Rating tool for SA green building sector

15 April 2013

The Green Building Council of South Africa has launched the Green Star SA – Public & Education Building Rating Tool that will allow all public spaces to be rated whether they are publicly or privately owned.

The tool, which was extensively piloted before its launch last week, will enable the GBCSA to rate buildings such as community centres, museums, libraries and public transport terminals, as well as schools and tertiary education facilities.

“Green Star SA establishes a common language for the industry and importantly, recognises and rewards excellence in environmental leadership,” chief executive of the GBCSA, Brian Wilkinson, said in a statement.

“Rating tools have been instrumental in marking the mainstream take-up of green building practices in a number of markets worldwide, and South Africa is following this trend.”

The new tool works the same way as other Green Star SA rating tools, by examining the environmental attributes of new or renovated buildings.

‘Demand for more property sector coverage’

“What’s exciting about the Public & Education Building rating tool in particular is that we are now seeing a move into a much broader range of buildings, where government will play a significant role,” Wilkinson said.

It was piloted on various projects across the country to work out any hiccups, including the Grahamstown National English Literary Museum (NELM) and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Business School in the Eastern Cape.

Some green initiatives assessed for the rating at NELM included a large green roof over the archives for temperature control, rainwater collection and reuse for toilet flushing and a live metering display and educational posters at the building’s entrance.

NMMU’s green initiatives included rain water harvesting, local sourcing of major building materials and recycling 70% of waste generated during construction.

“There is the constant management of the Green Star SA process during the design stages, and specialist input into specifications and design items to ensure that the intention of the project to meet the Green Star SA requirements is achieved,” said engineer at independent design firm Arup in charge of the NMMU project, Andy Kopelowitz.

“The ongoing strategic expansion of available rating tools by the GBCSA is being driven by the demand for increased coverage of the property sector and the acknowledgement of unique environmental issues attributed to specific building types,” said GBCSA’s technical executive, Manfred Braune.

The Public & Education Building rating tool is available in digital format for the first time, as well as a free download to members and students of GBCSA. Non-members will pay R700 for the manual.

SAinfo reporter