Growthpoint Properties - Another Green Star

Growthpoint Properties Limited has earned a sought-after 4-Star Green Star SA Office as Built v1 certification for its Lincoln Building on the Lake office development in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal.

This official recognition was awarded by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), the country’s official green building authority. It’s the first 4-Star As-Built Green Star rating for a multi tenanted office building in SA. It's the second 4-Star Green Star SA rating in the Growthpoint Properties office portfolio. The first is a 4-Star Green Star SA Office Design v1 Rating of the adjacent Mayfair on the Lake, awarded by the GBCSA in November 2011.

Only 15 office buildings have achieved Green Star SA certification in SA. Growthpoint’s two green stars are among these pioneering properties.

“Our property portfolio represents our company’s biggest impact on our environment,” explains Growthpoint Properties Regional Head KZN, Greg de Klerk. “Switching off lights and recycling paper are not enough. That’s why our office team values design, innovation and sustainability. We do this by focusing on our office properties: how we design them, how we build them, and how a green building positively impacts on them.”

“Offices should seamlessly integrate into our clients’ businesses and provide people with a positive, healthy and energising environment,” says Rudolf Pienaar, Growthpoint Properties Offices Divisional Director. “This means creating user-friendly offices and solutions through innovation and creative design. That is why we are so proud of the two green building points for innovation awarded to Lincoln on the Lake. Then continuing the high-quality support experience with superior management long after the building project is complete.”

With this focus, it is little wonder that Growthpoint Properties is emerging as SA’s innovator in green offices. This recognition stems from its strong push towards energy-efficient buildings and sustainable development.

Growthpoint Properties is a Platinum Founding Member of the GBCSA. Growthpoint continues its support of this influential organisation through its R1,5 million sponsorship of the GBCSA’s Energy & Water Benchmarking Tool, among other projects. Pienaar also sits on the GBCSA Board of Directors.

Growthpoint leads the real estate sector in carbon disclosure in Africa. It’s in the JSE’s Socially Responsible Investment Index (SRI Index) for the third consecutive year for positive environmental, social and economic sustainability practices and corporate governance.

“The commitment of SA’s largest listed property company to green building is especially significant” comments Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council of South Africa.  “Growthpoint are now members of an elite group that have achieved a Green Star SA rating for their project – the fact that they already have two projects certified is a tangible demonstration of their strategy. The Green Star SA rating is a “badge of honour” that conveys to their tenants, investors and stakeholders that they are not only serious about climate change mitigation, but as importantly, that they are very shrewd investors – their investment in green building “future proofs” their building – protecting them and their tenants from the inevitable abnormally high increases in utility costs, and from high retrofitting costs when “green” becomes a prerequisite” says Wilkinson.

Growthpoint believes continual investment in research is critical to create innovative office spaces and technologies.

“There’s much information on the green technology used in USA, Europe and Australia, but we want to be sure this technology is effective in local conditions,” says Pienaar. Technologies under testing vary from facade shading and actuating louvers, to floor slabs that radiate cooling and heating.

“Designing greener offices means considering the environmental impact of the materials used to make them. From the stone, glass and metal in our designs to the goods used in daily cleaning, our goal is to continue reducing or removing environmentally harmful substances.”

Growthpoint Properties’ commitment to sustainability is obvious in a growing number of new, industry-leading projects. It already has two green office developments in the pipeline, located in Sandhurst and Rosebank in Johannesburg. Pienaar confirms that Growthpoint will continue to identify opportunities for new green office developments. “We want to build new offices that have the least impact on the environment and create the best experience for users,” says Pienaar.

Even so, Growthpoint has taken significant steps to lessen the environmental impact of its existing portfolio of office buildings throughout SA. “We have carried out several retro-fitting projects in our office portfolio to make older buildings more energy-efficient, from air-conditioning to lighting,” remarks Pienaar.

“We know the most important thing we can do to lessen our impact on the environment is to improve our properties’ environmental performance. That’s why we retrofit them to be as energy efficient and have the longest lifespan possible,” says Pienaar.

Growthpoint Properties is the largest South African listed property company with property assets valued in excess of R50 billion located throughout South Africa and Australia. Its South African portfolio, valued at R33.7bn of over 412 properties (excluding 50% of the V&A Waterfront) provides in excess of 4,3 million square metres of office, industrial and retail space to leading businesses.

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