First Green Star Sustainable Precinct’s Certification in Africa awarded to Garden Cities West Coast project by Green Building Council South Africa
February 25, 2019
The Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) has awarded a 4-star Green Star Sustainable Precincts certification – the first in Africa – to a project that will be built by historic Cape Town development company, Garden Cities NPC (RF), as a further phase of its flagship Cape West Coast suburb, Sunningdale.
John Matthews, Group CEO of the company, which celebrates its Centenary this year, has welcomed the award as a fitting acknowledgement of Garden Cities’ leading role in the green building movement. Commenting on the 46.3 out of a targeted 48.3-point score achieved for the project, he said it reflected the company’s efforts to meet the highest possible levels of sustainability, standards and quality of life for residents of its suburbs.
The certification was awarded to the planned Northridge Coastal Village (Sunningdale Phase 13A) after assessment of the project design documentation by the GBCSA, applying key criteria contained in the Green Building Council’s Green Star – Sustainable Precincts tool that evaluates large scale development projects at a precinct or neighbourhood level. Unlike the other Green Star tools, the emphasis is on the site-wide, rather than building-specific issues. The tool rates the planning, design and construction of a precinct only and it does not rate specific buildings or assess its operation.
Manfred Braune, Green Building Council South Africa’s Managing Executive for Sector Development & Transformation said it was the GBCSA’s objective to inspire growth and innovation in the property sector through initiatives that demonstrate South Africa’s ability to effectively place environmental issues at the heart of design, building and operation to achieve better, greener buildings, and now precincts and neighbourhoods.
Founder of Terramanzi Group, Fabio Venturi and teammate Claire Holton, the sustainable design consultants tasked with this ground-breaking certification, said they felt a massive sense of relief and achievement following a rigorous certification process in which their work was vetted by both the Green Building Council South Africa with support from the Green Building Council of Australia who developed the original rating tool. Venturi attributes the remarkable achievement to dedicated teamwork and collaboration. He said the process had been driven by a talented professional team partnered by a passionate client, whose commitment to sustainability helped the design reach its full potential in line with global sustainable design benchmarks.
During its 100-year history, Garden Cities has prioritised sensitive development and environmental awareness and sustainability in the 16 suburbs and developments it has created.
In 2012 the company produced its initial Green Policy, Green Framework, and a supporting Home Owners’ Guide – a living document which is consistently updated. Subsequently the company has produced Supplier, Consultant and Contractor Greening Guides as part of greening the value chain. With an over-arching vision document, the guides cover a spectrum of green concerns – water, energy and materials.
‘The next logical progression for Garden Cities is to achieve our objective of ‘zero waste to landfill’ in all our projects,’ said Renier Smith, Group Manager, Engineering and Planning.
The GBCSA’s Green Star Sustainable Precincts Tool aligns perfectly with our vision to ensure environmentally sustainable developments with minimal impact.
‘We have come to the realisation that the only way to attain radical goals that were once thought to be the unachievable, is to formalise and implement them with focus and drive,’ said Smith.
Venturi applauds what he describes as a visionary and committed approach by Garden Cities. ‘With pressing global climate change and resource challenges there has never been a more appropriate time for bold leadership in the property sector to create a meaningful and measured difference on this planet for now and for generations to come.
Apart from its impact on sustainability, said Manfred Braune, there was a compelling business case for sustainable development at both a neighbourhood and a building level. ‘Studies continue to show dramatic increases in health, well-being and quality of life for occupants of sustainably developed neighbourhoods and buildings, besides the direct cost savings from their operations as well as the increased asset value. GBCSA congratulates Garden Cities for this very significant achievement, and for being the first on the continent to meet this very stringent standard for sustainable development that will have a lasting impact on all the generations that will enjoy living in this precinct within Sunningdale.’
‘This project is another indicator that the demand for green buildings is growing rapidly, as property developers and property owners/occupants become more aware of their environmental footprint and the cost benefits and health benefits of building green.