Green Building Council brings IFC's EDGE to South Africa's residential property market

At the launch of the EDGE rating system – a new green building certification programme for the residential property market in South Africa, were; from left; Stefan Janser of the National Home Builder Registration Council (NHBRC); Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA); NHBRC CEO, Jeffrey Mahachi; and, Sabin Basnyat of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

A new green building certification programme has been brought to South Africa thanks to the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) and its partnership with World Bank Group member, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and local rollout partners the National Home Builder Registration Council (NHBRC). 

The GBCSA announced in Cape Town today (15 September 2014) the launch of the “EDGE” rating system, to be utilised for homes in South Africa. The launch comes in the wake of the GBCSA’s hugely successful My Green Home education and awareness campaign for the greening of homes, in addition to a detailed market research study jointly led by IFC and the GBCSA on the potential need and impact of EDGE in the South African market.

The announcement caps the conclusion of the GBCSA’s 7th Annual Convention last week at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

EDGE, which stands for “Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies,” seeks to help facilitate a transformation of the property sector in rapidly urbanising countries by influencing design considerations. To achieve the EDGE standard, minimum savings of 20% energy, water, and embodied energy in materials must be met.

“This entry into the housing market is another major milestone for us and illustrates our commitment to bolstering and promoting green building in all sectors of property development in South Africa. The groundbreaking partnership between the GBCSA and IFC will see South Africa become the first country to operate the EDGE certification program for homes on behalf of IFC,” said Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA.

“This partnership puts South Africa in a leading position globally to test and apply a simple, easy to use green rating software for homes at scale and will extend the GBCSA’s impact of trying to transform the way that residences are built. We can utilise EDGE to target the largest sector of the property market in the country. The commercial office sector is already covered by the GBCSA’s Green Star SA rating tools, while the residential property development sector will now be supported by EDGE,” he adds.

“Built on a user-friendly interface, the EDGE tool also assists in determining at a high level the financial viability of green building initiatives on a project early in the design stage. Its aim is to reduce energy and water consumption, calculating upfront costs and potential operational savings,” explains Wilkinson.

“We are delighted to be able to leverage the systems and structures of the NHBRC as our local rollout partner. With their support and the launch of the EDGE programme in South Africa, we foresee a groundswell of greener and more sustainable residential developments in the country.

“EDGE will be available in South Africa for the first time and this means that green residential developments can now be recognised for their efforts. We hope to make a big positive impact on not just more green residential developments, but also for an increased number of ordinary South Africans to look at innovative ways to make their homes greener and less impactful on the environment,” he adds.

“The launch of EDGE in South Africa is a hugely exciting development that affords us an opportunity to benchmark ourselves against our international counterparts who have already introduced services related to energy efficiency and green buildings. This will also benefit housing consumers, builders and developers as it will transform how homes are designed and built in the country. We are proud to be the local rollout partner with the GBCSA on this,” said Dr. Jeffrey Mahachi, NHBRC’s Head of Centre for Research and Housing Innovation.

“The goal of IFC’s EDGE programme is to help build capacity for developers, banks, and governments to mainstream resource-efficient buildings in rapidly growing economies around the world,” says Marcene Broadwater, IFC’s Global Head of Climate Strategy and Business Development.

“With EDGE, builders can assess the most cost-effective ways of bringing green features into their designs, financiers can offer better terms to developers and green mortgages for homeowners, and governments can do their part through incentives and improved regulations.”

Prashant Kapoor, IFC’s Principal Green Buildings Specialist and the inventor of EDGE, says: “South Africa was clearly the right choice for the debut of the EDGE programme at a national level. Here, buildings account for 48% of electricity consumption, with 37% of that amount attributable to the residential sector. We hope to make significant strides in remedying this pattern over the years ahead by working strategically with GBCSA on realising the potential of the residential market.

“The GBCSA team have already proven to be excellent partners through their broad reach, superior technical knowledge of the marketplace, and reputation for excellence. We look forward to applying our experiences in South Africa to our EDGE target markets, which include such countries as Costa Rica, Indonesia, and India.”

Manfred Braune, Chief Technical Officer at the GBCSA says: “EDGE will initially be launched as a programme for new homes being designed and built. The GBCSA anticipates mostly large residential developments, which roll out free-standing homes, will target certification using the rating tool, and less so apartment buildings and single home owner builders that can also use EDGE.

Braune explains: “EDGE has been adapted for the local South African context, especially in light of the SANS 10400 Part XA energy efficiency building code. This code was promulgated for all new buildings in 2011. EDGE will undergo final adjustments with some industry input and review before being released to a few pilot projects later this year, and launched to the market early in 2015.

He adds: “Medium to large residential projects currently at concept design stage that are interested in piloting certification using the EDGE rating tool should register their interest with the GBCSA via the email address

“Leading design professionals working in the design and construction of homes will be invited to participate in the Technical Working Group in late 2014 that will be created as a sounding board during the review and final adaptation of the EDGE rating tool for the South Africa market.”

Since 2009, IFC has invested more than $600 million in green buildings, including homes, commercial buildings, hotels, and hospitals, both directly and through financial partners. IFC has also provided regulatory advice to the governments of Colombia, Panama, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. As part of its climate strategy, IFC has developed EDGE to encourage resource-efficient building design by proving the business case for building green. For more information, visit