturing plants. It applies to offices and public spaces, i.e. buildings that are used for entertainment and public assembly, theatrical and indoor sports activities as well as places of instruction,” Petrie explains.
These include schools, malls, theatres and places of work that are bigger than 2,000 square metres. Government buildings larger than 1,000 square metres must also comply with the new legislation. Buildings that have been in operation for less than 2 years, or have been subject to a major renovation within the past 2 years are exempted. Moreover, the new regulation stipulates that there are certain areas that can be excluded from the calculations, such as garages, car parks and storage areas.
“An Energy Performance Certificate, similar to those displayed on household appliances, must be issued by an accredited body in accordance with SANS 1544:2014 – Energy Performance Certificates for Buildings. This certificate must rank the energy rating (ER) of a building on a performance scale (A-G). This is to the maximum energy consumption (kWh/m²/a) per building type as per the SANS 10400 XA,” he says.
The certificate must be issued by a SANAS accredited body and be submitted to the South African National Energy Development Institute. The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy will appoint inspectors to audit buildings for certificate compliance and validity. The certificates will be valid for a period of five years
As specialists in energy efficiency and energy management, FM Solutions Technical are regularly called upon by their clients to conduct the energy assessments. Petrie explains that this is not a one-size-fits all approach, as there are various important factors that need to be taken into consideration, including the physical location and the climatic zone of the premises, history of energy usage, size of the building and nature of the business.
“It is important to regularly conduct a detailed energy audit to identify the biggest electricity users. This allows landlords and tenants to consider replacing them with alternatives that would be more efficient and unlock significant savings in the long run. For this reason, we encourage organisations to adopt the new legislation as an opportunity to implement good practices that would benefit their bottom line and improve overall efficiencies,” he concludes.
For more information on how FM Solutions Technical can assist with Regulations for the Mandatory Display and Submission of Energy Performance Certificates for Buildings, visit www.fm-solutions.co.zaView more
The Ridge: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
Cape Town’s newest 6-star Green Star Design awarded commercial building, the Ridge in the V&A Waterfront, has opened and its tenant, Deloitte South Africa, is trading from inside its unique spaces.
The Ridge deploys some of the most advanced sustainable building technology available globally, as well as original blue-sky thinking. It was born from the V&A Waterfront’s vision to set new standards for the future of commercial office buildings. The final design was the result of the creative inputs of the project’s multi-disciplinary design team, which worked closely together.
Over the past decade, the Waterfront has blazed a trail of sustainable development, rewarded with Green Star accreditations by the Green Building Council of South Africa. Individual buildings include the Allan Gray building at No.1 Silo, the Watershed and No.5 Silo, all 6-Star Green Star buildings plus a number of other firsts that include the former Grain Silo which became Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) and the boutique Silo Hotel, as well as No.6 Silo incorporating the Radisson Red (the first 5-star Green Star hotel).
David Green, the CEO of the V&A Waterfront, explains that this project showcases the capabilities of the Waterfront as a developer in providing custom-designed office or mixed-use accommodation to the highest standard in line with the needs of the customer.
”The Ridge and our other developments provide a working example as to how it can be done for companies that are looking to the future of their businesses in a sustainable way with a focus on both environmental performance and the greatest asset a company has: its people.”
“This development represents the confidence that our company and its shareholders have in the future of Cape Town as a destination and our confidence in South Africa itself,” he says.
Vusi Nondo, the executive manager for development at the V&A Waterfront explains that the Ridge has been an important milestone for the Waterfront in its rollout of bespoke office space, mixed-use and retail offerings.
“It has been said that working from an office post-Covid-19 will never be the same again – worldwide. Of course, that’s true, but long prior to the pandemic, the Waterfront development team identified a healthy office space that looks after the wellness of employees as being of paramount importance to any business.
“Armed with a development approach we consider as ‘Our Normal’, we’ve implemented people-centred innovations in all our bespoke developments. These promote a healthy work environment, help in combating sick building syndrome and low-carbon modes of transport. These include pedestrian footpaths, bicycle routes/parks, outdoor greened relaxation areas, and even food gardens,” he adds.
The Waterfront’s development director and project leader for the Ridge, Mark Noble, explains why the office work experience is exceptional and how the Ridge’s bespoke features set it apart from other commercial buildings.
“We designed the Ridge to be a world-class living, breathing building by incorporating a number of standout features, some of which are firsts for South Africa:
Air quality. The building operates on a mixed-mode interior climate control system, which includes the following features:
“Natural ventilation, which significantly raises the indoor air quality and is controlled by the occupants. This means that office workers may open the windows to let in fresh air for up to 80% of the year-round.
“An impressive atrium runs from ground to the third level of the building. Referred to as the ‘central street’, it helps to pull air through the building, in through the windows and out through the roof lights, while also bringing many other benefits to workers and visitors inside the building.”
Minimal HVAC (air conditioning) usage. The building incorporates passive (non-energy consuming) temperature control mechanisms several of which are unique. “A virtual sum of parts that leads to a greater whole,” attests Noble.
The zigzag-shaped engineered timber façade ingeniously orientates the glass windows towards the north or south, which prevents lower angle sun from the east or west from entering the office spaces. This provides natural daylight while reducing glare and patches of hot sunlight. “This has a major impact in promoting both fresh air quality and the saving of energy,” Noble explains.
Thermally Activated Building System Technology (TABS). “TABS is installed into the soffits (ceilings) above the working areas of the building and this cools the concrete structure by means of water circulating from the chiller and heat pumps on the roof. The cooler soffit hence cools the air below, which circulates around the workspace. TABS is another important contributor to the mixed-mode climate control system at work inside the building,” he adds.
All these measures mean that people inside the building will experience steady indoor ambient temperatures that respond slowly to outdoor temperature variations. The mixed-mode system design aims for the building’s conventional air conditioning system to be active for only 20% of the year. This is in line with international standards such as WELL™, in promoting occupant productivity and thermal comfort.
Development Manager for V&A Waterfront, Kirsten Goosen, comments on the other features that add to the total experience of the building as an occupant:
“People connectivity is enhanced by the central street (atrium). Apart from the areas where rational fire or acoustic design required the atrium to be enclosed in a few places, it mainly allows the free movement of building occupants on each level. Hence, informal connections can occur among building occupants and their visitors.
“Lighting includes the impressive roof lights above the atrium which allow optimal levels of natural light. This adds to conventional lighting on each floor. Low-energy LED lighting is suspended between acoustic panels to provide a stimulating work environment while the panels provide appropriate levels of sound absorption for work.”
World-class interior fit-out and a focus on the occupant
Since practical completion of the building late in 2020, the Deloitte-appointed interior design firm, Paragon Interface was on site, transforming the building’s extraordinary spaces by means of a world-class interior fit-out. Workplace strategist and Paragon Interface Director, Claire D’Adorante, comments that the client’s requirement was for a work environment that emulates the very high standard set by its global client.
“This means that the brief was distilled down to facilitating the way of working within the company to be in line with that of the global Deloitte brand, its corporate identity and also utilising brand intrinsic such as the use of colour. The work areas, desk sharing and layout are customisable to agile working,” D’Adorante outlines.
“Collaborative work opportunities and spaces exist throughout the building, which also has an ‘activated’ atrium edge. In addition, the interior features an active working corridor and workspace. Pause or meditation spaces are balanced with social and entertainment areas, with modern facilities available for use by the office staff”.
INTERVIEWS WITH THE LEADING TEAM MEMBERS
Mark Noble, Development Director, V&A Waterfront
“The façade on the top two floors of the building is constructed from locally sourced cross-laminated mass timber together with the more standard glass and aluminium panels in a unitised system. This is a very significant feature.
“Using timber as both the structural façade element as well as the internal and external finish, we believe is a genuine first for South Africa and one that has contributed significantly both to the overall architecture as well as reducing the overall carbon footprint of the building by 60 tonnes CO2 (equivalent) from the atmosphere.”
The Ridge also forms the hub of a broader mixed-use district of the Waterfront, called the Portswood District. “We have a number of heritage houses that were restored at the same time as the Ridge was under construction. These form part of the new district which will focus heavily on non-motorised mobility. While the district is envisaged as a commercial node, we are constructing public footpaths and a bicycle route will navigate the area.”
“The area will offer shady retreats, a Petersham Nurseries style cafe made solely from waste material from the V&A including a feature glass bottle wall (designed by PE based architect Kevin Kimwelle), a vegetable garden and the security of being within the Waterfront. We see this new district as a kind of secret garden with a high density of green open spaces and trees creating an environment that is truly unique in an inner-city location.
“With the opening of the Ridge at the Portswood District, it is now possible to navigate from this new commercial district, via the Watershed and beyond to our established retail and mixed-use property assets, including Victoria Wharf, the Clock Tower district, the Silo district or even Granger Bay,” Nobel says.
Wayne Megaw, Operations Leader, Deloitte Africa
“Our impact on the environment was a key consideration throughout the building project and therefore the 6 Star rating is an incredible achievement. Achieving certification means that we have succeeded, through collaboration with the development team, in building a high-performing, productive workplace that is healthier for our people and the environment.
“The interior design further ensures that the office becomes a place to work more dynamically through offering the right kind of working space available at the right time. The Ridge offers a range of different working activities and styles with spaces that can fuel creativity and will ultimately generate more collaborations across our multiple business units. There are no private offices for any staff with hot-desking being embraced to support openness, chance interactions, teamwork and increased collaboration. The office promises improved efficiency, integration and sustainability which is good for our business, our people, our clients and the environment, as well as our long-term capacity needs,” he comments.
Tessa Brunette, Lead Engineering and Façade Consultant, Arup
“Together with the buildings’ intrinsic thermal mass, the façade is the most important ‘machine’ (controlling indoor environment) in the building. We reached our design response using first principles, in close collaboration with studioMAS, the architects.
“These design responses were then tested and refined by using advanced computer modelling method, which included the testing of different glazing types, orientations and shading types. Thus we identified the optimum combination of orientation vs. shading vs. glazing type.
“Through an iterative process with many stages of analysis, modelling and interpretation initial modelling, the various options were refined to assess which combinations worked best in conjunction with the architecture and budget.
“Modelling confirmed that the zigzag (pleated) façade that we adopted for building levels 2 and 3 performs as well as a straight deeply shaded façade, and allows for more glazing without external shading devices that could obstruct views to the outside and reduce the amount of internal natural light.
“So the design significantly reduces the amount of direct sunlight entering the building, which in turn means that the internal spaces can largely rely on our mixed-mode system and not need air conditioning to remain comfortable,” Brunette says.
The building is designed to be as comfortable as possible without needing air conditioning to heat or cool. Occupants can control their personal comfort by adding or removing outer layers of clothing. If that is not enough, the controls can be adjusted to suit what the user prefers.
TABS (thermally activated building system technology) operates continuously throughout warmer months, cooling the internal environment using chilled water circulating through the floor slabs. This complements the operation of the natural ventilation system and HVAC, meaning that the building’s possible use of fresh air ventilation rises from 60% to 80% of the year.
It is all done on a controlled basis: “Traffic” Lights installed around the building perimeter indicate to the occupants when they should open and close the windows, based on outside conditions.
When the windows are open, the active ventilation system is switched off. When the weather outside is not suitable for natural ventilation, the building management system (BMS) activates HVAC (air conditioning), provided that the windows have been manually closed.
Air from the HVAC system, when switched on by the BMS, enters the office spaces via a low energy usage displacement ventilation system via air grilles that are located in the floor.
Special custom-designed acoustic panels are suspended underneath the exposed slabs to provide appropriate levels of sound absorption for a comfortable work environment, whilst leaving sufficient exposed thermal mass for the TABS to provide benefit to the occupants.
Sean Mahoney, Project Lead Architect, Studio MAS
“Our role as architect is to combine the logic and practicalities of engineering with the creative arts. I think of the climate control systems in use at the Ridge as the (Toyota) Prius of the built environment – a veritable hybrid,” Mahoney says in a moment of levity.
“This was a collaborative process with Arup best illustrated on the Ridge by the zigzag timber façade and the ‘central street’ with its roof light drums. Both these design elements have a strong engineering and design rationale backing them up, but at the same time, we have managed to create beauty and joy out of them. They are key to the building’s identity and aesthetic and create memorable experiences. These include natural light, natural timber in the case of façade, wonderful views out of the windows, connection with the outdoors and identity,” he says.
“Timelessness in architecture is something that many designers strive for. The timber façade itself will evolve and keep functioning over the years, changing colour as it weathers, developing a patina, and making the building stand out as unique.”
The origami concept also plays out in an extraordinary-looking ceiling feature outside the entrance lobby for the building which incorporates a continuum of inverted pyramid shapes.
Mahoney comments: “It’s all about the forgotten elevation and view. This is a double-volume scaled space, and the soffit is very visible.
“It’s also inspired by the Baxter theatre, which I absolutely love, even though the design is very different. It’s about having a powerful aesthetic for the ceiling view. The geometry of the upside-down pyramids is derived by folding the two pleated façades on the corner by 90 degrees, so that you in effect have a pleated soffit, and then ramming the pleated façades into each other. The troughs and valleys of the pleats combine to create pyramid forms. LED strip lights are then run along the diagonal valleys that occur,” he adds.
Interior fit-out by the tenant, Deloitte – as per Claire D’Adorante, Director of Paragon Interface
The ground floor accommodates the more public functions such as a Deloitte reception, client-facing meeting rooms, a staff restaurant and a Vida e Caffé that can service both Deloitte employees and the public realm through a hatch inserted into the covered entrance façade.
“To facilitate and encourage active movement for both employees and visitors, the Ridge has a light-filled internal atrium conceptualised as a street that runs through its centre. The workspace planning focuses on activating this street edge through the deliberate positioning of agile workspaces around the atrium to create a bustling working corridor.
“This includes a balance of collaborative workspace such as touch-down points, casual lounge spaces, focus rooms and pods. Social relaxation areas are positioned in the vertical circulation core. Lifts and a sculptural steel staircase allow employees to easily connect with each other between floors,” explains D’Adorante.
The ground floor experience is completed by Deloitte’s ‘Xcelerator’, an immersive environment where clients can experience the potential of digital transformations in an innovative environment that enables the creative development of customised digital solutions.
New ways of working such as desk-sharing practices are also being successfully implemented here, aligned with Deloitte’s global workspace practices. “From the beginning the Ridge was always going to be unique, and the interior really needed to respond to that brief. At the same time, it aligns the threads of Deloitte’s branding philosophy and the workplace strategies,” she concludes.
The usage of the tenant corporate colours permeate the building creatively and are also used in a practical way for example, in navigation around the 8 500m2 building – each floor is uniquely colour-coded.
The Green Building Council of South Africa
Lisa Reynolds, CEO of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), commends the V&A Waterfront and the entire professional team on another iconic 6-Star Green Star certified building within the Waterfront precinct. “The Ridge represents the V&A’s commitments to world-class sustainability leadership as well as showcasing local built environment professional talent capable of delivering innovative sustainable design,” says Reynolds. “Green buildings like the Ridge help to inspire a built environment in which both people and planet thrive,” she adds.
Georgina Smit, Head of Technical at the GBCSA explains that a 6-Star Green Star Design rating at the project design stage represents an intent to achieve a sustainability performance level that equates to world leadership, exceeding South African excellence (5-Star) and industry best practice (4-Star).
“Six-star ratings are unusual in South Africa and is not an easy achievement for a design rating. Only nine other offices have achieved this accolade to date, either through our Design or As-Built rating, or both, since 2010. It involves a committed client, a dedicated professional team and an integrated design approach by all,” she says.
More on green buildings in our latest issue of +Impact
- The building has a specific energy strategy which includes:
- Passive energy-efficient features are incorporated, as mentioned above, to reduce base energy load.
- Active energy-efficient designs include low-energy lighting systems.
- A solar array on the roof harvests additional power when the sun is shining.
- Ultimately, in the case of a grid failure, vital systems in the building are kept going by means of a standby generator.
- The building employs the normal low water flow devices in sympathy with Cape Town’s growing status as an arid city.
- Grey water and rainwater harvested from the roof is collected and reused for toilet flushing and irrigation.
Dematerialisation and recycling
The focus given by designers to dematerialisation, re-use and recycling is well documented, including the South African first-ever usage of ecobricks encapsulated within certain non-load bearing structural elements of the building.
Greening the interior
Within the Ridge, the natural environment is king. Green plants and a planted balcony for occupants are features of the design philosophy that incorporates greenery.
Photography by ©Gareth Griffiths Imaging and Sarah da Pina
Professional Team: The Ridge
|Engineering team (comprehensive service)||Arup|
|Quantity surveyors||Smith & Co|
|Interior architects||Paragon Interface|
|Main contractor||GVK Siya Zama|
|Geo-tech engineers||Core Geotech|
|Landscape architects||Planning Partners|
GBCSA and YIPA open doors to a sustainable future
In celebration of Youth month in South Africa, the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) and the Youth In Property Association (YIPA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This signals greater collaboration between the two organisations, which are playing a role in shaping the future built environment in South Africa.
The MOU has a strong focus on knowledge sharing and events as the two organisations aspire to learn from each other and work together to ensure more sustainable buildings and practices in the local property sector. “We are truly looking forward to greater collaboration with the energetic members of YIPA,” says Lisa Reynolds, CEO of GBCSA.
“We’re really looking forward to working closer with the GBCSA. We have always been focused on finding new and innovative ways to increase the participation of young people in the property sector and this MOU does just that. The sustainability of our planet cannot be achieved without thinking differently about how property is developed and managed. This alliance with the GBCSA will ensure that young people in property become a part of the broader conversation and ultimately contribute to the security of our future,” says YIPA chairperson, Monedi Lefakane.
Because real estate contributes over one third of global emissions (IEA), there is growing pressure on the property sector to address climate change. The physical risks to property from the changing climate, and the reputational risks of inaction against climate change mean that more companies and governments are making commitments to tackle these issues.
A strong focus of the MOU is that YIPA members will be entitled to preferential pricing for training with the GBCSA. Courses, both standard and bespoke, offered by the GBCSA provide great insight into sustainability and unlock opportunities for further collaboration and entrepreneurship.
“We can’t wait to welcome YIPA members into our training programmes. There is a world of green building and sustainability insight waiting for them. We are also eager to better understand the concerns of younger property professionals, particularly when it comes to sustainability,” says Jean Rodel, Head: GBCSA Academy.
Both YIPA and the GBCSA look forward to rewarding collaborations going forward.View more
GBCSA urges building owners to know and show their energy performance
By next December, some non-residential buildings will be required by law to display an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which demonstrates the efficiency or inefficiency of a building. This is done by measuring the building’s energy-use intensity and giving it a colour-coded score from A-G, like the energy rating you would find on appliances.
In the same way that drivers check the fuel consumption of a car before renting or buying it, knowing the energy performance of a building empowers potential buyers or tenants to make a more informed decision.
It is hoped that this will be a great boost for energy efficiency in South Africa, since the first step toward lowering energy consumption is knowing energy consumption. The new regulation requires that energy data is collected over the period of a year, to get an adequate measure of the building’s energy use. Thus, building owners will see how their buildings compare against the SANS 10400-XA benchmark energy usage intensity value.
Once information on a building’s energy performance is publicly displayed, it will be much harder to justify operating an inefficient building. Buyers and tenants do not desire to move into a building that will be more expensive to run and will be a drain on the planet’s resources.
EPCs in South Africa
To obtain an EPC, a building owner will need to gather some of the building information – the electricity consumption data for a year, the net floor area, information on the areas excluded, vacancy rates – and contract a South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) accredited inspection body (IB) to audit the information. The IB submits the energy performance value to the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), which inputs it into the National Building Energy Performance Register. A unique number for the EPC is generated and sent to the SANAS accredited IB, who then issues the EPC to the client for display.
The National Building Energy Performance Register will assist with future benchmarking of building energy consumption and track progress toward achievement of the targets set out in future EPC regulations.
Before joining the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), CEO Lisa Reynolds played an important role in the development of SANS 1544, the South African National Standard, which governs EPCs. “The old adage “if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it” is the basis for the EPC Regulations. The energy usage of the South African existing building stock is unknown. How do we improve on an unknown? By measuring it – and ultimately improving on it,” says Reynolds.
The Stellenbosch University Admin B building is the first in South Africa to achieve an EPC. The building received an A-rating for electrical consumption of 48kWh per square metre per year. The University has been collecting data for several years and the data verification was completed by Bluedust Engineering Solutions. This information was handed to Mess Energy Management and Validation Service, which is accredited by SANEDI to issue EPCs.
The challenge is now on to see which building in South Africa will be the next to get its Energy Performance Certificate.
The GBCSA is providing training workshops on EPCs in two parts/sessions. The first one is for building owners, facilities managers and consultants interested in understanding more about the EPC process and the second session must also be attended for those wishing to become SANAS accredited inspection bodies. Click here for more information.
Towards Net Zero
Understanding the energy performance of a building is a vital first step on the journey to a net-zero carbon building, which is the ultimate goal for the GBCSA. From knowing the energy usage intensity of a building; leading to the energy efficiency retrofitting of that building and ultimately the retrofitting into a net-zero carbon building.
The GBCSA strongly advocates for net-zero carbon buildings. These are very highly energy-efficient buildings, with the remainder of the power required for the operation of the building provided by renewable energy sources.
The motivation for net-zero carbon buildings is driven by South Africa’s National (National Development Plan goals) and local climate change commitments, which include the C40 Global Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration. Johannesburg, Tshwane, Cape Town and eThekwini are C40 cities and signatories to the 2018 declaration, alongside 24 other global cities. These cities have committed to developing regulations and/or planning policy to ensure new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030 and all buildings reach net-zero carbon status by 2050.View more