Property Industry tackles sustainable development

Posted On Tuesday, 17 June 2014 15:32 Published by
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Can the South African property industry really make a difference by adopting sustainable practices?

Maurice Mdlolo

The closing of the 46th annual South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) convention which took place in Cape Town last week. The forum brought together some of the most influential national and international commercial property professionals from around the globe.

Maurice Mdlolo, Managing Director, Liberty Properties comments, "This year's event drove home the concept of 'Making a Difference' and there is no doubt that this is an incredibly fitting theme for an industry as dynamic as the property industry."

Mdlolo goes on to say, "Our industry has a multitude of opportunities available to anyone in the industry wanting to positively make a difference. One such way in which we can make a measurable and lasting difference, not only for ourselves but also for future generations, is to engage on sustainability. We need all industry professionals to be environmentally responsible."

When it comes to commercial developments, sustainability can be integrated into nearly every facet of design, with specific focus on ensuring the reduction of waste and, importantly, lowering the consumption of natural resources such as energy and water.

Borne out of a need for green building practices, the industry has developed a Green Star environmental rating system, designed specifically to assist the property industry to reduce the environmental impact of buildings. The system is all-encompassing and includes design, construction and interior fittings.

One such example of how the industry has brought this to life is Atrium on 5th, in Sandton, Johannesburg, owned by Liberty Group and Pareto. Liberty Properties is responsible for the rejuvenation of this 32-year old building and by incorporating various environmentally sustainable attributes, the project has achieved a 4-Star Green Star SA Office Design and As-Built rating.

By working to achieve a globally recognised rating on current developments, not only is the property industry playing an important role by significantly reducing the negative impact that a new building has on the environment, but property developers and managers can use green leases to maximise the sustainable elements for their tenants.

The combined efforts of the tenant and the property manager not only reduce the impact of everyday living and working on the environment, they can also lower operating costs for the tenant due to the savings on water and electricity.

"With the rate at which the industry is developing, we have an important role to play in driving sustainability. We need to ensure that with every refurbishment or new development we create, sustainable features are integrated not only into the design, but also into the construction. This will warrant the implementation of sustainability, ensuring we really are making a difference," Mdlolo concludes.

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