Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

How designing ‘green’ buildings can help to combat the climate crisis

South Africa’s buildings account for 40% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. But the City of Johannesburg’s new draft green buildings policy aims to change that.

The policy is driving the change to a more sustainable built environment through, for example, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The aim is to achieve low to net zero carbon for all new buildings  by 2030. 

“Buildings have a relatively long lifespan of 40 to 120 years, and the building stock in cities is growing rapidly. Significant opportunities exist for decreasing emissions from buildings through reducing energy demand and then supplying remaining energy demand with energy generated from renewable energy sources, such as rooftop solar panels,” says the report.

Although retrofitting buildings with new technologies, such as efficient lighting, can help to reduce energy demand, the actual design of a building can reduce the number of energy services required. 

The draft policy details how residential development is the biggest contributor to Johannesburg’s carbon emissions and to the annual increase in carbon emissions.

Buildings consume energy and water and are also waste producers. They are essential to tackling service-delivery problems if developed in a way that minimises resource consumption. Buildings whose water and power use do not comply with the regulations will be subject to fines and penalties.

Liana Strydom, the  director of regional planning at the City of Johannesburg, said there is urgency in future-proofing the city’s buildings.  

The policy had been developed in a partnership between Sustainable Energy Africa and Cape Town, Jo’burg, eThekwini and Tshwane. The cities signed the 2018 global net-zero carbon buildings declaration as part of a C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group South Africa Buildings Programme

eThekwini recently had its draft green building policy approved by the council for public comment. 

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Sheree Bega
Sheree Bega is an environment reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

Young and jobless? Apply for one of 287 000 education...

Education department urges young, jobless people to apply for teaching assistant vacancies

Officials implicated in arts council mismanagement will be brought to...

The National Arts Council vows that every cent from the sector’s Covid-19-relief programme will be disbursed to artists, after auditors uncover maladministration

Covid-19 vaccine mandates: a constitutional balancing act

South Africa’s laws allow the government to implement mandatory Covid vaccinations but, if it chooses this path, it must do so responsibly

Popularity will not guarantee mayoral selection — Ramaphosa

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has promised a more rigorous mayoral selection process, which will involve the party’s top six
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×