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Going green: SA’s property market championing the change

According to a recent study of industry stakeholders by US-based construction think-tank Dodge Data and Analytics, “green building” (designing buildings to limit their environmental impact) is making strong headway in the South African property market.

The study estimated that roughly 41% of the country’s construction activity in 2015 was green. Making it the highest of the 13 countries surveyed. What’s more, South African firms expect that green work in the future will reach even higher demand levels, with 61% of firms surveyed expecting that green building will account for more than 60% of their operations come 2018.

According to Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Africa, what makes this level of green building activity in South Africa especially impressive is that the survey included countries with a more mature market for green solutions, such as Germany and the UK, as well as those countries with emerging markets – India and Colombia as an example. The average level of green construction across all 13 countries was 24% of construction activity.

Why South Africans are going greenworld in our hands.resize

Conventional buildings make a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and can consume large volumes of water. From this perspective green buildings should be considered vital for environmental protection.

The Dodge study found that going green in South Africa was driven by clients feeling that it is the right thing to do and subsequently requesting that green elements be incorporated into the design or retrofitting of a building. This is a clear indication that environmental concerns are becoming an increasingly integrated concept in the South African property market.

“For most South African property owners the experience of power outages and escalating electricity tariffs make green solutions such as solar power a practical solution,” says Gray. “The fact is that, although greening a building can be expensive initially, the savings in future operational costs invariably make the initial investment worthwhile.”

Another consideration driving the uptake of going green in South Africa is the increased property value associated with green features. Green features can make a property vastly more attractive to buyers. An owner must remember that, what is considered distinctly green and advanced today will be standard in years to come. The risk is therefore that, if an owner does not invest the money now to green a property, the property is likely to be considered very dated, very soon.

The fact is, greening your property should be about living a comfortable and productive life, while being conscious of our environment and its stresses.

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