Professor Anthony Turton has long warned of the economic impacts South Africa faces due to its critical water issues. According to Turton, “South Africa became a water-constrained economy in 2002, when the National Water Resources Strategy determined that we had already allocated 98% of our water.” Added to this allocation issue, are the complications of climate change, which has affected the annual run off. In a nutshell, South Africa does not have the water it needs to grow its economy and create jobs.
A trusted source in the building sector in Johannesburg is under no illusions about Gauteng’s watershed fed by the Orange, Tugela, and Vaal rivers. It is at 100% and there is no capacity to increase usage. This water constraint will have severe impacts on buildings that do not have water efficiency measures in place.
Growthpoint sponsored the development of the GBCSA Energy and Water Performance (EWP) tool for benching existing office buildings in 2011. It now uses the GBCSA’s EWP benchmarking to unlock greater resource efficiency at The Terraces in Cape Town. This building achieved a 4 Star Green Star Existing Building Performance (EBP) certification in March 2018, valid for three years. However, since certification, there has been no improvement to its energy and water performance, and thus the focus has shifted to benchmarking it with an EWP certification.
Using the EWP tool to evaluate office buildings is an integral part of Growthpoint’s performance standard. In many cases, an EWP score provides the necessary motivation to retrofit a building or change building management practices. The EWP benchmarking evaluation provides a handy tool to help scale up a building to Green Star rating standards. It is also one of several key factors – including location, tenancy, amenities, and others – that Growthpoint considers when categorising a specific property asset as a long-term hold.
Making its buildings’ EWP scores available on the Growthpoint App empowers the broking community to share this information with potential tenants. Greater resource efficiency inevitably leads to greater cost efficiency and increases the positive impact offices can make on meeting a tenant’s own ESG strategy objectives. Armed with information about how a building’s resource efficiency measures up, tenants can make good decisions about their offices.
“Over the past decade, Green Star certifications have gained greater recognition and desirability among tenants and investors, and they are key to our goal of certifying 20 buildings as net-zero for carbon, water, waste, and ecology, which is an essential element of Growthpoint’s carbon reduction target,” says Grahame Cruickshanks, head of sustainability and utilities at Growthpoint Properties.
“We see EWP as a non-negotiable starting point for benchmarking an office building’s energy and water performance and believe a suitable EWP tool would add tremendous value for industrial and retail properties too. Every building can benefit from a complete benchmarking exercise.”
Over to Emira who assigned WSP to assess their building portfolio in the face of water and energy risks. Emira are leaders in forward thinking and how to improve the rating and performance of a property portfolio. After a full assessment of the portfolio, with its incumbent discoveries, these properties were identified.
Lincoln house is one of the four buildings in the Epsom Downs office park, situated in Bryanston, Johannesburg. It is a two-storey (GF + 1) commercial office building with a gross floor area of 1937.65m². The project achieved 7/10 targeted points for energy and 7/10 targeted points for water, which equates to an overall Energy & Water Performance v1 rating of 14/20 in Round 2.
Lone Creek Building B is situated in Waterfall, Lone creek office park in Midrand, Johannesburg. It is a two-storey commercial office building (GF + 1) with a GLA of 1 252.81m². The project achieved 8/10 targeted points for energy and 2/10 targeted points for water, which equates to an overall Energy & Water Performance v1 rating of 10/20.
Alison Groves, regional director of building services at WSP Africa emphasises how vital it is for building operations managers to have an effective measurement tool that will enable them to assess the water usage of their buildings. As the saying goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Her opinion is mirrored by Cruickshanks who adds, “Working with the EWP tool initiates a shift towards a measurement mindset and inspired the development of our own measuring tools, enabling us to make an even bigger difference as a result. This foundational measurement and information have enormous impact and value at a strategic and operational level.”
Up until now, there has been no explicit requirement to measure water and energy use and although SANS10400-XC is on the horizon; it is relatively far into the future (considering it has been in process for the last 10 years). Groves believes that the EWP will be the first step towards legislation of water consumption in new properties. She emphasises how vital it is: “You need to take responsibility for your water sources as if they are the only water you have, and report leaks and install automated irrigation systems. A running tap left unattended for four days can lose 55 000 litres of water.”
Hlologelo Manthose, sustainability consultant at WSP is enthusiastic about the tool and its capabilities. She says, “The EWP tool helps to assess the type of data the building managers receive and question it and understand what it means in relation to how the building is performing. Often the info has only been used for billing purposes, but this tool helps you assess your building’s performance over time – starting with a baseline to help map the water and energy consumption. This helps identify not just the anomalies and where they have been performing badly but also helps measure improvements against historic building performance. It is a great tool for property managers and facility managers.”
Due in early October, the EWP scores of these buildings will show how they compare to industry benchmarks. The goal is to identify the areas where there is room for improvement, make the improvements and measure their impacts.
The data compiled for the EWP benchmarking process will point to opportunities to improve the water performance of a building through rainwater harvesting and installing recycling measures.
The EWP water score will inform the future-proofing strategy for a building recognising that water security, availability and quality will face significant pressure in the coming years.
For more info: https://gbcsa.org.za/certify/energy-water-performance/
As an early adopter and established leader in green building certification, Growthpoint recognises the value of benchmarks and certifications, even though they are not yet formally used by the property valuation community, which has yet to attribute a clearly defined metric to a green certification in property valuation. This is likely to change as more independent and indisputable evidence emerges supporting certified green buildings’ superior performance and value. The MSCI South Africa Green Annual Property Index, for instance, continues to support the investment case for green-certified offices vs noncertified offices. The green building and real estate communities are working hard with the valuation community to incorporate these benchmarks in valuations.