Growthpoint champions game-changing new GBCSA industrial property green rating tool

Published on: 08/11/2021

Growthpoint Properties is the proud 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 the country, and has the potential to radically improve sustainability in the industrial property 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. There are no government regulations requiring green building certification in South Africa, it is voluntary. Green rating tools are proven to have direct impact on increasing the number of certified new and existing green buildings, and delivering positive environmental impacts for the country.

Development of the new tool has commenced after three years of preliminary work in light of the complexity that characterises the industrial property sector. Industrial properties often 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, and be used by businesses from massive multinationals to 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,” says 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 greening and certifying buildings. Industrial buildings, such as warehouses, manufacturing plants and logistics facilities, play a key role in the smooth running of national and regional economies. It’s 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,” says GBCSA Head of Technical, Georgina Smit.

Growthpoint is sole sponsor of the new GBCSA tool, which will be made available to the entire SA 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.

Cruickshanks adds, “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 EBP tool supports consistency across sectors.”

Growthpoint continues to receive demand from tenants for cost-optimised, green space that supports their own carbon neutral targets. A benchmarking tool supports its asset management team in improving and optimizing 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,” remarks Errol Taylor, Head of Asset Management: Industrial at Growthpoint Properties.

Taylor confirms 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.”