GBCSA: Creating a sustainable future brick by brick
THE Green Building Council of South Africa is an independent, non-profit organisation which aims to ensure that all commercial buildings are built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way. The goal is to ensure that all South Africans can work and live in healthy, efficient and productive environments.
The GBCSA was formed in 2007 and is a full member of the World Green Building Council. The official certification of green buildings in South Africa falls under the Green Star SA Rating System. The GBCSA released a really great explainer video at the end of 2011, which explains everything in animated detail:
The Green Building Council of South Africa
A “green building” is classified as a building which is energy efficient, resource efficient and environmentally responsible.
“It incorporates design, construction and operational practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of development on the environment and occupants. Building green is an opportunity to use resources efficiently and address climate change while creating healthier and more productive environments for people to live and work in” – www.gbcsa.org.za
In practice, this encompasses the use of design, materials and technology to reduce energy and resource consumption with the aim of creating improved human and natural environments. Specefic green building measures include: (taken from www.gbcsa.org.za)
- The use of renewable energy sources;
- Water-efficient plumbing fittings and water harvesting;
- The use of energy-efficient air-conditioning and lighting;
- The use of environmentally friendly, non-toxic materials;
- The reduction of waste, and the use of recycled materials;
- Sensitivity with regard to the impact of the development on the environment; and,
- Careful building design to reduce heat loads, maximise natural light and promote the circulation of fresh air.
To achieve certification, building owners submit documentation to the Green Building Council of South Africa. Submissions are assessed and a score is given. Certification is awarded for 4-Star, 5-Star or 6-Star Green Star SA ratings. The South African rating tool is based on the Australian Green Star system.
“The rating system sets out a “menu” of all the green measures that can be incorporated into a building to make it green. Points are awarded to a building according to which measures have been incorporated, and, after appropriate weighting, a total score is arrived at, which determines the rating” – www.gbcsa.org.za
A great example of a 6-Star Green Star SA accredited building in South Africa is the Vodafone Site Solution Innovation Centre (SSIC). It is said to be the greenest building in the southern hemisphere.