In the 2023 Budget Speech and in recognition of government’s role in encouraging adaptation and mitigation, Minister Godongwana announced two tax measures to encourage businesses and individuals to invest in renewable energy and increase electricity generation.

From 1 March 2023, businesses will be able to reduce their taxable income by 125% of the cost of an investment in renewables. There will be no thresholds on the size of the projects that qualify, and the incentive will be available for two years to stimulate investment in the short term.

Secondly, a new tax incentive for the installation of rooftop solar panels was introduced: individuals who install rooftop solar panels from 1 March 2023 will be able to claim a rebate of 25% of the cost of the panels up to a maximum of R15 000. This can be used to reduce their tax liability in the 2023/24 tax year (for this period only).

Government will guarantee solar-related loans for small and medium enterprises on a 20% first-loss basis through the Energy Bounce Back Scheme that will be launched by National Treasury in April 2023.

The minister spoke about the considerable risks that climate change poses to sustainable economic growth in South Africa. We are among the most water-scarce countries in the world, and recent events have shown that extreme weather events such as floods, heatwaves and drought are occurring more often. Don’t miss Five ways green buildings save water on page 60.

Infrastructure investments lay the foundation for inclusive and sustainable growth; they address supply-side constraints and expand access to basic services. Overall, the public sector is projected to spend R903-billion on infrastructure over the medium-term. Most of this, around R448-billion, will be spent by state-owned companies, public entities and through public-private partnerships.

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is the largest property owner in South Africa, spending up to R8-billion in water, electricity and waste expenditure each year. The Integrated Renewable Energy and Resource Efficiency Programme (iREREP) is the public sector’s renewable energy plan. It has up to 320MW of clean energy procured per annum and will attract private sector capital investment of between an initial R120-billion and R253-billion to 2050.

With sustainability embedded into its strategy, being a responsible business is at the heart of Liberty Two Degrees’ (L2D) purpose. “Through our strategic building block Good Spaces, which aims to minimise the impact of our assets on the environment, we have various initiatives in place to reduce our impact, contributing to our green building strategy,” says Brian Unsted, L2D asset management executive and head of Good Spaces (page 12).

Best practices, and the certifications that standardise them, need to continuously push boundaries for the built environment to consistently achieve better levels of performance. And so, the process of assembling a task force to advance the existing GBCSA Green Star New Buildings tool started in late 2021. The New Build V2 is aimed at Transforming Tomorrow (page 20).

GBCSA partnered with International Finance Corporation to facilitate certification using the EDGE tool in Africa. The tool was developed to provide scaleable green building standards through an online software platform. In this issue, we feature KwaZulu-Natal’s development Aurum Zimbali Lakes which applied for EDGE certification (page 54) and Rubicon’s new headquarters designed to qualify for an EDGE Advanced Certification (page 30).

What are the processes, digital tools and advancements that will change the way we occupy and build cities 50 years from now? Turn to page 58 for a glimpse into the future.

Transform tomorrow!

Alexis Knipe