Sandton Central’s private sector green building leadership contributes to better public spaces

Posted On Thursday, 25 July 2019 19:01 Published by
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From 2010, when Nedbank completed its headquarters on the corner of Rivonia Road and Maude Street to become the country’s first Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) Green Star-certified building, Sandton Central has remained on the cutting edge of green building practices on the African continent.

 -ELAINE-JACK-

This places Sandton Central firmly in line with the very latest international real estate developments.

Globally, evidence that the number of green buildings keeps doubling every three years proves that their advantages are too valuable to ignore.

It’s not surprising that property investors want more energy, resource and environmental efficiencies in the design, construction and operational phases of their projects - even in a low-growth economic environment. The MSCI and GBCSA’s joint green index can verifiably show green buildings deliver a better return on investment than non-green buildings – almost double the return.

Green architecture and materials used in the structure, services and envelope of any building contribute to its resource-efficient operations. Equally, green interiors create high-performance tenant spaces, characterised as healthy, productive places to work; they are less costly to operate and maintain and have a reduced environmental footprint.

Multiple studies demonstrate that improved indoor environmental quality leads to more productive and healthy workers. The fruits of the workers’ productivity, as well as a reduction in absenteeism, leads to financial benefits for business.

“Building green is not only the right thing to do – it enables environmental transformation and significant social gains – but it also accelerates property values, reduces operational costs and unlocks higher rental. Partly because a green indoor environment gives tenants the chance to provide a more comfortable, healthier and productive space for their staff,” explains Grahame Cruickshanks, Managing Executive: Market Engagement at GBCSA.

“The concentration of green buildings in Sandton Central allows firms to find a space to work that is in line with their company values in the way that they provide for their staff and the environment. Offering a plethora of buildings designed and operated in line with GBCSA certifications amplify the benefits that Sandton Central already boasts as a business centre,” he adds.

Sandton Central is Africa’s financial, legal and business capital. It offers a brilliant variety of world-class retail, restaurant, hotel, residential and leisure amenities.

Besides their financial advantages, an important benefit for any well-managed district or city is that green building doesn’t only have positive impacts within the boundaries of a specific property, but also considers its immediate surroundings.

Along with more resource efficient buildings, Cruickshanks reveals that making a neighbourhood walkable is one of the most environmentally significant contributions that property owners can make to an area.

“Key to encouraging pedestrian movement between buildings is safety, and then shade – especially with Sandton’s hot summer sun. Safe, weather protected walking routes which facilitate convenient and comfortable access to work and living destinations mean that motorists are less likely to drive the two or three blocks as they may have done previously. The ongoing saving in greenhouse gases, and contribution to a person’s health, can become quite significant,” says Cruickshanks.

“Good, active precinct management is strongly tied to the provision of safe, walkable environments in South Africa’s urban centres,” Cruickshanks elaborates.

Elaine Jack, City Improvement District (CID) Manager of Sandton Central Management District (SCMD) notes that making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals is a massive task. Green building, however, plays a key role in achieving this.

“Our desired urban future is sustainable, walkable, liveable spaces. The importance that green building places on the urban fabric between buildings leads to meaningful public benefits, including improved walkability. The high concentration of green office buildings in Sandton Central has a positive impact on the entire node,” says Jack.

Cruickshanks concurs that green buildings, their owners and occupants are role models are encouraging and driving more respectful urban environments.

Sandton Central has some of South Africa’s best transport infrastructure for trains, buses, taxis, private vehicles, pedestrians and bikes.

He says, “When property owners come together and drive active precinct management, it creates more sustainable cities. A knock-on effect of achieving a green building certification is that those involved often then become champions of the process and the impact, encouraging their teams to keep pushing the boundaries on sustainability. They assist the sustainable development sector by maintaining the demand for sustainable projects, services and products. In doing so, they set standards that then, in turn, elevate the ambition of government building codes and regulation, workforce training, and corporate strategies.”

Last modified on Thursday, 25 July 2019 19:13

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