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GBCSA Academy AP Spotlight: Wardah Safi, Ecolution Consulting

Wardah Safi is a Senior Sustainability Consultant at Ecolution Consulting.

Her sustainability and Green Star journey started in 2013 – a journey that she describes as enriching. “I find that I am in the minority within this space being a Muslim female of colour however, using that as a great motivator to try and be a catalyst to change that narrative within this sustainability landscape.”

Wardah has a bachelor in Architectural Studies from UCT and a BTech in construction management from CPUT. She has also done short courses in Energy Management through ESKOM and Principles of Project Management through UCT. She is an AP in New Builds, an EDGE Expert and busy attaining an EBP AP Accreditation and other accreditations in the near future.

Outside of her work in the sustainability space, Wardah loves all things creative and together with her sister she launched a modest clothing label. She also recently qualified as a certified make-up artist.

We had the privilege of speaking to Wardah about her career, her thoughts on the green building sector and lessons learnt along the way.

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

Engaging with my peers and like-minded individuals within the industry about sustainability and external stakeholders on certification projects. I also thoroughly enjoy being involved in the process of knowledge sharing. Whether it be guest lecturing at a tertiary institution or running internal workshops within my organisation on tools, templates and service offerings.

Which projects are you most proud of working on?

I’m very proud of all the projects that I’ve worked on to date as each of them had lesson(s) in them that I learnt and grown from. I’ve learnt about various project teams and their varying dynamics and the innovative interventions that were implemented and also growing in my experience as an AP in my skill set.

Which professional achievement are you most proud of?

Becoming a Senior Sustainability Consultant within green certifications. My career path started off in Architecture and I had no idea back then that this is the position I would find myself in.

What set you on your current career path?

After completing my BTech in Construction Management, I didn’t feel like there was a space where I could exercise the skills I’ve gained in both Architecture and Construction Management. Having already had an interest in sustainability and just being lighter with my footprint on this earth, a job vacancy became available at a sustainability consultancy. I read the job description and had the skills they needed. I went for the interview the Wednesday, by the Friday the job offer came through and I haven’t looked back.

Who or what has been the strongest influence guiding your professional life?

My faith. There is a lot of importance in Islam on the protection and preservation of our environment. Our prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has taught people to live their lives less wasteful of resources, protect plant and animal life and to worship our Creator by being merciful and mindful of His creations. “Do not waste water, even if you are on a running river” – prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Which has been more valuable in your career – your education or your experience, and why? 

Both I would say has equal value because the one couldn’t necessarily exist without the other, in my case at least. My education set the solid foundation for which my experience allowed me to understand it’s application and allowed me to explore ways in which my understanding of something could be materialised in real time and the working environment.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your professional career?

EQ is as important if not slightly more important than IQ. It’s a soft skill that is a key driver in being an efficient and productive part of a team both internally and externally.

How has the industry changed since you started your career?

It’s grown and continues to grow. With the commitments South Africa has made towards climate change, more action has been and continues to be taken to fulfil those commitments. South Africa is becoming more aware of their actions and contributions towards climate change and how every bit counts in positive change within sustainability.

What do you think are the changes needed for the industry to reach its sustainability goals?

More awareness and education around sustainability outside of the industry. This education and awareness shouldn’t just be within marketing strategies for organizations but practical and real-time actions and campaigns for decisions to be made which will have positive impact. The education and awareness needs to try and bridge the gap between socio-economic needs within South Africa and environmental needs as the two are related in many ways. The planting of seeds in young minds and the future generations to be equipped for the near and distant future.

What advice do you have for someone new to the green sustainable built environment sector?

Welcome to this space! A space that will change your life in so many ways. The amount of learning that you will be doing and the direct impact you will see when you work on projects and engage with people within industry is very rewarding. You will be on a constant growth curve and enjoy the journey.

 

Individual Membership

Designed for professionals acting in their individual capacity, including single consultant-businesses.

Organisational Membership

Ideal for companies, government departments, and organisations.

  • Total Employees: 1 - 5 Employees - R 4080.00
  • Total Employees: 6 - 20 Employees - R 12570.00
  • Total Employees: 21 - 50 Employees - R 24690.00
  • Total Employees: 51 Plus Employees - R 43840.00

Lisa Reynolds

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director

Lisa Reynolds is the CEO of the Green Building Council South Africa.

Lisa was the driver for the drafting of Energy Efficiency Standards and Regulations for Buildings and has been involved in Energy Efficiency since 2003. She serves on many committees in the SABS and within the energy management professionals’ space. She was President of the SAEEC from 2016 to 2019 and was the previous President of the ESCo (Energy Services Companies) Association. Lisa was instrumental in the formation of SAFEE (Southern African Females in Energy Efficiency) within SAEEC.

She has assisted the South African Government with its Green Building Framework policies, Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives and Energy Efficiency Strategies

Her passion for the “Green space” started with the birth of the Green Building Council in 2007. Lisa served on the Board and the Technical Committee of the GBCSA, as well as on several Technical Working Groups for Rating Tools and Criteria. Lisa. became CEO in June 2020.

Lisa has a BSc, an MBA and a CEM. Lisa’s awards include the 2007 ETA Award for Women, 2008 Individual Energy (SAEE), 2012 SABS Standards Writer Award; the 2014 Women in Energy (SAWIEN); and the 2016 Ian Lane Hall of Fame award.

Lisa is committed to growing the Green Economy within a Green Recovery.

Organisational categories

As an organisational member, you will fall into one of the below categories, and be charged according to specific size indicators. Please reach out to us for any further clarity on which category is best for your organisation

Property Developers

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Investors, Owners, Property Managers

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Major Corporate Tenants & Retail

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Building Contractors

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Building Product Manufacturers & Distributors

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Professional Services: Architects, Designers, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, PM’s, Consultants, Legal

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Research, Higher Education, NGO’S & Regulators

NGO or Research/Higher Education/ Regulators

Related Interests: Utilities, Financial, Insurance, etc.

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