Any project can incorporate elements of sustainable design and construction, but a green building certification is a way to objectively verify that a building has met a range of standards and benchmarks for green design, construction and performance.
A certification means that the building process and the end result have been overseen, reviewed and certified by a recognised authority. This verification process is important for preventing green-washing – the practice of making misleading claims about just how sustainable a building really is.
The number of options for green building certification is growing worldwide, and each uses different performance categories and scoring systems. Read on to find out more about the green certifications available in South Africa.
GREEN STAR SA
Developed and used by the Green Building Council SA (GBCSA), Green Star SA is a voluntary rating system that evaluates the environmental design and performance of new and existing buildings, interior fitouts and urban precincts.
Independent assessors evaluate submissions and allocate points based on the green elements that have been incorporated into a given project, with a strong focus on energy efficiency. Projects receive a rating from 4 to 6 stars.
Net Zero certification is awarded to projects that go beyond the standards set out in the Green Star ratings tools and have achieved the goal of completely neutralising or positively redressing their environmental impacts.
Projects can achieve Net Zero ratings in the carbon, water, waste and ecology categories.
Introduced by the International Finance Corporation SA in partnership with the Green Building Council, the EDGE rating system aims to improve energy, water and materials efficiency in South African homes and commercial buildings.
A two-stage process, EDGE certification requires at least a 20% improvement in energy, water and materials efficiency when measured against standard building regulations. The free EDGE App helps users to easily calculate the cost of going green, the operational savings and environmental impacts.