Global research consultancy Frost & Sullivan (F&S) noted that while green building practices continued to gain momentum in South Africa, the sector still faced challenges, including a misconception of the costs involved in green design and construction, and a lack of appropriate policy and legislation.
However, F&S building technologies programme manager David Winter added that these challenges were not likely to act as constraints for long, as consumers' environmental awareness and interest was increasing, and corporate tenants and residential homeowners were demanding green initiatives in the design, construction and operation of buildings. F&S said that builders were increasingly seeking to design and implement green practices, and companies were seeking to enhance their corporate social responsibility and market differentiation, and found that green buildings provided a way to meet the expectations of socially-aware stakeholders, and respond to the effects of the built environment on the natural environment.
In spite of the upswing in the general awareness of the market, F&S maintained that South Africa lacked the policy, legislation and financial support that impelled companies to adopt green practices over the entire lifecycle of a building. "International markets that have achieved rapid and sustained growth have done so on the back of significant legislative influence that requires companies to comply with green building standards. They have also been motivated by rebates and discounts to adopt green initiatives," stated Winter. Currently, South Africa had only the South African National Standards 204 building codes for energy efficiency, to which compliance was voluntary.These codes were expected to be introduced into the National Building Regulations during 2010, requiring all new construction projects to meet a minimal level of energy efficiency.
Read the full article and more about green building in South Africa on www.gbcsa.org.za