As a rather unusual year draws itself to a close, we find ourselves celebrating in this issue of +Impact Magazine. GBCSA made a bold decision to go ahead with their annual Green Building Convention at the end of October 2020, but took the whole thing online – immersing us in a digital world of virtual presentations and 3D avatars. As might be expected, being the first in the world to run an online convention of this scale and on this particular platform, there were some tiny technical hiccups, one of which led to my avatar getting stuck in a lift somewhere in that 3D world and never coming out! All the same, it was an excellent (and fun) convention. As always.
The programme was filled to the brim with inspiring speakers from all over the world, who didn’t have to travel further than their living room sofa. And, dare I say, I’m sure a few of the delegates attended in pyjamas. Wise words were spoken, thought-provoking questions were asked, and we left feeling encouraged despite the challenges that the year has held for many.
In terms of celebrations, the 2020 GBSCA award winners were announced on the final day (sadly sans the gala dinner and revelry), proving that despite it being a difficult year, it has still been possible to make strides towards a greener built environment. Of noteworthy mention is South Africa’s first Net Positive certifications, achieved by Hotel Nieu (Carbon) and House Baldwin-Ragaven (Waste). These projects were recognised with Non-Standard: Net Zero awards for pushing the envelope. The rest of the winners can be viewed in our awards feature.
GBCSA’s CEO, Lisa Reynolds, shares a thought-provoking piece on South Africa’s (official) green building heritage, since the GBCSA’s inception in 2007. It’s interesting, and exciting, to see that the growth is exponential. It took two years to certify the first Green Star-rated building in South Africa – Nedbank Head Office Phase 2 – but the last five years have seen 100 certifications awarded per year. And climbing! 2021 will see the launch of the long-awaited Version 2 of GBCSA’s new build rating tool, as well as the official launch of the residential rating tool, which will broaden the market for green buildings significantly.
Plus, there’s more! Read on to discover the green shoots grown by those in the sector who continue to plant and sow sustainable seeds, despite the crisis that 2020 has presented them. In 2007, the GBCSA planted a seed which became a green shoot, which is now a tree that provides shade and shelter to the built environment. May its boughs grow strong, and its canopy reach far, as we navigate the shift into 2021.