It’s no surprise then, that this rising social consciousness, coupled with continuous and growing pressure being placed on the ‘built’ space to address inadequate energy resources, carbon reduction targets and tightening building energy efficiency standards continues to drive sustainable building trends in South Africa. In fact, building for sustainability and climate change mitigation has become integral in the design and construction of buildings in the country.
The philosophy of building for sustainability is being led by responsible engineering (do what we can without costing too much – show return on investment value) and responsible building (driving this through the supply/value chain). In this infographic we have depicted what underpins these aspirations, as well as four key emerging design elements that are driving such sustainable building interventions forward.
While previously it was thought to be more expensive to make the upfront capital investments to go green, volatility in both the cost and availability of power and water resource, for example, is influencing a mind-set change. Added to this, if we look at the whole lifecycle design of a building; architects, consulting engineers and sustainability consultant teams are constantly coming up with alternative and environmentally suitable building designs to offset the impact of the building on its immediate environment. Therefore, in the long-term, not only are sustainable building design adoptions financially beneficial due to reduced energy consumption, but the use of renewable and more sustainable energy resources also has the propensity to reduce the carbon emissions associated to these buildings and provide increased resilience to uncertain service delivery.
These are all significant value adds to the customer/tenant – and what benefits the customer also benefits the developer/owner – as savvier customers are also realising the benefits of being more “green” and offsetting as much of their energy and water consumption as possible given the many benefits of doing so.
The rising social consciousness agenda is having a significant influence on the economic case for developments to be built for sustainability, which can assist in increasing their marketability. What is then key is for investors, developers and their consultants and contractors to aspire to, is to incorporate “climate responsiveness” and “designing within constraint” concepts when developing buildings – to ensure that these buildings remain resilient and sustainable in an unpredictably, future context.