Close this search box.

Step inside a winning net zero carbon home

The ‘My Clean Green Home’ design competition called for professionals and students to develop a home that demonstrates sustainable living in action. The winning design can be explored online and will soon be constructed and ready for visiting in person, in Cape Town.

A collaboration between the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) and the City of Cape Town’s Future Energy Festival, the competition brief was to design a net zero carbon home for display and exhibition purposes. The challenge was to create this “mobile” unit for a total construction cost of only R180 000. The unit also needed to be designed to be assembled on site in two days and should be easily constructed and deconstructed using simple fixings and flat pack, modular design elements. Transporting of the unit also needed be considered.

The response to the competition was wonderful, with inventive and excellent quality entries. The judges, Lisa Reynolds (CEO GBCSA), Manfred Braune (Director: Environmental Sustainability University of Cape Town), Ashley Hemraj (Senior Architect: Urban Sustainability Unit City of Cape Town) and Anthony Stroebel (Head of Strategy and Innovation at Pam Golding Property), were impressed with all entries.

The final winning design came from Team Mahali, and Hemraj described the design as “creativity in its simplicity”. He added that it was a very strong and aesthetically pleasing design that blurs the indoor and outdoor space and creates an illusion of a much larger home. A very strong balance between private and open spaces. “The design takes the concept of a clean green home to another level by repurposing waste material into something functional and thus giving new life to old things,” Hemraj said.  

The design for the net zero carbon home incorporates solar power generation, energy efficient appliances, passive cooling, rainwater harvesting and an edible food garden.

The runner-up design came from 2AD Space and was described by the judges as a great proposal with a small, high density unit that made use of an extensive roof area to take advantage of solar energy.

Owing to Covid-19 restrictions, a virtual version of the winning design was created to bring the home to life and make it available to all online here. It’s possible to take a virtual walk through the beautiful net zero carbon home.

Throughout the home there are interactive tips on how to be resource efficient at home. An energy calculator is also available for one to find out how energy efficient your home is and there are resources to help people on the journey to becoming net zero carbon. The resources tab also gives one access to city documents and net zero case studies.

The City of Cape Town, along with Johannesburg, Tshwane, and eThekwini are C40 cities and signatories to the ambitious 2018 C40 Global Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration. This means these cities have committed to developing regulations and/or planning policy to ensure new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030 and all buildings reach net zero carbon status by 2050.

The City of Cape Town notes that buildings consume 38% of the city’s energy and generate 58% of its carbon emissions, showing that climate action in the built environment can make a big difference!

A full-sized pop-up version of Team Mahali’s winning net zero home will be built in Green Point Urban Park in Cape Town. Here visitors can see how the net zero carbon home operates and learn about the possibilities of energy efficient homes. This is expected to be open to the public in early March 2021.

For more information on the GBCSA’s Net Zero rating system click here, or visit our resources content centre where you will find the publication “Getting to Zero: A Guide to developing net zero buildings in South Africa” freely available to download.

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