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How to turn your home green, and save

Green homes give tenants and owners long-term energy and water savings and a better standard of living – with less costs. Which of these tips do you find the most useful to turn your home green?

Green by design

Before you start buying material, call a professional, ecologically-aware architect who understands green building principles. New rooms and structures can be designed to be an appropriate size with energy efficiency in mind. Don’t go bigger than you need to –not only do you initially use more material, and so increase the carbon footprint, but you’ll require more energy on an ongoing basis to control the heating, cooling and lighting of a bigger space.

Light material footprint

Understand the difference, in cost, quality and environmental impact, of the types of building materials you choose. There are green alternatives to concrete, sustainable sources of timber, recycled products (think of paper-based countertops and composite decking), non-toxic paints and so much more. They are often cheaper or very similar in price to traditional dirty building materials.

Power your home

Many types of renewable energy options are available and, depending on where you live, some will be more feasible than others. What is not feasible is relying on irregular, ever-more-expensive coal-powered electricity. It will weigh down both the carbon footprint of your home as well as your personal lifestyle. Consider solar-powered geysers and PV solar panels which often save users enough to more than justify the initial investment after a few short years. And you’ll never have to worry if loadshedding has stopped your geyser from heating up (especially if it is on a timer).

Steward your water

With exponentially-growing demand and limited supply South Africans can expect that clean water for home use will become more difficult for municipalities to secure, supply and maintain. The drought in various parts of the country taught us to only use the water we need. A grey-water system at home can circulate used water, such as bath water, into an irrigation holding tank, or straight into the garden. This reduces the need to the need to give plants drinking water.

Quality fixtures in your bathroom and kitchen will reduce the volume of flow as well as the number of leaks. Duel-flush toilets are also very effective in reducing the amount of water flushed down the drain.

Thinking about lighting

Yes, you can and should swap out your energy-sucking old light bulbs with fresh, economic and efficient lighting. And this can make a big difference – LEDs often last 12 years and use 12c of electricity per hour, as opposed to halogens which often only last 12 months and cost 75c an hour to power.

Keep in mind that sensible building orientation that maximises the use of sunlight will reduce the amount of lights you need to switch on in the first place.

Green Building Council South Africa advocates for better buildings and greener standards throughout the built environment. View the growing database of GBCSA Accredited Professionals who can assist with designing or retrofitting homes, to a wide range of other projects.

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

Annual Turnover

Investors, Owners, Property Managers

Total Asset Value

Major Corporate Tenants & Retail

Annual Gross Rentals

Building Contractors

Annual Turnover

Building Product Manufacturers & Distributors

Annual Turnover

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

Number of employees

Research, Higher Education, NGO’S & Regulators

NGO or Research/Higher Education/ Regulators

Related Interests: Utilities, Financial, Insurance, etc.

Annual Turnover


Local/ municipal/ provincial/ state 
Contact GBCSA to confirm your category