At last! Government has taken a stand against SA’s high rate of carbon emissions and the SA Bureau of Standards (SABS) has published a set of minimum standards for environmental sustainability in new and refurbished buildings.
SANS 10400 part XA essentially tackles how buildings are designed and built by providing guidelines for minimum requirements for aspects such as glazing, insulation, shading, orientation and building services, including air-conditioning, hot water and lighting. The standard gives a few options for proving compliance, which will need to be substantiated with any building plan that is submitted to a municipality for plan approval.
The standard refers in many areas to the SANS 204 guidelines, which have been available in draft format since 2008. Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA), says that the organisation fully supports the new standard and has been using SANS 204 as a minimum energy requirement for projects wishing to seek a Green Star SA certification – as well as using it for the basis of the reference building used in the energy modelling required in Green Star SA.
However, the new SANS standard does not address existing buildings and this is an area in which the GBCSA hopes to play a significant role through its Operational Energy & Water Benchmarking Tool, which is being developed for a mid-2012 launch.
All projects that are currently being designed but have not yet been submitted for municipal approval must understand and apply the SANS 10400 part XA standards. Copies of both pieces of SANS legislation can be bought online from the SABS. A bonus for doing so is that accredited persons can apply to the SA Revenue Service for a tax refund in terms of the National Energy Act, 2008,
There are Regulations on the Allowance for Energy Efficiency Savings (Government Gazette no. 34596). Interested parties need to register with the SA National Energy Development Institute and then appoint a measurement and verification professional to compile a report on the energy efficiency savings that they have achieved.
Even with this legislation, SA is still nearly 40 years behind countries like Germany, which introduced similar standards in 1975. For more on greening the built environment, visit the KZN branch of the Master Builders’ Association.