A Record Year For South Africa Green Building Certifications

GBCSA certified 166 green buildings in 2022.

By Sneha A on
8th August 2023

The Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) certified 166 green buildings in 2022, a record-breaking year for both the number of projects that registered for green building certification as well as the number of projects achieving certification.

The council revealed the figures in its 2022 annual report published on 3 August. 

By comparison, GBCSA certified 142 green buildings in 2021 and 102 in 2020.

This brings the total number of green buildings certified by the GBCSA to 933 as of the end of 2022. 

GBCSA Registrations And Certifications, 2022
GBCSA Registrations And Certifications, 2022
Source: GBCSA

The GBCSA reported that it processed more green building certifications in 2022 than any year in its history. In addition, it received a greater number of registrations of projects for certification than ever before, showing that the value of certification is being recognised within the market.

The GBCSA says that through the 933 buildings, it has certified a cumulative total of 12.5 million square metres of green build area and saved 1.3 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of power (equivalent to 91,500 households-worth of annual energy), 1.6 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide (equivalent to 395,400 cars off the road every year) and 1.2 billion litres of drinking water (equivalent to the daily water needs of more than 1.6 million people for a year). 

The council is planning to pilot a new version its Green Star New Build tool in late 2023 or early 2024. It aims to provide a clearer framework that addresses key developmental challenges including electricity and water supply, responsible supply chain management and carbon emissions, with minimum requirements for new build projects to attain.

“Version 2 of our [Green Star New Build] tool reflects the needs of a more mature market. It will be more challenging than our previous tool so as to encourage higher standards of sustainability,” Brian Unstead, the outgoing GBCSA chairman, explains in the report.

“We’re already on the lookout for new-builds to take part in our pilot programme,” adds Lisa Reynolds, GBCSA, CEO.

The GBCSA expanded its Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) certification capabilities in 2022 beyond residential developments. The council is now able to certify all typologies as well as providing certifications within the broader African continent. 

EDGE is the international green building certification system developed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). 

In June 2022, the GBCSA also launched a new Green Star Existing Building Performance Custom Industrial Pilot rating tool, which offers standardised guidelines for benchmarking industrial buildings. This framework aims to support collaboration between landlords and tenants, ultimately driving the transformation of the sector, according to the council. 

Citing the findings of the MSCI South Africa Green Annual Property Index 2022 which showed that green buildings use 4.5% less energy on average than conventional buildings, the GBCSA says that very inefficient buildings could potentially achieve around 10% savings without too much cost and effort.

“While these figures may seem modest, when you calculate the amount of energy saved per square metre across commercial spaces in the whole of the country, potentially we could reduce load shedding by a few stages,” the report says.

The MSCI findings also say that certified green offices boast lower per-square-metre usage of electricity (-11.6%) and water (-20.7%) compared to non-certified offices. 

MSCI South Africa Green Buildings Index
MSCI South Africa Green Buildings Index
Source: GBCSA annual report

The GBCSA is a non-profit organisation promoting green building and sustainability in the real estate and construction sectors. It is one of about 70 members of the World Green Building Council. 

Top photo: Green building (© Esmehelit | Dreamstime)

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