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Net Zero

This tool encourages sustainable building practices and supports the transition towards a low-carbon future in the built environment.

A framework designed to evaluate and certify buildings based on their net zero carbon emissions. It assesses various aspects of a building’s design, construction, and operation to ensure that it minimises carbon emissions throughout its lifecycle, ultimately aiming for a balance between the amount of carbon emitted and the amount removed from the atmosphere.

Join us in accomplishing our net zero carbon objective

All new buildings
to achieve net zero carbon operation by


100% of buildings
to achieve net zero carbon operation by


We share this goal with the World Green Building Council and aim to attain it through more than mere reduction – we strive for regeneration. Our Net Zero Carbon rating tool is in line with global efforts to combat climate change and limit global warming to below 1.5ºC.

What are Net Zero or Net Positive rated projects?

These projects encompass both new and existing buildings, as well as fit-out projects. Certification is granted to projects that surpass partial reductions, demonstrating their commitment to achieving complete neutrality or even positive redress of environmental impacts.

Projects are able to achieve Net Zero/Net Positive Ratings in:





Net Zero/Net Positive is a methodology that can accelerate GBCSA’s end goal of complete market transformation and is about inspiring the end goal now.

This means a highly energy-efficient building. It gets most of its energy from renewable sources which are ideally on-site, and potentially off-site. The goal is to have no net carbon emissions each year. In some cases, it might even produce more energy than it uses.
Here, we're talking about a building that's designed to use significantly less water, both in its construction and ongoing operation. It also treats, recycles and reuses water so that the amount it uses matches the amount it produces. In some cases, it might even produce more water than it uses.
This is about making a building that excels at reducing, reusing, and recovering its waste. This waste would be converted into valuable resources with zero solid waste sent to landfills. In some cases, the building might even take waste from other places and put it to good use, instead of just dumping it in a landfill.
This is about the impact of a building on its surrounding ecology. For new sites (greenfield sites), this means not harming the natural surroundings when building so that they retain their ecological value. And for developments on existing sites (brownfield sites), 
it's about improving the environment and increasing the ecological value so that the effect is net positive.
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Net Zero Principles

GBCSA has developed a set of pathways for projects to pursue net zero, based on international best practice:

Understanding the Net Zero Rating Tool

GBCSA offers two distinct Net Zero Carbon ratings: 

  • Modelled ratings are based on predicted consumption over a 12-month period, according to the building’s design.
  • Measured ratings are operational assessments for existing buildings, relying on actual performance data over the same timeframe.

Level 1 and Level 2 Ratings:

The Net Zero Carbon certification distinguishes between two levels based on the carbon measurement boundary. Level 2 extends beyond Level 1 by incorporating not only base building emissions but also operational energy use by occupants. Your AP is best positioned to advise which Level is most appropriate for the particular point in your buildings’ sustainability journey and can outline what is included, or excluded, in each of these in detail.

South Africa’s National Development Plan Vision 2030 details that the plan is to “Progressively strengthen the energy efficiency criteria set out in the South African National Standard 204 to achieve a zero carbon building standard by 2030.”

We’re here to support your green building journey

Our Certification FAQ might be useful, or reach out to us for any queries.

We are with you every step of the way. 

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