Inspiring a Green Building legacy in Africa

Posted On Friday, 12 September 2014 11:35 Published by
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By 2030 an expected 40% of Africans will be living in cities. How do we build an African Urban Green Legacy?

Nyami Mandindi

This was the question posed by Nyami Mandindi, CEO & Business Line Leader Southern & Eastern Africa of engineering consultants, Royal HaskoningDHV and a guest speaker at the Green Leader Network Dinner at the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) Convention 2014. The 7th Annual Green Building Convention is being held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, from the 10 to 12 September 2014. The theme this year is "it's time for Africa" and we are "bringing it home".

"Urbanization in Africa can steer development into two distinct but completely diametrically opposite scenarios; into a negative spiral, compounding problems on top of each other or it can be the driving force for the development of efficient and smart living 'ecosystems' that will flourish" expounded Mandindi.

Royal HaskoningDHV is the lead consultant of the Existing Building Performance Rating Tool for the GBCSA which is currently in its pilot phase.

"We are encouraged that 60 existing buildings have been registered so far in 2014 for the Rating Tool pilot - considering that 50 certified new buildings were registered over the past seven years with the GBCSA. If this trend continues, development in Africa will certainly be on the high road.

Mandindi said that the most obvious place to start building an African urban green legacy is with this tool as it has enormous potential to rapidly expand the green building legacy beyond the tip of the continent into Africa as it outstrips many of the new building rating tools.

"The tool enables Green Leaders in the built environment to take any existing building stock in any condition in Africa and place it on a green journey. It is designed for local conditions, is easy to understand, implement and once applied, progress on the building's green journey is easily managed and monitored.

"Adoption of the tool increases collaboration between tenants and landlords in occupied buildings to improve energy and water consumption and minimise waste from current baselines while setting new benchmarks of environmental performance. It is an opportunity for Africa to use its resources efficiently and address climate change – buildings contribute more than 30% of all carbon dioxide emissions" pointed out Mandindi.

Statistics from the GBCSA show that buildings are responsible for a whopping 40% of energy consumption, 40% of solid waste generation and 12% of fresh water consumption, outstripping the energy, transport and industry sectors combined.

"Adoption of this tool can help reverse the trend of increased urbanization pressurizing energy and water resources as well as reducing the generation of solid waste" she said.

Mandindi believes the tool has incredible leverage potential in accelerating green building awareness through fledgling Green Building Councils that are being established from throughout Africa noting that while there are but a handful of green buildings beyond South Africa borders, this tool will accelerate uptake and break the myth of going green equating to greater costs.

"We commend those property owners who are pioneers in greening existing buildings. They are Green Leaders and provide a platform for advocacy of green buildings into the rest of the continent.

Last modified on Saturday, 13 September 2014 20:50

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