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.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) and Zutari (formerly known as Aurecon) has launched a “safe return to the workplace” guideline to help facilitate a responsible reopening of offices in South Africa.
“What is emerging is a realisation that lockdown cannot be a long-term strategy against Covid-19 and that the ‘new normal’ for workplaces is evolving because of the need for human interaction,” says Georgina Smit, GBCSA’s Head of Technical. “Although a ‘new normal’ is emerging in office working, it will need to respond not only to a changed world of work but will have to manage health-related risks as well,” she adds.
The guideline, developed by GBCSA and Zutari, is a technical guide for existing buildings that identifies best practice recommendations for a healthy and safe return. The guide is available for free and aimed at building owners, facilities managers, office managers, and tenants.
“Commercial buildings are not typically designed to standards aimed at minimising the spread of infectious disease to the extent of hospitals that are built for this purpose. However, there are various measures that can be implemented to reduce the risk of transmission,”
Martin Smith, Technical Director, Zutari
The framework and guideline consist of five categories and 45 initiatives and has been put together to understand the range of options that should be considered when implementing the return to the workplace, with safety as the key priority. It provides an overview that identifies infection control strategies at various levels of decision-making and responsibility.
Smit explains that “the guidelines are set up in a structure similar to the Green Star rating tools with various interventions grouped under a number of applicable categories. A short aim description and background are provided for each initiative. The guide puts forward a recommended best practice for each initiative. It is a user-friendly starting point for stakeholders to understand what needs to be considered for a safe workplace.”
The guide considers initiatives related to management, personal behaviour, indoor air quality, safe water systems, and design for safety. Each category has been collated around the point of control within the building in mind. For example, the Management Category highlights the need for mental health support services that encourage resiliency and ensures that discrimination does not occur.
Smit says that the first step for those interested in applying this to a building they work in is a healthy building assessment audit. “The purpose of this is to provide an understanding of the current status of the building and its related services and address the preparedness of management and staff to handle health-related risks. It serves as a gap analysis of your building’s status in relation to desired outcomes and requirements of this guide.”
Zutari’s Martin Smith emphasises that the role of air quality needs to be considered. “You really want to address building ventilation rates to ensure sufficient ventilation or outdoor air supply rates are provided to minimise a build-up of pathogens or contaminants suspended in the air. Good amounts of fresh air also contribute to occupant wellness, which could have translated into productivity benefits.”
When considering mitigation strategies for your building, it is important to understand how infections such as Covid-19 spread. The risk associated with the following four most common transmission routes should be addressed when using this guide: person to person via macro droplets; airborne transmission; fomite transmission and faecal-oral transmission.
“Mitigating risks associated with each one of these transmission routes has a massive impact on the way a building and its occupants need to be managed to ensure everyone’s safety,” Smith added.
It is the responsibility of organisations encouraging staff to return to work to ensure due processes and protocols are followed for the safety of employees. Companies need to be compliant with the SA Government Coronavirus (Covid-19) Regulations and Guidelines and this guideline provides free additional robust support for the South African commercial and retail sector, through the lens of green building priorities.
GBCSA and Zutari urged stakeholders to “use this opportunity to facilitate the shift to creating healthy spaces for people to work, collaborate and contribute to creating a better place for all of us.”
Attacq, the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and developers of Africa’s largest mix–use development, Waterfall, are pleased to announce the appointment of its Chief Development Officer, Giles Pendleton as the new Chairman of the Green Building Council South Africa, replacing outgoing Chairman IIse Swanepoel.
“In terms of the road ahead, it is critical to have a stable and focused council that is aligned to its basic strategy, supported by a re-engineered board that has a strong industry-centric input,” says Giles Pendleton, Chief Development Officer at Attacq.
Giles has played a pivotal role in Attacq’s flagship development of Waterfall City, which has been master planned as a green fields development, leveraging global best practice in urban design, smart and sustainable technology. This is grounded in the business’ overall strategy to build inclusive and sustainable assets, that are grounded in cutting edge urban design and future forward environmental stewardship.
Giles has over 23 years in global commercial property development having been based in Poland, Australia and the UAE, driving smart and sustainable property developments. His vast experience includes serving as the Development Director for Omnivat, a premier Dubai developer in the Dubai International Financial Centre. He’s also served as the Vice President for Property Development and Head of Master Planning for the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA).
The Green Building Council of South Africa is an industry association that promotes the construction of buildings and homes designed, built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way. Its combined influence drives competitive, viable and professional membership advantage.
“I look forward to working with Giles and the newly constituted board to drive the growth and adoption of sustainable building practices across South Africa’s property sector. Going into 2021, the promotion of a green recovery strategy and local value-added solutions will be imperative as we collectively work towards ensuring environmental sustainability within the industry”, says Lisa Reynolds, CEO of GBCSA.
The City of Cape Town (CCT), with support from the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), have co-created a design competition for the ultimate “clean green home”. This competition is targeted at students and professionals of the built environment and forms part of the Cape Town Future Energy Festival, a series of virtual event experiences designed to include all Capetonians in the city’s future energy story.
The virtual festival runs until January 2021 and will culminate in a physical event in the first quarter of 2021 at which the winning My Clean Green Home design will be constructed and displayed. The brief is to design a net-zero carbon unit for display and exhibition purposes.
The Future Energy Festival is seeking project partnership and support in the means of building materials, appliances, furniture, and building-related services to support this unit being fully realised.A net-zero carbon building is defined as “a building that is highly energy-efficient, and the remaining energy use is from renewable energy, preferably on-site but also off-site where absolutely necessary, so that there are zero net carbon emissions on an annual basis”.
Quantities of materials will be finalised in December once the design is completed. Closing date for project partnership submissions is 30 November 2020. Project partnership terms will be concluded by 30 January 2021 when the construction of the My Clean Green Home will be completed.
Project partners will receive the following marketing opportunities:
Association with the Cape Town Future Energy Festival and net-zero carbon design:
An opportunity to showcase your product and align your offering with energy-efficient and net-zero carbon goals.
Physical display opportunities in the unit itself: Each project partner will be given a space of 1 x A3 (portrait orientation) on the display unit near where their product is being used to educate the reader about the product and advertise your company. Include links & QR codes. Project partners are to provide their own artwork printed on card and laminated. Final artwork is subject the festival organiser’s approval. In addition, there may be a project partner wall as part of the unit, pending final design, and space allowances.
Acknowledgement and thanks in My Clean Green Home communication on the festival’s digital platforms, including the website and social media channels (at least 2 social media posts acknowledging all project partners) and any other My Clean Green Home communication material that is developed.
Please see the list of items below and get involved by completing this form
We are seeking project partners and support in supplying the following items:
SABIS International School – Runda, Nairobi, sets a regional precedent
The new SABIS® International School – Runda in Nairobi achieved a 4-Star Green Star Africa-Kenya PEB v1 Design Rating in April 2020. The school is being presented as a case study at the World Green Building Week (21-25 September), and a tree-planting ceremony is being planned as part of the Green Star design certificate handover process.
SABIS® International School – Runda offers a world class education to students from kindergarten to Grade 12 within a vibrant, multicultural community that is committed to academic excellence. Construction on the state-of-the-art campus, which gives students the space to learn, grow and discover their talents, started in June 2016 and was completed in June 2018.
Facilities include an independent kindergarten area, upper and lower school buildings, cafeteria, gymnasium, pool, football pitch, tennis courts, mini car track, and an auditorium. As the first Green Star certified school in Kenya, the aim was to positively impact the project’s design and construction costs, asset value, operating costs, workplace productivity and user health.
With a GFA of almost 14,600 sqm, the school is conveniently located near the Northern Bypass in Kiambu County. The project was developed by the SABIS® Network, a global network of schools that dates back to 1886 and currently educates over 70,000 students in 20 countries on 5 continents. Concept design architects on the project were Archika, with Boogertman + Partners as executive architects. The green building AP (accredited professional) team comprised WEB Limited, a Kenyan based sustainable development consultancy and co-founding member of the Kenya Green Building Society, in collaboration with Solid Green Consulting.
Urban & Climatic Context
Elizabeth Wangeci Chege of WEB Limited explains that the site was chosen to meet the growing demand for a new school in an area that has become densely urbanised in the last 10 years. Being very close to the Equator with no extremes in weather, conditions lent themselves to passive design; the soil is conducive to plant growth and biodiversity, and there is an abundance of rain for harvesting.
The SABIS® Network has developed schools in different regions in the Middle East and South America, and the concept design had to be contextualised, acclimatised, and aligned with local expectations. For example, following the attack on the Garissa University College in April 2015, a top priority was security which necessitated a boundary wall and physical barriers between the buildings.
“Safety on site is also paramount,” comments Anthony Opil, project architect at Boogertman + Partners. “The site is on a steep slope so the buildings were staggered and connected with soft, landscaped ramps – working with the terrain to make the buildings easily accessible to one to another and for the mobility impaired. Courtyards were also designed for different age groups with specific play areas for the lower school and high school – which was an approach that was customized to local expectations.”
The school is bound by two roads to the north and south respectively, with the northern road being a busy highway. SABIS® had to provide a budget and infrastructure to access the southern road, which is much lower and further away from the school. The original design was mirrored in order to avoid traffic and highway noise; and cyclist facilities and school bus facilities were provided.
A Tailored Response
Another key consideration was resource efficiency. While there is a greater reliance on mechanical ventilation and heating in other countries, in Kenya, with its high energy costs and a consistent climate, a more appropriate response was developed.
The classroom blocks were oriented north/south with openings, particularly in the study areas, that do not face east or west. Heat gain from outside surfaces was limited by merging soft and hard landscaping and, in the site planning, by ensuring that paved spaces do not bounce heat back into the internal spaces. Air pollution was also mitigated by ensuring that the school bus parking areas, which are planted with young trees, are oriented to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the buildings.
Locally available materials and technologies were specified where possible, such as concrete hollow blocks and roof insulation to improve thermal massing. This was a departure from the typical local construction practice of using natural stone because, says Opil, the hollow blocks were more climatically appropriate, enabled costs to be reduced, and were readily available thus circumventing supply issues relating to stone.
Natural lighting and ventilation were modelled and optimised by increasing the height of the windows specified in the original design. Together with the selection and procurement of low-VOC finishes – such as paints, adhesives and sealants – to ensure that the children are not exposed to toxins, this ensured a significant improvement in the school’s Indoor Environmental Quality. Elizabeth Chege explains that, although the AP team did not conduct embodied energy calculations for materials, this strategy was used to govern the specification of materials; and workshops were held with both the client and contractor to ensure that targets were met.
Solar water heaters were installed to reduce energy consumption, and a modular solar PV system was designed for optional adoption – with the aim of providing panels for classrooms in the next phase of the development, to cut back on consumption and reduce operational costs.
Electricity and water sub-metering was provided for each block with smart meters connected to the BMS to monitor and manage consumption, and to offer a learning resource for the school children and their carers. The school was also the first in Kenya to install 100% LED lights in all spaces, thus gaining an additional Green Star Innovation point.
Targeting Net Zero Water
Boniface Chege, also of WEB Limited, says that the project is performing so well in terms of water consumption that the team will consider targeting a Net Zero Water certification which, if successful, will be the first in the region. “We had to consider how children behave and how they like to play with water,” he says. “We reduced consumption by specifying low-flush toilets and low-flow taps with sensors.
“Potable water consumption for landscape irrigation has been reduced by 100% using a rainwater harvesting system and recycled black water system. This is backed up by a borehole with variable speed drive (VSD) pumps and municipal water as a last resort. For the Green Star rating, we achieved 99,9% of the available water credits just by using context-appropriate systems like efficient fittings and a blackwater treatment plant – thus contributing to the long-term resilience of the school.”
Elizabeth Chege adds, “To treat the sewage emanating from the facility, a membrane bio reactor (MBR) – a process of membrane-based technology – was provided. In this process, the excess sludge does not require separate digestion and the quantity of sludge generated is minimal. This avoids the cumbersome sludge disposal exercise which needs more manual labour and land area. The treated water from the system is disposed of into an overhead tank to flush toilets by gravity. The supplier and installer of the system was also appointed to maintain the system during operations.
“A workshop is being planned with the school’s operational team to ensure a smooth transition from design to operations by sharing information; and consumption data is already being reviewed. The team will also implement an occupancy survey plan to ensure ongoing comfort and usability for users.”
A precedent in Waste Management
Construction waste is currently a topical discussion in Kenya and this project has become a case study for the National Construction Authority, for other contractors to adopt. The reason, says Elizabeth Chege, is that the tender and preliminary documentation was very clear, so the contractor was informed at the outset of the required standards. The contractor therefore appointed a local waste consultant to ensure that the waste was recycled and reused, and 96% of the construction waste was tracked, weighed and diverted from landfill.
In terms of operational waste, spaces were provided on site for separation of waste; and recycling bins were clearly labelled for use by the school children and staff. Paper and cardboard, plastic, metal and cans, glass bottles, and food waste are all separated during operations. The appointed waste collection company was awarded a contract on the basis that they collect the separated waste in trucks that maintain separation, and they have an extensive sorting site that employs women and youth.
A benchmark for East Africa
“The growth and development of school infrastructure has a large impact on our natural environment and communities,” shared Austin Opiyo, SABIS® International School – Runda Facilities Manager.
“The design, construction, and operation of the buildings in which we work are responsible for the consumption of many of our natural resources. We are glad that SABIS® Runda is a leading example of a green school and has gone ahead to be a corporate leader in sustainability initiatives.”
Austin Opiyo, SABIS® International School – Runda Facilities Manager
“Research has shown that certain green building factors positively influence learners’ performance at school,” notes Chilufya Lombe, director at Solid Green.
“SABIS® Runda is the first school in the SABIS® Network to be completed and undergo certification in Africa, with more planned in future. With this project we have shown that schools, where our children spend most of their time away from home, can be green too. We hope that other learning institutions in Africa will also adopt green building certification and become part of the call to climate action.”
Chilufya Lombe, director at Solid Green.
“This certification sets an example for the rest of the region,” says Elizabeth Chege. “We were thrilled to be part of the process of opening up the Green Star Africa PEB tool for countries outside South Africa. The client was dedicated to achieving this aim and the professional team and main contractor were completely open minded about the process, enabling us to efficiently meet the required credits.”
In both its realisation and certification process, SABIS® International School – Runda has successfully set a new benchmark for schools and the green building sector in East Africa.