Industrial buildings play a key logistical role in the smooth running of national and regional economies, and it’s vital that these assets are future-proofed for the impacts of a changing climate and a low carbon economy.
As a founding member of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), Growthpoint Properties has always been dedicated to creating a sustainable built environment. And, as a leading international property company with an extensive industrial portfolio, we recognise the importance of future-proofing this sector and achieving its carbon-reduction potential.
Towards the end of last year, we announced our commitment to the development of the pilot Green Star rating tool for existing industrial buildings. This tool will be a first for the industry and the country and can drastically change the industrial property sector.
The GBCSA has been engaging with the industrial sector for over three years to develop an industrial tool. Progress on the pilot tool has been steady, but the complexities of this sector, largely due to the vast differences in how industrial buildings are utilised, have made it more of a challenge than the commercial rating tools already in place.
The data collected during this first phase of the project has assisted in creating the necessary baseline standards to which industrial buildings will be measured. Certification criteria for the new rating tool will include the essential resource efficiencies related to energy, water and waste. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions will play a significant role in linking climate change to green building certification, and, as with other rating tools, a holistic approach will be taken to include an appropriate focus on indoor environmental quality, building management criteria critical to industrial building operations and innovation points amongst others.
Green building certification is currently voluntary in South Africa, and there are no government incentives for developers to pursue that route. However, the demand for green rating tools directly impacts their development. While the appetite for an industrial green certification is currently not comparable to that of the office sector, there is a strong belief that this demand will grow.
Larger multinationals also face increasing pressure on greater clarity and transparency regarding their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. Through this new industrial certification, we will be able to assist them in demonstrating their commitment to sustainability to their own stakeholders and also aligns with Growthpoint’s own ESG strategy.
As we embark on our journey to carbon neutral by 2050, it’s vital that our industrial assets are future-proofed for the impacts of a changing climate. It’s also important to consider the rising costs of energy, water, waste and emissions, as well as delivering a range of other benefits. Industrial buildings offer a head-start benefit when it comes to greening, as the typical building form lends itself to excellent opportunities for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installation.
We expect the buildings participating in the pilot study to be certified towards the end of this year. As a result, clients will have the assurance that their facilities are compliant, sustainable, and efficient while their staff are more productive in an environment that promotes health and well-being.