Robin Lockhart-Ross, Executive Head at Nedbank Property Finance.
Some of South Africa’s best known property developments, including the V&A Waterfront, have seen significant environmental and financial improvements since their adoption of the Green Building Council of South Africa’s (GBCSA) Existing Building Performance (EBP) Tool – the development of which was sponsored by Nedbank Property Finance.
Speaking at the ‘Greening Existing Buildings’ panel discussion that took place today at Summer Place in Hyde Park, Robin Lockhart-Ross, Executive Head at Nedbank Property Finance, says the tool, which was developed in 2013 and piloted successfully on select properties over the past year, illustrates the value-add for owners and investors of commercial property.
GBCSA’s current suite of Green Star SA rating tools focus largely on the design and construction of new buildings and major refurbishments, which make up about 2% of building stock. Nedbank, a key member of the GBCSA’s network, sponsored the development of the new EBP tool so that operational and management performance of buildings in the remaining 98% of stock could be assessed on an ongoing basis.
“Corporate commitment plays a crucial role in greening existing building portfolios. The GBCSA assists by providing tools like the Existing Building Performance tool and Energy and Water Benchmarking tool that facilitate an intimate understanding of a building’s consumption and overall performance so that stakeholders are able to manage more efficient portfolios and reduce operating costs. With the current energy crisis and the significant focus on environmental sustainability, it’s time for all of us to make a change,” says Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA.
“The EBP tool is expected to return environmental and financial savings for property owners who use it to incorporate green features in their existing buildings, whether this be to increase energy efficiency, improve design elements or educate tenants,” says Lockhart-Ross.
Pilot study success stories
Of the 50 projects currently being piloted by the GBCSA EPB Tool, 11 of these are Nedbank buildings. Measured by the GBCSA’s Energy and Water Benchmarking Tool, which is a component of the EBP Tool, both of Nedbank’s Menlyn and Ridgeside buildings have already achieved 40% lower than average water consumption than non-green buildings of similar size, and 11 and 20% lower energy consumption than the SANS 204 benchmark respectively.
A key success story of the pilot phase, highlighted at the panel discussion, is the V&A Waterfront, jointly owned by Growthpoint Property Holdings and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). One of South Africa’s top shopping destinations, contributing R33.4 billion to SA’s GDP in 2014, the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre and BP Building are currently being rated using the GBCSA EBP Tool.
Some of the measures that the Waterfront has implemented include installing eight solar rooftops with solar panels for solar energy savings, and drip-feed irrigation that has resulted in 60% less water used than in the previous system.
Existing tenants, also implementing such features, are enjoying the results. Uwe Koetter Jeweller, a tenant at the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre, has achieved a positive ROI from its sustainability efforts that include the implementation of LED lighting and 100% recycled glass. The reduced carbon footprint, energy consumption and heat load is expected to result in R185 000 savings for the business over the next 10 years.
Another green building of note is Black River Park, a modern and diverse business park in Observatory, Cape Town, which lets 75 000m² of space to some of the country’s leading brands.
By adapting to more energy-efficient lighting and green break areas that include a vegetable garden and a fruit orchard, Black River Park received a 5 Star rating using the EBP Tool. Management also engaged in tenant education seminars, for which the tool provides all materials.
Black River Park houses one of the largest rooftop-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Africa, which is able to generate just under 2-million kWH annually and transmits electricity back into the City of Cape Town’s distribution network.
Recognised by the GBCSA as a building ‘on the Journey to a Better, Greener Building’ and having achieved a 3 Star Green Star Existing Building Performance PILOT Rating, WSP House – currently occupied by WSP Group Africa (Pty) Ltd in Bryanston, Johannesburg – is making headway in its green efforts.
With the objective of identifying features and operations currently employed by WSP House, the main outcomes were to market occupants as environmentally responsible individuals and as a business where sustainability continues to play an important role.
Some of the measures that were undertaken include Green Cleaning Performance (developing a compliant Green Cleaning Policy); an ongoing monitoring and metering strategy to track any major energy and water consumption in the building; and ensuring wise energy consumption.
“As one of the top financiers of green buildings in South Africa, we want to ensure that buildings are designed, built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way,” says Lockhart-Ross. “This is also central to Nedbank’s Fair Share 2030 approach for ensuring that economic, social and environmental challenges that threaten society’s long-term success are addressed through goals that encompass affordable energy services while containing carbon emissions, amongst others.”
“For us, the tool provides a benchmark to assist us in becoming greener – and helps in continuing our journey to doing business in a sustainable manner. We are confident about the tool’s long-term benefits, which includes acting as a guideline for future investment decisions for the bank,” says Charl de Kock, Head of Group Property Services at Nedbank.
“I commend and thank our sponsors, Nedbank Property Finance, which helped to make this tool possible by demonstrating green building leadership and making smart green business decisions too. The average green office building saves 34% in electricity consumption compared to a standard building. Green buildings not only save the planet, they’re really good investments for their owners and allow all stakeholders to do well by doing good,” concludes Wilkinson.