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Member Expert Thoughts: 15 years is a significant milestone, but much still needs to be done to combat climate change

”15 years is a wonderful milestone!” ”When I look back to our first meetings, our first Green Star course and our first Convention, GBCSA has come a long way, and it’s wonderful to see it stronger than ever.”- Bruce Kerswill, GBCSA Founding Chair

For me, the journey started by watching Al Gore’s documentary, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. It showed so much evidence of how things are going wrong and yet no concerted action to address it.

The Australians were doing amazing things with green buildings. Study tours to Oz, a challenge by Romilly Madew, CEO of the GBC Australia, and support from SAPOA under Neil Gopal, resulted in the start of the GBCSA. We hit the ground running: customising Green Star, running our first AP course, and holding a Convention (and we went big, hiring the CTICC, even though we had no members!). They were nervous times, but the support from the property industry was incredible.

Now, 15 years later, GBCSA have over 900 certifications and should reach 1000 certifications next year! The impact of that is enormous, including 1 320 million kWh per annum of electricity saved, 1 590 million kg of CO2, and 1 220 million litres of potable drinking water. Also, 2 300 APs trained, thousands captivated by the Conventions, a thriving consultancy community.

But for me the more important achievement is in terms of influence: the number of institutions and companies who have committed to building green; the developers who have embraced it; the professionals who have innovated; the contractors who have worked out how to build it; the suppliers who’ve found the materials; the manufacturers who’ve created the new products; and the tenants who experience and learn about the buildings they occupy. This is the real impact – this is how society is changed. Green building has a huge value chain, with influence at every link of the chain.

But, good as these achievements are, so much more needs to be done. Every night on the news we see the frightening evidence of climate change all around the world – the floods, the heatwaves, the wildfires, the intensive storms. Global society is not responding commensurate to the threat we face. We should be directing massive resources into countering climate change.

A huge amount of change has happened. Look at renewable energy, regenerative agriculture, the circular economy, and ESG is now all over the executive suite. But we’re nowhere near meeting the science-based targets; we’re not getting there quickly enough.

Why not? Why are people switching off, and not engaging? Maybe the issue appears too overwhelming, the solutions too unattainable. People don’t feel they can make a difference. ‘Fire and brimstone’ terrify people into inaction. Rational argument is not working).

Maybe people are right – only governments and large corporates have the authority and scale necessary. But we need to push them. Lobby governments and politicians. Support the companies that are doing good, and boycott those that are not. Support the NGOs in the space.

Maybe we need to paint a picture of where society needs to go, of possibilities, of solutions, so people can see there is a way out – and demand it. Positive images, as well as negative ones. Less about the apocalypse, and more about how we avoided the apocalypse. Stories about how the world came together, how people were empowered, and how life continues in a regenerative society.

In the green building field, we’re privileged to have frameworks to guide our activities, and we can see the enormous positive impact we have. We must scale up what we do, push boundaries, and move the goalposts. Remember when Four Star Green Star seemed unattainable? Now the stretch is for Net Zero and regenerative buildings. We must push our clients, our professional teams, and our local authorities.

I believe the GBC/green building movement is one of the most powerful organisations in the effort to stabilise the climate. We share knowledge, stimulate innovation, deliver on-the-ground solutions, and demonstrate what can be achieved. We lobby for change. And we influence attitudes over an enormous value chain.

Congratulations GBCSA on 15 years! And well done and thank you to all the directors, staff, sponsors, members, and supporters whose involvement made those 15 years possible!

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