Bold green building and solar energy targets for Growthpoint

Werner van Antwerpen, who heads Growthpoint’s specialised sustainability division, left, seen with Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council South Africa at Kirstenhof Office Park in Johannesburg, which is one of 23 Green Star SA certified building’s in Growthpoint’s portfolio.

Growthpoint Properties has targeted boosting its solar energy generation capacity to over 6MWp by mid-2016 to become one of the largest generators of rooftop solar power in South Africa.

It has also targeted growing its portfolio of Green Star SA certified buildings to 50, reinforcing its position as the holder of the biggest portfolio of certified green buildings in the country.

Growthpoint is South Africa’s largest REIT and a JSE ALSI Top 40 Index company. As a Platinum Founding Member of the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), Growthpoint remains on the cutting edge of environmentally responsible technologies and designs with its growing portfolio of award-winning, green-rated buildings. It has made green building, energy efficiency and reducing operational costs a key priority for the current financial year.

Norbert Sasse, CEO of Growthpoint Properties, comments: “We are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to put our environmental commitment into action and reducing the operating costs for our tenants with meaningful, quantifiable results. Our green buildings, energy efficiency initiatives and sustainable energy generation contribute positively to the environment. They also create places where businesses and communities can enjoy the benefits of quality, healthy, energy-efficient environments in which to work, shop and relax.”

Growthpoint’s environmental strategy also benefits from the latest in green leadership globally. Rudolf Pienaar, Growthpoint’s Office Divisional Director, was recently appointed to the World Green Building Council’s (World GBC’s) Board of Directors. Pienaar is also Deputy Chairman of the GBCSA.

“With the shared insight that comes from the World GBC, through the GBCSA, we can integrate the latest global perspectives on sustainability strategies into our local property industry,” says Pienaar. “That is exactly what we are doing in Growthpoint’s own portfolio.”

Werner van Antwerpen, who heads Growthpoint’s specialised sustainability division, says: “Growthpoint currently owns or co-owns the largest portfolio of Green Star SA certified buildings of any company in South Africa, with 23 buildings rated so far. Our goal is to have over 50 Growthpoint buildings certified using the GBCSA Green Star SA rating tools by the end of our 2016 financial year, on 30 June 2016.”

Growthpoint already has 28 of its standing office buildings in the process of being certified. Van Antwerpen says this process will take approximately eight months from start to finish.

He explains: “Achieving certifications for our green buildings highlights the quality of our portfolio and increases the marketability of our properties.”

In addition to building a leading portfolio of eco-friendly buildings, Growthpoint is also taking pressure off South Africa’s electricity grid with alternative energy by generating solar power at more and more of its buildings across the country. Growthpoint has conducted several investigations to identify which of its buildings are suitable for solar power electricity generation. Extensive design and analysis has been done on various buildings.

Solar capacity already installed totals 1,215kWp and is generated at its properties including, Lincoln on the Lake in Umhlanga, InfoTech in Pretoria, Waterfall Mall in Rustenburg and Bayside Mall in Cape Town.

Solar installations approved and currently underway at Growthpoint’s buildings will add a further 4,827.5kWp to the total. These include installations at the V&A Waterfront, 33 Bree and De Waterkant, Airport Industria, and The Constantia Village in Cape Town; Northgate in Johannesburg; and, Kolonnade and Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria. Much attention is also being given to get building shareholders also on board.

“Once these projects are complete, our solar rooftop generation capacity will be one of the largest in the country at over 6MWp. To put this into perspective, the RustMo1Project solar farm project in Rustenburg currently has a capacity of 7MWp,” van Antwerpen explains.

“These efforts with solar energy alone will contribute greatly to neutralising our direct carbon emissions,” says van Antwerpen. “Our commitment to green building, however, doesn’t stop here and we look forward to making an even greater impact on the environment in the future.”