The Green Building Council receives great market support for its retail rating tool
Following the successful launch of the Green Star SA environmental rating system for office buildings last year, the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) recently began working on the 2nd in the suite of Green Star SA rating tools – for retail buildings/shopping centres.

The Green Star SA tools set standards and benchmarks to determine what comprises a “green building”. Developers and owners can use the tool to ensure they have considered all aspects related to green and ultimately have their building certified as a 4, 5 or 6-star Green Star building.

A Technical Working Group of experienced industry experts has been assembled on a voluntary basis to develop the tool. They are joined by technical consultants, the WSP Group, as well as international sustainability consultant, Michelle Malanca.

The GBCSA develops rating tools according to market demand and raises funding specifically for each tool. Interest in green building and sustainability hasn’t slowed, despite the economic downturn, and feedback from the property industry indicated a demand for a retail tool.

Companies funding a Green Star SA tool enjoy a high profile and participate in the Technical Working Group that develops the tool. Each tool costs of the order of R1.5million to develop, and funding for the retail tool has been made available by a distinguished group of stakeholders:

Liberty Properties and Pareto Limited, two of the biggest shopping centre owners in South Africa, have thrown their weight behind the tool. “This strong endorsement from the mainstream retail portfolio owners is very encouraging, as they represent some of the power players in the industry, who can effect change most rapidly due to their size and influence,” explains Nicola Douglas, CEO of the GBCSA.

The South African Cities Network (SACN), an organisation representing the nine largest cities in South Africa, provides an important link to municipal government and ensures their involvement and knowledge of the process.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has implemented a Climate Change Mitigation Programme in South Africa on Energy Efficiency in the Building Sector and to this end has dedicated resources to assisting the GBCSA in its rating tool development programme.

“The SDC recognises the importance of the building sector in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and is supporting the Green Building Council of SA in its efforts to transform the way buildings are designed, built and used. We hope to have a long and mutually rewarding relationship as we roll out rating tools for the different building sectors. With our common goal of combating climate change, this is a powerful partnership,” comments Bruce Kerswill, Chair of the GBCSA.

This combination of funders is a great example of how South African and international business, government and civil society are combining their efforts to address our most pressing issues. Through the Green Building Council initiative, the resources and experience of all these players, both local and international, can be combined to create market-driven solutions.

The GBCSA hopes to launch the PILOT version of the Green Star SA – Retail tool at its 2nd annual Convention & Exhibition, which takes place at the CTICC from 21-23 October, and will feature case studies on some Green Star rated retail projects from Australia, amongst numerous other topics and presentations.

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