South Africa - Sandton Central which, in 2010, saw Nedbank complete its headquarters which became South Africa’s first Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) Green Star-certified building, has remained on the cutting edge of green building practices on the African continent. This has seen the business district staying firmly in line with the very latest international real estate developments.
“Building green is not only the right thing to do – it enables environmental transformation and significant social gains – but it also accelerates property values, reduces operational costs and unlocks higher rental. Partly because a green indoor environment gives tenants the chance to provide a more comfortable, healthier and productive space for their staff,” explains Grahame Cruickshanks, Managing Executive: Market Engagement at GBCSA.
“The concentration of green buildings in Sandton Central allows firms to find a space to work that is in line with their company values in the way that they provide for their staff and the environment. Offering a plethora of buildings designed and operated in line with GBCSA certifications amplify the benefits that Sandton Central already boasts as a business centre,” he adds.
Sandton Central is Africa’s financial, legal and business capital. It offers a brilliant variety of world-class retail, restaurant, hotel, residential and leisure amenities.
Along with more resource efficient buildings, Cruickshanks reveals that making a neighbourhood walkable is one of the most environmentally significant contributions that property owners can make to an area.
“Key to encouraging pedestrian movement between buildings is safety, and then shade – especially with Sandton’s hot summer sun. Safe, weather protected walking routes which facilitate convenient and comfortable access to work and living destinations mean that motorists are less likely to drive the two or three blocks as they may have done previously. The on-going saving in greenhouse gases, and contribution to a person’s health, can become quite significant,” says Cruickshanks.
“Good, active precinct management is strongly tied to the provision of safe, walkable environments in South Africa’s urban centres,” Cruickshanks elaborates.
Elaine Jack, City Improvement District (CID) Manager of Sandton Central Management District (SCMD) notes that making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals is a massive task. Green building, however, plays a key role in achieving this.
“Our desired urban future is sustainable, walkable, liveable spaces. The importance that green building places on the urban fabric between buildings leads to meaningful public benefits, including improved walkability. The high concentration of green office buildings in Sandton Central has a positive impact on the entire node,” says Jack.
Cruickshanks concurs that green buildings, their owners and occupants are role models are encouraging and driving more respectful urban environments.
Sandton Central has some of South Africa’s best transport infrastructure for trains, buses, taxis, private vehicles, pedestrians and bikes.
He says, “When property owners come together and drive active precinct management, it creates more sustainable cities. A knock-on effect of achieving a green building certification is that those involved often then become champions of the process and the impact, encouraging their teams to keep pushing the boundaries on sustainability. They assist the sustainable development sector by maintaining the demand for sustainable projects, services and products. In doing so, they set standards that then, in turn, elevate the ambition of government building codes and regulation, workforce training, and corporate strategies.”