Code to monitor building’s environmental performance launched

Monitoring the environmental performance of a building in South Africa just got easier, with the launch of the first global Environmental Code for corporate real estate in the country.

The Investment Property Databank (IPD) launched the code in Sandton on Wednesday evening, and emphasised the importance of a company’s ability to monitor buildings’ environmental performance on a consistent and comparable basis, which was applicable globally.

“Environmental issues are not a fad, they are here to stay. And building occupiers will continually be asked for measurements and data,” said IPD Occupiers international business manager Melissa Meadows.

She explained that the IPD Environment Code was a “simple, easy to use template for the collection of data”.

“To implement the code into an organisation is free, its free for them [building occupiers] to download, its free for them to use, the only thing that it is going to raise, is awareness of the environmental metrics going on in their portfolio,” she added.

Corporate properties were said to account for some 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the industry was feeling continuous pressure to supply detailed, and higher quality environmental performance data. The Environment Code was put forward as a key tool to assist in the fight against the effects of climate change.

The need to collect and measure resource consumption data was a vital step on the path to setting targets and reducing consumption of energy, water, and other materials. South Africa, in particular, was said to have a lack of energy consumption data for buildings.

“The release of this code is a significant development for our property market, bringing to South Africa internationally recognised best practice standards. Most organisations need some assistance in deciding how to measure a building’s impacts. Not only does the code enable users to compare the environmental performance of their own buildings, they can now do this against peer organisations – anywhere in the world,” reiterated IPD South Africa MD Stan Garrun.

“The IPD Code provides guidance on how to collect environmental data in a consistent way across properties and portfolios. It can be linked with other reporting methods, such as the Global Reporting Initiative,” Garrun continued.

GREEN BUILDING LINKS

At the launch of the code, Green Building Council of South Africa executive chairperson Bruce Kerswill highlighted the important links between the recently launched Green Star South Africa rating tool for office buildings, and the IPD Environment Code for South Africa.

“The Green Star tool enables a person to design a building so that it can perform efficiently. Whether it will or not depends on how it is managed in future and how the occupants use the building, and that’s where the Environment Code is the proof of the pudding as to how well the building is actually performing in use,” he said.

Essentially, the Environment Code could assess whether a new green building was in fact delivering on its promises.

The Environment Code measures the operational status of building, and further analysis of data could show where improvements could be made. The IPD has tool, such as the Eco-ledger, which could further analyse collected data.

“We hope that the South African property executives will use the code and IPD services, to better understand environmental issues, reduce harmful effects, create more sustainable estates and build transparency across the property sector,” Garrun concluded.

Edited by: Mariaan Webb

Article by: Christy van der Merwe - www.engineeringnews.co.za