Green Building Council of SA to develop rating tool for Multi-Unit Residential buildings

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has started the process of developing the third Green Star SA rating tool for Multi-Unit Residential (MUR) buildings, and is looking for sponsors for this exciting and necessary addition to the Green Star SA toolkit.

Due for release in May of 2011, the MUR rating tool, the first such tool in the South African residential property market, will be created to assess the design of new and refurbished multi-unit residential buildings, completed multi-unit residential buildings and significant extensions to existing multi-unit residential buildings.

“The ongoing strategic expansion of available rating tools by the GBCSA is being driven by the demand for increased coverage of the property sector and the acknowledgement of unique environmental issues attributed to specific building types,” explains Nicola Douglas, CEO of the GBCSA.

Recent estimates show that multi residential units represent approximately 8% of all residential dwellings in SA and that there is definite trend towards higher density units with flats and townhouses accounting for about 27% of new floor space or about 29% of the number of dwellings/units being built.

The SA residential building sector consumes over 17% of all electrical energy generated by ESKOM – that is equivalent to the consumption of the mining sector. As a result, the residential building sector is responsible for the direct and indirect emission of 45 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (GHG), representing 13% of South Africa’s total emissions.

Such GHG emissions levels within the residential building sector indicate the urgent need for energy efficiency and GHG mitigation strategies!

Douglas explains that the Green Star SA MUR rating tool will assess the following building components and areas:

  • The complete base-building including structure, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, vertical transportation, fire suppression and stormwater systems;
  • Common areas including entry lobbies, covered car parks, shared amenities, communal facilities (i.e. gym, swimming pool, spa and sauna areas);
  • External areas within the project site including landscaping, irrigation systems, external car parking, stormwater management and exterior lighting systems; and,
  • All fixed cabinetry, joinery, fixtures and finishes within control of the design team and installed by the contractor under the head contract.

“The Green Star SA MUR rating tool will be based upon the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Green Star MUR rating tool, but will be localised to suit the South African climate, ecological, regulatory and commercial environments,” says Douglas.

“The GBCSA Technical Working Group is charged with localisation of the GBCA tool and the determination of Green Star SA Multi-Unit Residential PILOT credits, the number of points available and documentation requirements, and the category weightings. After the launch of the PILOT Green Star SA – Multi-Unit Residential rating tool public feedback will be accepted and the Technical Working Group will assist the GBCSA in addressing all feedback, and developing ‘Version 1’ of the tool.”

However, in order to get started with this necessary tool, the GBCSA requires sponsorship for the development process. “The GBCSA is a non-profit organisation and requires industry support if we are to effectively transform the South African property industry to environmental sustainability through market-based solutions,” concludes Douglas.

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