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Green Star – EBP Custom Industrial pilot rating tool to be a catalyst for greening industrial premises in South Africa

The Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) announces the launch of their new Green Star – Existing Building Performance (EBP) Custom Industrial pilot rating tool.

Sponsored by Growthpoint Properties, the pilot tool is now available for all industrial properties to use.

The South African industrial property sector has grown year on year since the 2020 shutdown (source: StatsSA). This is due, in part, to the rapid rise of ecommerce (driven by the pandemic), which has resulted in increasing demand for logistics and warehousing space. However, as we ‘build better’ after the epidemic, industrial buildings may play an important role in South Africa’s net zero journey as well.

Industrial buildings account for a significant proportion of South Africa’s current building stock. Green industrial buildings with better management and performance have the ability to minimize energy and water consumption, as well as waste-to-landfill output. Furthermore, warehousing and distribution center buildings frequently have the capacity, due to their roof-space-to-energy-use ratio for solar panels, to create more energy than the building requires, allowing them to be energy exporters.

“Industrial buildings, such as warehouses, manufacturing plants, and logistics facilities, play a key role in the smooth running of national and regional economies. It’s vital that these assets are future-proofed for the impacts of a changing climate and the rising costs of energy, water, waste, and emissions, as well as delivering a range of other benefits for their tenants,” explains Errol Taylor, head of Asset Management: Industrial at Growthpoint.

A new custom tool in response to a noteworthy market trend

To positively respond to this market trend and to support the variations of the industrial property market, the GBCSA board directed that the Green Star – EBP rating tool be specifically customized for existing industrial buildings soon.

The GBCSA’s existing Green Star – EBP methodology is intended to reward buildings that are managed sustainably well, can demonstrate good operational performance over a certain time period, and contribute to higher quality spaces for tenants. “When the initial EBP tool was developed, it attempted to take as many building typologies as possible into consideration, but there were limitations, and in practice, it has mostly been applied to the commercial office portion of the market,” explains Georgina Smit, GBCSA’s head of Technical.

The modification process was implemented to guarantee that GBCSA can provide market-standardised rules for energy and water benchmarking of industrial buildings, which do not currently exist in the South African property market. Furthermore, to better serve the market, intricacies surrounding industrial building ownership required to be slightly reassessed within the tool. For example, many single-tenancy leases are triple net leases, which place the tenant in charge of many operational decisions rather than the landlord. “A custom tool is not a new tool; rather, it focuses on customizing an existing tool for a new typology to better suit the functionality and user profile of that typology,” Smit explains.


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