Green buildings to address socio-economic priorities in SA and other developing countries
Bruce Kerswill, Executive Chairman of the GBCSA and the
Vice-Chairman of the World GBC.
The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), in
conjunction with the World Green Building Council (WGBC), has
announced that they are developing a framework and new rating tool
category for green buildings that will make "green" certification
ratings even more relevant to the unique circumstances of
The Social and Economic Development framework and category, when
completed, will feature an innovative set of benchmarks that,
when applied primarily to the design and construction of green
buildings in developing countries, will address societal challenges
such as poverty, unemployment, inequality, lack of education and
skills, and poor health.
"By expanding the focus of green buildings - to include broader
socio-economic impacts, the GBCSA and the World GBC hopes to
strengthen the relevance of a Green Star rated building in the
context of development priorities in South Africa and
internationally," explains Bruce Kerswill, the Executive Chairman
of the GBCSA and the Vice-Chairman of the World GBC.
Moving beyond a 'green' focus to include broader
The concept of sustainability usually spans three factors:
social, economic and environmental. Most green building rating
systems have understandably focused exclusively on environmental
impacts so far, but there is an increasing interest in the
inclusion of social and economic impacts as well - especially in
developing countries which have to address issues of meeting
"The socio-economic framework to be created will concentrate on
the factors seen as the biggest challenges in developing countries,
and which can most readily be measured and included in rating
tools," explains project manager, Sarah Rushmere of the GBCSA.
International framework to be 'prototyped' in
The WorldGBC sees this as an important initiative that will help
address the needs of all its developing country members. Once
the international framework is created, then a 'prototype'
socio-economic category will initially be developed specifically
for Green Star South Africa, but will be adaptable to other leading
international green building rating tools.
"This category can act as a stand-alone or as an "add-on"
component for Green Star SA and other leading international green
building rating tools which are used in developing countries."
"Building projects will be rewarded for their design and
construction-phase interventions which improve: employment
and economic opportunity; education and skills training; equality;
community engagement and benefits; and improved health and safety.
The aim is to make this first socio-economic category simple and
focussed on a set of top priority 'big hit' factors."
Ground-breaking for developing countries
"We believe this is an important piece of work for South Africa
and other developing countries, and based on the interest already
expressed in it, we are sure that it will enjoy a high profile,"
concur Rushmere and Kerswill.
The Social and Economic Development category will also be the
subject of a panel discussion during a breakaway session as part of
the 5th annual GBCSA Convention and Exhibition taking place at the
CTICC from the 23rd to the 25th of October. For more information
about Green Star SA rating tools visit www.gbcsa.org.za.
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