South Africa is fast becoming more eco-conscious, with an increasing number of residential and commercial buildings being developed with green principles in mind.
According to Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts, Green building in South Africa is growing at an unprecedented rate. The country has made significant progress in achieving greener standards in the commercial and residential sectors of the market. Green property solutions have become a noticeable trend in the construction of many buildings.
What is the green building movement?
The green building movement is the practice of creating structures that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle. This ranges from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.
South Africa’s Progress:
A recent study of industry stakeholders was conducted by think-tank Dodge Data and Analytics. Of the 13 countries that were measured, it was revealed that South Africa held the highest green construction activity in 2015 - with an estimated 41% of construction activity being green.
The total average of green construction activity amongst the 13 countries was 24%. The countries that were surveyed included both mature markets for green solutions (such as Germany and the UK), and emerging markets (such as India and Colombia).
Many South African firms believe that the green building movement will further advance in the near future, with the majority anticipating the inclusion of green solutions in more than 60% of their operations by 2018.
The benefits of green buildings:
Green buildings are fast becoming a popular choice due to the significant role it plays in creating an eco-friendly environment. Conventional buildings contribute to the cause of greenhouse gas emissions, and consume large volumes of water, which is why green buildings are considered the more sensible choice.
The Dodge study found that going green in South Africa was driven by a sense of it being ‘the right thing to do’ to ensure environmental protection. Many green building requests come from the clients themselves, suggesting that environmental concerns have become increasingly integrated into the property market.
For South African property owners, the experience of power outages and escalating costs of electricity make green building solutions such as solar power, a practical consideration.
Why going green is worth the investment:
Green solutions are costly to implement but it is an investment worth making. Green buildings are cost-effective in the long run, by limiting future operational costs.
”Green buildings are about comfortable and productive living that takes into account the realities of our environmental stresses. They are also an excellent investment: green features can add to the value of a property and make it vastly more attractive to buyers. And they are also the future: what is considered distinctly green today, will be standard in years to come” concludes Gray.