Growthpoint pilots new GBCSA industrial property green rating tool

Errol Taylor, Head of Asset Management: Industrial at Growthpoint Properties.

Growthpoint Properties has announced that it is the sponsor of a new Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) rating tool. The pilot Green Star Existing Building Performance (EBP) rating tool for existing industrial buildings is a first for the industry and South Africa, with the potential to radically improve sustainability in the industrial real estate sector.

The pilot industrial EBP tool is being launched a decade after the GBCSA’s well-recognised and adopted Office EBP rating tool, which Growthpoint also sponsored. While there are no government regulations requiring green building certification in South Africa (it is voluntary), green rating tools have proven to have a direct impact on increasing the number of certified new and existing green buildings and delivering positive environmental impacts for South Africa.

Development of the new tool has commenced after three years of preliminary work due to the complexity that characterises the industrial property sector. Industrial properties have a single tenant whose operations significantly impact how their buildings function. This can vary widely from heavy manufacturing to high-tech pharmaceutical and logistics warehousing to showrooms being used by businesses to multinationals and small local operators. The tool’s application to existing buildings makes it particularly high-impact – for each new development there are thousands of existing ones.

Growthpoint is proud to partner with the GBCSA and the property sector once again in creating this valuable green building certification tool. As a founding member of the GBCSA, Growthpoint Properties is a committed advocate for a more sustainable built environment. We believe this tool will add tremendous value for industrial properties”, commented Head of Sustainability and Utilities at Growthpoint Properties, Grahame Cruickshanks.

Certification criteria for the new rating tool will include energy, water, and waste efficiency. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions will play a key role in linking climate change to green building certification, which adopts a holistic approach that includes indoor environmental quality, building management criteria for industrial building operations and innovative solutions.

There is a strong case for green certified commercial buildings. It is the responsible thing to do, and the economic returns on investments now outweigh the capital outlay for green and certifying buildings”, said Georgina Smit, GBCSA Head of Technical.

Industrial buildings, such as warehouses, manufacturing plants and logistics facilities, play a key role in the smooth running of national and regional economies. It is vital that these assets are future-proofed for the impacts of a changing climate and the rising costs of energy, water, waste, and emissions, as well as delivering a range of other benefits”.

Growthpoint is the sole sponsor of the new GBCSA tool, which will be made available to the entire South African property industry. The company is also contributing datasets from its portfolio of industrial buildings for the process of establishing baseline performance for the tool, which is currently underway.

For Growthpoint, green building certification and performance benchmarking facilitates bottom-up learnings on efficiency and costs as well as top-down learnings for sustainability, accessing financial products, delivering our ESG strategy, and moving closer to our recently announced target for all Growthpoint’s buildings to operate at net-zero carbon by 2050. Growthpoint’s SA portfolio includes assets in all three traditional commercial property sectors, so applying a consistent approach to energy and water management and data collection can be challenging. The new industrial EPP tool supports consistency across sectors”.

Growthpoint continues to receive demand from its tenants for cost-optimised, green space that supports their own carbon neutral targets. A benchmarking tool supports its asset management team in improving and optimising industrial properties. Added to that, typical industrial buildings are well suited for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installations and this new industrial rating tool points to the buildings where this can be done for the biggest impacts.

There is increasing demand from tenants, especially international businesses, for green buildings with net-zero carbon impact. We work closely with them to achieve their environmental objectives, and the new GBCSA Industrial EBP tool will certainly support Growthpoint and our tenants in demonstrating our commitment to sustainability”, remarked Errol Taylor, Head of Asset Management: Industrial at Growthpoint Properties.

Taylor confirmed that Growthpoint has registered five industrial buildings for Green Star EBP certification, a process that should be completed by end-2022. “Once certified, our intention is to offer a portfolio of industrial buildings that meet best practice benchmarks across a range of categories. Clients can be assured that their facilities are compliant, sustainable, and efficient.”