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FAQ’s

EDGE

1. What legislation exists to help support the growth of green building & sustainability?

 All new developments need to adhere to SA SANS10400 Part XA and the energy efficient regulatory framework Nov ’11: A section was added to the National Building Regulations – anyone planning new developments or alterations will need to ensure that their plans meet a certain standard of energy efficiency.  Dec ’11: Department of Water and Environmental Affairs announced the launch of a government building energy efficiency programme led by the DPW

What is the EDGE application? What is the EDGE Standard?

EDGE is a green building certification system for emerging markets created by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. The EDGE Standard requires a 20% reduction in operational energy consumption, water use, and embodied energy in materials as compared to typical local building practices.

Who issues green certification for EDGE projects in South Africa? How does the certification work?

The GBCSA (Green Building Council of South Africa) is responsible for issuing EDGE certificates in South Africa. Developers register their projects with the GBCSA and work with an independent EDGE Accredited Professional (AP) who compiles the necessary documentation. EDGE certificates are issued to projects which successfully demonstrate they have met or exceeded the EDGE Standard.

When can I register my EDGE project? How would I register the project?

The GBCSA will register EDGE projects from 9 November 2015. Information is available for EDGE project registration on the GBCSA website www.gbcsa.org.za

Can I use the EDGE online software now? Is there a fee just to use the software?

The EDGE application is free to use online and is available via a link on the GBCSA website. Users do not need to install any additional software and simply need to register to use the online software. Entering basic project information reveals within minutes the ideal bundle of measures for the best investment return.

How easy is it to use the EDGE application?

EDGE is built on a user-friendly platform based on smart, fast, affordable, simple, and inclusive principles. The EDGE application shows within minutes how committing to a few practical energy and water saving options improves building performance at little or no cost.

How will I find an EDGE AP (EDGE Accredited Professional)?

Visit the GBCSA website for a list of EDGE APs - available once training starts in November 2015.

How do I become an EDGE AP? When does training start? Is there an examination?

Relevant training is offered by the GBCSA and is expected to commence in November 2015.. Information on training dates, costs, etc. is available on the GBCSA website. EDGE APs are required to pass an exam.

Is it possible to find out more about EDGE for my professional development without becoming an EDGE AP?

The courses offered by the GBCSA on EDGE are suitable for anyone who wishes to learn more about EDGE. Only APs are required to pass the exam.

How is EDGE different from other certification tools?

EDGE is less complex and less expensive to achieve compliance. In SA, EDGE is available only for residential projects and consists of 3 compliance categories: Predicted energy consumption of the building in operation Predicted water consumption of the building in operation Embodied energy of materials used to construct the building In all three categories, a 20% improvement against the baseline must be achieved to meet the EDGE Standard. The baseline is established from building regulatory compliance and standard practice. The EDGE tool can be accessed free online for building designers to test whether or not they achieve compliance. Other certification tools usually consist of a far larger range of compliance criteria which usually cost more to implement.

What are the benefits of building green?

The benefits are diverse and many, so cannot all be listed here but some of the key benefits include: lower utility bills, increased resale value of property, , and reduced environmental impact. Developers and home buyers may be able to access preferential financing from local banks.

What types of buildings can be certified for EDGE?

Only residential buildings that are being designed and constructed/refurbished can be certified in SA. In some of the countries where EDGE has been implemented, a range of building types can be EDGE certified but this is not the case in South Africa.

How much will certification cost me?

The costs consist of three main parts: Cost to certify – project certification fees paid to GBCSA. Visit the GBCSA website for the schedule of fees for project certification. GBCSA reserves the right to change the fees periodically. Cost of EDGE AP – an independent EDGE AP must be appointed at market related rates to submit the certification documents to GBCSA. EDGE APs are third-party professionals whose fees will be directly negotiated with the project developers and not set by GBCSA. As a general guideline, use the following timeframes as an estimate: 
- Audit of design certification submission - 2-3 working days per project, plus 1 day per typology, if very different. 
Audit of as-built certification submission - 2-3 working days, plus ½ day per typology. A site visit is also needed. Cost of construction – for green measures. South African pilot projects targeting EDGE certification have indicated an additional construction cost of not more than 3% to meet the EDGE Standard, but this will vary for each project depending on the specific design of the project. Locally and globally, the implementation of green building certification systems has typically shown that initial ‘cost of green’ is overestimated.

Membership

1. Can anyone become a member?

Membership to Green Building Council SA is offered to any body corporate or other entity other than individuals and industry associations.

2. How do I become  member?

To become a member of Green Building Council SA simply follow select the ‘Become a Member’ tab and follow the process.  If you wish to receive more information about the GBCSA and its activities please email: info@gbcsa.org.za.

3. Is there a cost for becoming a member?

Yes an annual corporate membership fee due, based on your membership category. Please refer to Membership categories and fees page.

Legislation

1. What legislation exists to help support the growth of green building & sustainability?

 All new developments need to adhere to SA SANS10400 Part XA and the energy efficient regulatory framework Nov ’11: A section was added to the National Building Regulations – anyone planning new developments or alterations will need to ensure that their plans meet a certain standard of energy efficiency.  Dec ’11: Department of Water and Environmental Affairs announced the launch of a government building energy efficiency programme led by the DPW

2. What is the status of the proposed carbon tax?

The Carbon Tax Policy Paper – Reducing Greenhoue Gas Emissions and Facilitating the Transition to a Green Economy was published by National Treasury on 2 May 2013; which was an update to the Discussion Paper for Public Comment – Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The Carbon Tax Option (December 2010). Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, indicated during his 2013 Budget Speech in February,  that government is proposing a tax rate of R120 per tonne of CO2 equivalent, which will initially have a  tax-free exemption threshold of 60%. A two-phased introduction of the tax has been proposed within the  latest policy paper. On January 1st, 2015 Phase one would become effective and would run until December 31st, 2019.  Phase two would initiate on the 1st of January 2020 and run until December 31st, 2025. The 2nd phase will see a revised tax rate and the inclusion of previously excluded sectors (along with many other changes). If you would like to read more on the Carbon Tax Paper, you can download the Carbon Tax Policy Paper (which is also available for public comment) here.

Greenstar SA

1. What is a rating tool?

A green building rating tool sets standards and benchmarks for green building, and enables an objective assessment to be made as to how "green" a building is. The rating system sets out a "menu" of all the green measures that can be incorporated into a building to make it green. Points are awarded to a design or building according to which measures have been incorporated, and, after appropriate weighting, a total score is arrived at, which determines the rating.

2. Why did the GBCSA develop its own rating system?

Because the term “green” is subjective, the GBCSA – South Africa’s official green building authority - decided to provide the commercial property industry with an objective assessment of green buildings. After a process of industry and expert consultation, the GBCSA Board decided to base our South African rating tool on the Australian Green Star system and to customise this tool for South African use. Green Star SA is the country’s only green building rating tool system and functions to recognise and reward environmental leadership in the property industry.

3. How does a building achieve a Green Star SA certification?

To achieve certification, building owners submit documentation to the Green Building Council SA who employ independent assessors to assess the submission and score the building 'Design' or ‘As Build’ building against pre-established environmentally sustainable initiatives within the Green Star SA rating tool categories. These categories include management, energy, indoor environmental quality, water, transport, emissions, materials, land use and ecology and innovation. Based on the total score the project can achieve a 4-Star, 5-Star or 6-Star Green Star SA ratings certification.

4. Does a Building have to be rated green by the GBCSA in order for it to be considered green?

No. There are many well-built, sustainable and “green” buildings in our market that have not pursued Green Star SA certification; this may be due to the Green Star SA suite of tools not supporting the building typology or that the building owner merely chose to not pursue a certification. That said, a building or project that is certified through the Green Star SA process has undergone an independent assessment by the GBCSA and its assessors and is recognised as such by the South African market. Achieving a Green Star SA certification on a project avoids ‘self professed’ claims that aren’t independently tested.

5. What features does a building need to have in order for it to be considered green?

A building that has received Green Star SA certification will have been required to undergo the independent third-party assessment managed by the GBCSA. The Green Star SA certification requires that the project team implements various environmentally sustainable design initiatives into their project. These initiatives are then ‘scored’ against pre-set performance criteria within the Green Star SA rating tools under various categories. These categories include management, energy, indoor environmental quality, water, transport, emissions, materials, land use & ecology and innovation.  Third party assessment is totaled to give the team a final score to achieve a 4, 5 or 6 star rating.

6. What are the benefits of applying for green accreditation?

While being good for the environment, developers are also using green principles to reduce operating costs. Long-term energy and water savings, which translate into cost savings, are steadily pushing business- and home-owners to seek out green buildings, rather than leaving it up to built environment professionals.

7. The developers are applying for a green star rating concurrently with the construction of the building. Is this the best way to do it, and why?

In order to achieve a green building, it is essential that the design team members work together from concept design stages to embody green principles in the design. This integrated design process is necessary to understand the synergies between the different disciplines before it is too late to make fundamental changes in design. For this reason it is preferable to register for certification as early as possible, bringing all design team members to the table. Not only does this approach lead to improved environmental outcomes, but can save significant costs. As we all know, late changes in design are expensive.

8. What is project certification & how much does it  cost?

Registering a building project with the Green Building Council SA declares the intent to pursue certification under a specific rating tool and is the first step in the certification process. Projects should register as soon as possible during the project, though there is no deadline during the design or construction process. Registering a project simply declares the intent to pursue certification and should not be confused with actual project certification which is awarded by the GBCSA once a project has demonstrated its achievement of a certain rating level. Costs are based on the area (m2) of the development and whether the applicant is a member or non-member, and ranges from R 65 000 to R 195 000.

9. What is the benefit of being rated?

There are numerous benefits that arise from both building (and retro-fitting) a “green” building and achieving a Green Star SA certification. Please see below for some of the benefits Green Star SA certified projects have the potential to enjoy: • Lower energy consumption (Please see the ENE-0 Conditional Requirement for guidance on how design initiatives are rewarded and the routes project teams may take to achieve benchmarked consumption savings.) • Reduced water consumption (the Green Star SA Potable Water Calulator provides further guidance on this, as with ENE-0) • Lower operating costs. (We await market data and feedback to note the effect this will have on CAP rates.) • Vastly improved indoor environmental quality – which has been intrinsically linked to long-term productivity increases and staff retention, as well as general increases in wellbeing. • Improved building management structures • Asset future-proofing; industry leaders are acknowledging that “non-green” buildings will suffer from a loss of competitive advantage in coming months and years. This will transpire through to both directly and non-directly held assets. • IPD Australia has just released data indicating that Green Star certified buildings are producing higher returns when compared to similar, conventional buildings • Marketability. Marketing leverage has been a highly acclaimed benefit for Green Star SA certified buildings. Note Nedbank Phase II and more recently Aurecon Century City Campus. • This list goes on

10. What is a Technical Clarification?

"Technical Clarifications" are the GBCSA's answers to technical queries. These complement Green Star Technical Manuals, and the Assessment Panel will use the Technical Clarifications as precedent. They are an extension of the Technical Manual, and do not amend but clarify the Credit Criteria of Compliance Requirements.

11. What is a Credit Interpretation Request?

A Credit Interpretation Request (CIR) is submitted to the GBCSA if a project team wishes to advocate for an alternative yet equivalent method of meeting the Aim of Credit. Each Technical Manual outlines a number of options for meeting the Aim of Credit, but if the project team has developed an alternative design solution or an alternative form of documentation, it may wish to submit a CIR. It is vital to understand their relevance as they may impact the assessment of your project. You can also use the updating process to improve and extend Green Star SA Tools. Any registered project team can submit queries or suggest new ways to qualify for credit points.

12. Is compliance with Green Star SA a legal requirement?

Green Star SA is a completely voluntary system and will continue as such into the foreseeable future. The Green Building Council SA prefers to influence the market by illustrating the virtues of “best practice” rather than making Green Star SA a mandatory certification process. Should sectors of the market decide to make Green Star SA certification mandatory within their own spheres however; the GBCSA will wholly support them.

13. Can you achieve double points? (eg: Due to exposed surfaces and less concrete (MAT-10) and because exposed surfaces provide more ambient temperatures additional points in category IEQ-9)

Green Star SA takes this into careful consideration and as such, projects are not eligible to be awarded more than once for one initiative. Do take note of the fact that various Green Star credits are intrinsically linked and a certain amount of inter-relatedness does exist. This relationship can bring about both positive and negative point feedbacks. The occurrence of this however, is largely project dependent.

       

Project - FAQ

What is a project registration and how much does it cost?

Registering a building project with the Green Building SA declares the intent to pursue certification under a specific rating tool and is the first step in the certification process. Projects should register as soon as possible during the project, though there is no deadline during the design or construction process. The Certification Fee must be paid to the GBCSA in full upon registration of a project, and an executed Certification Agreement (sent to the project owner upon registration) must be received by the GBCSA to finalise a project's registration. Registering a project simply declares the intent to pursue certification and should not be confused with actual project certification which is awarded by the GBCSA once a project has demonstrated its achievement of a certain rating level. Costs are based on the area (m2) of the development and whether the applicant is a member or non-member.

Why was Green Star chosen and what other rating systems exist?

There are several rating systems in existence worldwide, including LEED from the US, BREEAM from the UK and Green Star from Australia. After a process of industry and expert consultation, the Green Building Council SA Board decided to base our South African rating tool on the Australian Green Star system, and to customise this tool for South African use.


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