Growthpoint Properties has made an ambitious commitment to sustainability, energy efficiency and green building, to coincide with Buildings Day at COP21 in Paris today.
South Africa's largest publicly-traded REIT has committed to boost its solar energy generation, make all its 184 office buildings energy and water efficient, and ensure all its long-term office investments and new developments are certified green buildings.
Rudolf Pienaar, Growthpoint Divisional Director: Office Sector, who is also a Director of the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and Deputy Chairman of the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) says setting clear, measurable environmental sustainability commitments is a vital part of what Growthpoint's does in its office portfolio.
A total of 25 Green Building Councils from around the world unveiled national commitments to transform the sustainability of their buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure the building and construction industry plays its part in limiting global warming to 2 degrees.
The commitments were made at Buildings Day - the official COP21 meeting led by Ségolène Royal, the French Minister of Ecology and former presidential candidate.
As a Platinum Founding Member of the GBCSA, Growthpoint's commitment supports this.
Growthpoint owns or co-owns the largest portfolio of certified green buildings of any company in South Africa. It is a JSE Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index company and a Dow Jones Sustainability Index company. It owns and manages a diversified portfolio of 471 properties in South Africa, 53 properties in Australia through its investment in Growthpoint Properties Australia (GOZ) and a 50% interest in the properties at V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Growthpoint's consolidated property assets are valued at over ZAR100 billion.
Norbert Sasse, CEO of Growthpoint, comments: "Sustainability is at the core of our business imperatives at Growthpoint. This includes environmental, social and economic sustainability. Green buildings form a major part of our strategy, and resource efficiency is a priority for all our property assets. In this way we create places where businesses, communities and our world can thrive." As part of Growthpoint's commitment to increasing the percentage of renewable energy its buildings consume, it is dedicated to growing its solar energy generation.
Commenting on Growthpoint's rooftop solar farms that harness energy from the abundant South African sunshine, Pienaar says: "We have identified over 70 buildings for solar PV installations. Growthpoint has already approved rooftop solar capable of generating 6MWp. Some of these projects are already complete, while others are under construction."
Growthpoint's large shopping centres and industrial properties are part of its solar commitment, too.
While it has been Growthpoint's goal to only develop office buildings that will achieve at least a 4-Star Green Star SA rating from the GBCSA for some time now, the company is also focused on the green performance of it significant portfolio of standing office buildings.
Growthpoint has committed that, by 2020, all its office investments will be above the Energy and Water Performance Rating Tool benchmark, and all its long-term office investments will achieve at least a 4-Star Green Star SA GBCSA Existing Building Performance certification.
Buildings currently account for around one third of global emissions. But green building is one of the most cost-effective solutions to climate change, which generates significant environmental, economic and societal benefits.
Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council, says: "The GBCSA, and member companies like Growthpoint, demonstrate real leadership on green buildings by launching ambitious commitments for these critical climate change negotiations in Paris.
"We know how to build bigger and bigger. The challenge is to build bigger and better. And it is commitments like these that will help to transform the global buildings industry so that not only is a 2 degree world possible tomorrow, but we can realise the benefits from this new way of building – today."