“Seven years ago, the Green Building Council wasn’t established, and green building in South Africa was largely an unknown. Our chairman and executive chairman at the time wanted to work on a green building in South Africa, and his project team wasn’t really receptive. With his love for the environment and his history in the property industry, the green building movement in South Africa progressed. What we want to do is change the way the world is built,” Jarrod Lewin, business development manager at the Green Building Council of South Africa, told CNBC Africa.
Lewin added that Green Star South Africa certification, an environmental rating system for buildings, has since been utilised to keep track and encourage environmentally-friendly buildings.
“We’ve certified 50 buildings, which is something we’re absolutely proud of. These are new buildings. In the existing building market, which we see the number is probably 98 per cent of the actual market, we’re expecting within the next five years or so 5,000 buildings to come on board with the programme that we’re running. It’s absolutely where the change needs to happen,” Lewin explained.
(READ MORE: S.Africa on green brick road)
Within an existing building market, according to Lewin, building owners, investors or facilities managers should start looking at ways of building with energy efficiency, water efficiency and operational and management procedures in mind.
“If you’re not going on a green building or sustainability journey – and in an existing building market we understand cash flow sensitivity – do the right thing when the time comes up: When you are replacing kit, reviewing maintenance procedures, make sure you employ the right initiatives at that stage. In fact, the V&A Waterfront down in Cape Town is a very good example of doing exactly that,” said Lewin.
The council is currently working closely with government to help progress legislation and regulation, as well as working with market to create a demand for green buildings, as well as to create certain competitive advantages.
(READ MORE: S.Africa to build greener cities)
“Because green building [has] an economic business case, it’s about doing the right thing. It’s not a sphere that we would want to police. South Africa is doing fantastically, [and] as of last year our chairman now chairs the World Green Building Council. It allows South Africa to demonstrate the good work that it’s done, and also take a leadership role internationally,” said Lewin.