When we hear the word ‘green building’,
Sandton’s skyline comes to mind. Green building is on the rise in South Africa
and more business is starting to follow the trend in going green.
The pressure to manage costs, risks and energy consumption is pushing
commercial building owners and investors to explore how smart building
technologies can help a company’s triple bottom line — people, planet, and
“Smart buildings” or green building,
which is the term most of us are familiar with, is defined as the effective
integration of physical, digital and human systems in the built environment to
deliver a sustainable, thriving and inclusive future for its people.
Smart buildings improve the use of
technology in the design and operation of infrastructure in a way which meets
the current and future needs of their citizens. Truly smart buildings should be
about more than just connecting technology, they require consideration of
control and growth, urban development and infrastructure, the environment and
natural resources, society and their community.
Why should more countries shift to
With climate change threatening many
cities through rising sea levels, increasingly unstable weather patterns and
diminishing resources, the governments of both developed and developing
countries are forced to ensure new constructions requirements are more green
This means we need to use natural resources wisely, minimise waste and
pollution, lessen and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon
Creating successful cities that begin to
ease some of these impacts is a balance between social, environmental and
economic opportunities delivered through smart planning, design and
construction, and supported by smart technology.
How can we make the shift?
In a country that is already
struggling with energy resources, energy in building should be a priority.
Because buildings are big users of energy it is important to use methods that
are more energy-efficient, better insulated, less vulnerable to air leaks
through poorly sealed windows, doors and ceilings, and therefore less reliant
on electrical energy for heating and cooling.
Cool Roofs: Made of special tiles and reflective paint, cool roofs have
high levels of solar reflectance and thermal emittance, which work together to
absorb less heat.
This keeps the buildings beneath cooler,
thereby lowering energy use and bringing comfort to occupants. On the
collective level, cool roofs help reduce the heat island effect in urban
Also, because of the reduced energy consumption, cool roofs decrease the amount
of greenhouse gas emissions.
In South Africa examples of green roofs include the treed roof of the parking
area at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, the Grace Hotel in Rosebank, House
Westcliff, the library of Stellenbosch University, and Forum Homini at the
Cradle of Humankind.
Solar hot water heating: The new regulations stipulate that commercial
buildings complying with the Green Building Council of South Africa’s green building codes must generate 50% of their hot water using renewable energy,
either through solar water heating or heat pump technology.
Lighting: The use of natural daylight instead of artificial
lighting is obviously the most sustainable and efficient way of saving energy.
Ensure that working spaces have an acceptable level of illumination without
using artificial lighting during daytime by designing windows and skylights
that are positioned to make the most of the natural light without overheating.
Green buildings also incorporate
energy-efficient lighting, low energy appliances, and renewable energy
technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels. Reflective and angled
ceilings will also bring more light deeper into a building. Energy-efficient
light bulbs can substantially reduce energy costs. Compact fluorescent light
bulbs (CFLs) use less than a quarter of the energy required to power a
conventional light bulb for the same amount of time, and last ten times longer.
The business environment is ripe for the arrival of consistent, widespread
regulatory policies addressing energy efficiency. It is recognized world-wide
that buildings are a massive consumer of energy, this will influence the
construction sector in South Africa to also adapt more sustainable building
practices. And although still in its infancy stage, smart building is a rapidly
The opportunities in the green building
industry look quite promising. If you are looking for expert engineering
candidates, we can assist.
We have numerous individuals in
construction engineering, civil engineering, structural engineering, mechanical
engineering, electrical engineering and more.
Contact us today.