International market demand has grown significantly, and is set to double in some regions
Construction industry expectations are that more than 60% of new projects in the next three years will be green, according to statistics released in the World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report.
Published this month by US-based Dodge Data and Analytics, the report shows international market demand for green has grown significantly in the past decade and is poised to double in some regions.
There is a 20-point projected jump for construction companies to report their majority as green projects. The report included 19 countries, with Dodge Data and Analytics industry insights research director Donna Laquidara-Carr saying business benefits – an 8% operating cost saving in the first year and 7% increase in building asset value – is driving the growth. Green Building Council of South Africa chief executive, Dorah Modise, says the impact of buildings and construction on the environment “is astounding”, with the built environment accounting for 20% of the world’s water use and 40% of its electricity.
Green buildings can reduce global carbon emissions by up to a third, and South Africa is a global leader in green building. Green building activity accounts for 41% of projects compared to the 24% global average, while the Green Building in South Africa: Guide to Costs and Trends Report released in 2016 found the average cost premium of building green over conventional construction costs – specifically the green cost premium – varied between 1.1% and 5%.
Combined with the annual MSCI/GBCSA Sustainability Index, Modise says there is evidence consistently showing South Africa’s green buildings yield a higher return on investment.
She says investing in greener offices dramatically impacts on the bottom line by improving employee productivity and reducing absenteeism, staff turnover and medical costs. Earlier studies show green buildings reduce sick leave by 66%, while employees working in green buildings have higher cognitive function scores, fewer sick building symptoms and higher sleep quality.
“The earth’s population is set to double by 2050, requiring a staggering 89 billion tons of natural resources annually – more than double the current demand,” Modise says.
However, she says in a sustainable growth scenario where people wholly live in green buildings, use public transport and power their lives through renewable energy sources, research reflects the world will save 40% of the resources consumed in providing for that growth – equal to today’s demands.
Chris Nelson, president commercial HVAC for Carrier, the study’s premier sponsor, says green buildings provide a triple win – delivering measurable benefits for building owners, occupants and the public from reduced operating costs; improved indoor air quality; and reduced energy consumption. World Green Building Council chief executive Terri Wills says the study, supported by Green Building Councils in five regions, demonstrates the industry views green buildings as impacting beyond only environmental benefits, like increased employee productivity and satisfaction.
Earlier this year Durban-based industrial property development company Shree Property Holdings launched an upmarket R220 million four-star green-rated office complex in Ridgeside Precinct on Umhlanga Ride. At the time Shree chief executive Pran Shree said the iconic office complex symbolised the group’s commitment to bringing to Durban’s commercial space premium-grade office infrastructure – specifically stock a level above the AAAgrade offices developed in Gauteng.