Update on Green Building Council of South Africa
The South African Green Building Council (GBCSA), which was established in September of 2007, is moving ahead strongly with an influential Board in place, the establishment of technical sub-committees, employment of staff, and the establishment of a rating system for South Africa.

Bruce Kerswill, who has been facilitating the establishment of the Green Building Council, and who has been appointed as Executive Chairman, provides an update on the Council’s status:

“Board members for the GBCSA are industry leaders selected from 12 categories in the property industry and are a mix of implementers, influencers and specialists. As this is an establishment board that has not been nominated by members, the tenure of directors is limited to one year.”

“Producing a rating tool was one of the GBCSA’s main priorities as it sets the standards for green building and provides clear guidelines on what constitutes a ‘green building’,” explains Kerswill. “This was an urgent issue as many corporates are wanting to move ahead with green building and have been looking at a variety of different tools.”

“Various rating systems were considered and a workshop was held where we took advantage of the presence of Elena Bondereva, a technical expert currently with the Australian Green Building Council, who has had extensive experience in various rating tools in different parts of the world. The conclusion of the workshop was that Greenstar had significant advantages over the other systems, and, having been designed for a country with similar conditions to SA, was well-suited to our conditions.”

Kerswill notes that the GBC of Australia has also offered the GBCSA the Intellectual Property of their Greenstar system at no charge, as well as support in operating the system and training staff and assessors.

“The net result was that the Board has made the decision to use Greenstar as the basis of a South African rating system, and has embarked on a process of customising the system for South Africa. The customisation involves the appointment of consultants to review the Greenstar system, and to assess the relevance or otherwise of each credit, standard or measurement to our conditions. This process is being overseen by a sub-committee of the Board and a Technical Working Group whose members will include technical experts. Our objective is to have a pilot rating system in place midway through 2008.”

Nicola Douglas, newly appointed CEO of the GBCSA, explains that the Council has been recognised as an emerging member of the World Green Building Council and was invited to participate in the recent World GBC event at the Greenbuild Conference in Chicago.

“A delegation of six people attended and the conference made us realise just how much momentum the green building movement is gathering internationally and how far we have to go in SA.”

“We are now leading a delegation to the Green Cities conference in Sydney, Australia on 10 February 2008 and following the conference, the GBC of Australia is offering a range of ‘Greenstar’ courses, ranging from their ‘Accredited Professional’ course to technical courses aimed at various professions.”

“Moving forward, the GBCSA is looking to employ enthusiastic and qualified people to fill the roles of Technical Manager, Marketing Manager and an Administrative Assistant for membership. Additionally we have set up three sub-committees to address priority work streams,” explains Douglas, “being the Technical, Education and Membership, Marketing and Events committees.”

“The GBCSA is also looking for founding sponsorships which will fund the organisation until annuity income streams from membership fees and events are in place. A system of Silver, Gold and Platinum founding sponsorships has been devised and details of the scheme are being finalised, after which we will be approaching likely companies. A number of organisations have already expressed strong interest.”

The GBCSA will be opening for membership during the first half of this year and is in the process of putting systems in place that will enable it to handle applications, membership details and fees from an admin point of view.

“The GBCSA has been through a very busy time since its inception and 2008 promises to hold more of the same,” concludes Kerswill. “We hope to have a real impact this year, and we invite all property people to get involved and join the GBCSA when we open for membership.”

For more information on job applications, volunteering, courses being held in Australia by the Australian GBC, membership or founding sponsorship please contact Nicola Douglas or Bruce Kerswill on (021) 685 4020

Issued by: Catherine Pate
082 922 1737
On behalf of: Spire Property Management
Contact: Bruce Kerswill, Managing Director
021) 685 4020