Close this search box.

The need for collaboration and inclusivity – key takeaways from the 16th Green Building Convention 2023

Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) held the 16th Green Building Convention in Cape Town recently, including the GBCSA Leadership Awards, celebrating remarkable achievements in the green building sector. Held from November 15-17, the gathering brought together industry leaders, experts, and stakeholders committed to advancing sustainability in the built environment. Lead sponsors, Rand Water and Nedbank partnered with GBCSA to make the convention another resounding success.

The event has grown into the largest and most significant built environment conference in South Africa, and hosted 700 professionals, featured more than 100 speakers, workshops, and discussions, showcasing innovative and sustainable initiatives that indicate an extensive commitment to a greener and more sustainable world.

But this needs to include everyone, says GBCSA CEO Lisa Reynolds, reflecting on the strong theme of inclusive sustainability running through many of the presentations: “When GBCSA was established, the goal was focusing on the ‘top 5%’, with the buildings achieving certification indicating a commitment to limiting their impact. But sustainability is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. Anyone who lives in a building is now part of this movement – we are broadening the spectrum and I think that’s exciting.”

A significant milestone, GBCSA’s 1000th certification, awarded to Stellenbosch University’s Visual Arts Building, was celebrated during the convention.

Mbuyiswa Makhubela, General Manager of Corporate Services at Rand Water, expressed appreciation for what he describes as a newfound focus on water, positioning it alongside energy in terms of its importance, and calling for partnerships to influence green building discussions.

Genevieve Naidoo, Divisional Executive: Property and Finance, described the convention as ‘one of a kind’ and commended its progressive approach, praising the quality of speakers, the depth of discussions, and the diverse range of stakeholders involved at the convention.

Polar Explorer Robert Swan, in a gripping keynote speech, stressed the urgency of the journey towards sustainability, with a focus on achievable goals and the necessity of collective efforts.

Dr Sara Candiracci, Associate Director at Arup, highlighted the need for creating inclusive spaces and discussed some of the challenges faced by cities. Huge emphasis was placed on the importance of finding solutions that cater to various age groups and socio-economic conditions.

Dominika Czerwinska, Director of Engagement and Networks at the World Green Building Council, launched the ‘Building a water-resilient future for everyone, everywhere’ paper, addressing the global water crisis and calling for collective action in the building sector.

Offering an interesting perspective on global warming, comedian and OGO Creative Partner in Strategy and Marketing, John Vlismas, says: “We cannot give people clean, limitless energy, as that will kill the planet. In the long run we are helping if we can educate children at a younger age, and if we can incorporate sustainability into the different professions.”

Executive Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis celebrated Cape Town’s A-ranking for climate action and transparency in the 2023 Cities A-List by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) – the only city in Africa to achieve this ranking. He says: “We will be leading the charge, moving to a more decentralised, more cost-efficient, more carbon neutral power supply in the City of Cape Town.”

André Theys, Chair of GBCSA, reflecting on the convention’s success, emphasising the importance of the GBCSA’s mission amid the challenges of climate change denial and alarmism. He outlined plans for future initiatives, including a focus on existing building performance, a potential ‘Green Star Lite,’ and the development of a ‘sustainable home framework’. Despite economic challenges, Theys expressed the need to drive resource efficiency in the built environment and acknowledged the vital role of partnerships in achieving sustainability goals.

A four-minute highlights reel can be viewed on YouTube here: Green Building Convention 2023 Highlights.

Awards were conferred on recipients in the following categories:

Established Green Star:

Recognising continuous contributions to the green building economy.

●      Winner: Simon Penso, Imbue Sustainability

●      Runner-Up: Sally Misplon, Misplon Green Building Consulting

Rising Green Star:

Acknowledging emerging Green Star Accredited Professionals (APs).

●      Winner: Kagiso Sebetso, Time Projects

●      Runner-Up: Elri Syfert, Solid Green Consulting

EDGE Residential Leader:

Recognising excellence in sustainability within the residential sector.

●      Winner: Sagewood Lifestyle Apartments, Century Property Developments; EDGE Expert: WSP; EDGE Auditor: Yvonne Pelser

Highest Rated Building (Asset Rating Design Project):

Awarded to the project with the highest Green Star rating.

●      Winner: HPI d-school Afrika at the University of Cape Town (6-Star Green Star Public & Education Building Design v1. APs: Mlondolozi (Mlo) Hempe and Yogesh Gooljar from PJC + PartnersProperty Owner: University of Cape Town

●      Runner-Up: Nedbank, Namibia (6-Star Green Star Office As Built v1.1)

AP: Elri Syfert, Solid Green Consulting; Property Owner: Nedbank Properties

Highest Rated Building (Existing Operational Performance):

Recognising the project with the highest Green Star rating for operational performance.

●      Winner: Visual Arts, Stellenbosch University (6-Star Green Star Existing Building v1).AP: Simon Penzo from Imbue Sustainability; Property Owner: Stellenbosch University

●      Runner-Up: The Watershed, V&A Waterfront (6-Star Green Star Existing Building Performance v1). APs: Francois Retief and Mellissa Titus from Sow & Reap; Property Owner: V&A Waterfront

Highest Rated Building for African Green Star Submissions:

Awarded to the top African project.

●      Winner: Nedbank, Namibia (6-Star Green Star Office As-Built v1.1). AP: Elri Syfert, Solid Green Consulting; Property Owner: Nedbank Properties

●      Runner-Up: First Capital Bank, Lusaka (5-Star Green Star Office Design v1.1)

Net Zero Submission:

Recognising projects demonstrating commitment to Net Zero goals.

●      Winner: Firmenich – Firsouth (Net Zero – Ecology, Measured). AP: Marc Sherratt, MSSA; Property Owner: Firmenich (Pty) Ltd.

●      Runner-Up: The White Office (Net Zero – Carbon, Level 2 Measured). AP: Alison Groves, WSP; Property Owner: Black Mountain Mining

Best Quality Submission (Asset Rating – New Build, Interiors, Sustainable Precincts):

Awarded for the highest-quality submission.

●      Winner: Bracken Nature Reserve Visitor Education Centre (5-Star Green Star Public & Education Building Design v1). AP: Justine Powrie, Goal Zero Consulting; Property Owner: City of Cape Town

●      Runner-Up: Rewardsco Block A (5-Star Green Star Office Design v1.1). AP: Makhosazna (Khosi) Mthethwa, Solid Green Consulting; Property Owner: Umhlanga Rocks Property Trust

Best Quality Submission (Existing Operational Performance):

Recognising the highest-quality submission for existing operational performance.

●      JointWinners: 29 Springbok Road (4-Star Green Star – Existing Building Performance Custom Industrial Pilot). AP: Sally Misplon, Misplon Green Building Consulting; Property Owner: Redefine Properties


ERPM (4-Star Green Star – Existing Building Performance Custom Industrial Pilot). AP: Sally Misplon, Misplon Green Building Consulting; Property Owner: Redefine Properties

●      Runner-up: Grosvenor Corner (4-Star Green Star – Existing Building Performance v1); AP: Sally Misplon, Misplon Green Building Consulting; Property Owner: Growthpoint Properties

Transforming Tomorrow (Asset Projects):

Acknowledging leaders contributing to industry transformation.

●      Winner: University of Cape Town for The HPI d-school Afrika at the University of Cape Town. (6-Star Green Star Public & Education Building Design v1)

●      Runner-Up: Pick n Pay Clothing for Pick n Pay Clothing, Blue Route (4-Star Green Star Interiors v1)

Transforming Tomorrow (Existing Building Performance):

Recognising leaders in industry transformation for existing buildings.

●      Winner: Stellenbosch University (18 buildings rated using the EBP tool). This award is awarded to a group of 18 Stellenbosch buildings of which 1 was the 1000th Green Star certification.

●      Joint Runners-Up: Redefine Properties (12 EBP Custom Industrial PILOT projects)


Burstone Group (5 EBP Custom Industrial PILOT 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