As green building principles increasingly take hold in South Africa we are seeing more and more of our ageing building stock being revitalised and retrofitted. A recently completed office building demonstrates an innovative merging of old and new as an existing building was completely re-developed along sustainable principles

Wednesday, 04 July 2012 11:36

Debate on land reform fuels uncertainty

The debates around land reform policy and the position likely to be taken by government and other bodies, continues to fuel uncertainties in the property industry. This is the view of the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) in response to yesterday’s release of government’s green paper on land reform

Jerry Yudelson, a global green building thought leader, and a man who has been hailed as the ‘Godfather of Green’, will be sharing his knowledge and insight on sustainability at the 5th Annual Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) Convention and Exhibition, taking place at the CTICC in October

Recently promulgated SANS 10400-XA, which regulates the minimum standards required in terms of energy efficiency in new buildings, will push up the cost of new developments but will result in long term energy savings  for end users.

And while developers such as Rabie wholeheartedly welcomed the new legislation as it was imperative to find ways to reduce the carbon footprint and increase sustainability of development, it does present the industry with new and additional challenges, which would inevitably increase building costs that in turn would have to be passed on to the consumer

The Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA) will host some of the most influential green leaders from around the globe in October 2013.  

As experienced in the United Kingdom, the introduction of green leases, tends to stimulate healthy debate, predominantly around the allocation of costs for environmental improvements. The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has co-developed the Green Lease Toolkit together with the South African Property Owners’ Association (SAPOA) and this was was officially announced and launched at the 44th SAPOA International Convention & Property Exhibition, in Durban on the 30th of May 2012

Property developers need to increasingly consider developing hybrid buildings that are able to run off a hybrid-designed base, managing a mixture of technologies - including traditional and next-generation energy sources - just as vehicle manufacturers are successfully doing with the increasing number of hybrid models coming off assembly lines.

This is according to Org Geldenhuys, managing director of property development and management company, Abacus DIVISIONS. “Environmentally friendly buildings are becoming the vogue – and this trend will continue, ultimately making this building style the mainstream choice. Property developers need to be cognisant of this fact, and be aware that retrofitting conventional buildings that are not built as hybrids – or as green-potential buildings – is a very expensive task.

“Buildings,” he said, “need to be run off a hybrid energy solution – one that, for instance, is able to intelligently make use of solar and wind power, as well as normal Eskom electricity. But if developers believe it is important to go the hybrid route, this should be designed and installed  from the beginning. Retrofitting buildings to include these different technologies is not really a viable option.”

Geldenhuys said there are an array of energy sources that need to be considered when developing a property, or office park, including generators, solar power, wind power, hydro power and Eskom power. “All these various forms of energy need to be considered, and potentially harnessed, in all modern-day buildings. “

The Porsche Cayenne successfully embodies the hybrid principle:

Commenting further on the successes of the “hybrid approach” championed by some motor manufacturers, Geldenhuys said a “good example” has been successfully embodied by Porsche in its Porsche Cayenne range. The Cayenne SUV comes with the parallel full hybrid drive – for lower fuel consumption on the road. However, on the other side of the coin, it also comes with more power for the race track in the form of the front-axle hybrid with flywheel accumulator in the new 911 GT3 R Hybrid. These two interpretations bring with it an overall efficiency solution, while still maintaining the look and feel of the Porsche brand. 

Geldenhuys said the Porsche Cayenne is a “working example” of just how a hybrid energy approach can work successfully – “on the ground”.

“The same approach can be manifested successfully when it comes to buildings. It is the way of the future.”

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