/ 8 July 2020

Balwin properties and Absa launch South Africa’s first green home loan

The Absa Eco Home Loan is another milestone in Balwin’s sustainable development drive


  • Balwin Properties and Absa have partnered to deliver South Africa’s first green home loan, the Absa Eco Home Loan.
  • Absa’s Eco Home Loan will come with features and benefits that will excite customers looking to live green.
  • Balwin customers are set to reap financial benefit from Africa’s largest green Edge registration.
  • An industry first, the Absa Eco Home Loan is another milestone in Balwin’s sustainable development drive and in Absa’s commitment to shaping the industry in a meaningful way.

JSE-listed Balwin Properties Limited (Balwin Properties or the Company) and Absa Group Limited (Absa) today launched South Africa’s first green home loan, the Absa Eco Home Loan.

The announcement follows on Balwin’s Edge (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiency) registration in June 2019 of over 16 000 units, a world first. The conceptualisation and launch of the Eco Home Loan is another milestone in the Company’s ongoing commitment to sustainable development and delivering quality green buildings through innovation.

“Balwin Properties is a proudly South African residential development company. We pride ourselves on developing affordable, eco-friendly apartments and strive to be national leaders in building green. Our valued clients reap the benefit of this,” explains Steve Brookes, CEO and founder of Balwin Properties.

“The idea of a green home loan was inspired by the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Green Bond. I was impressed by how much they have achieved in driving climate-smart investment and saw an opportunity to extend this philosophy to our customers. So, my team and I set-out to find a like-minded, innovative partner with the right technical expertise and delivery capabilities to develop such a product. Absa was an obvious choice for us,” Brookes adds.

Geoff Lee, Managing Executive of Absa Home Loans, says: “We were very excited when Balwin approached us with this opportunity, because the Absa Eco Home Loan is testament to our commitment to create products and offerings that are centred on what the customer and the future of residential property needs. We have recognised that sustainable living is a priority for our customers and so it must be a priority for us. As a systemic lender that is committed to housing the nation and shaping the industry in a meaningful way, it is our privilege to be able to contribute to making our society and our sector more sustainable.”

In June 2019 Balwin Properties announced it had registered over 16 000 units across seven of its built-to-sell and three of its green developments rated as Edge certified by the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA). The IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, confirmed that Balwin Properties’ Edge registration of over 16 000 units was a global first, covering more homes than any single property developer in the world to date. Edge certification for new homes is implemented in South Africa by GBCSA in partnership with IFC.

“Over the years we have introduced several innovations to make our developments more energy efficient, helping our customers manage their carbon footprint while reducing the burden of the cost of energy. Now our customers can apply for an Absa Eco Home Loan, an added benefit of purchasing an Edge certified Balwin Properties home,” continues Brookes.

The Absa Eco Home Loan will be launched at Balwin’s Edge certified lifestyle estate, The Reid.

IFC was one of the earliest issuers of green bonds, launching a Green Bond programme in 2010 to help catalyse the market and unlock investment for private sector projects that support renewable energy and energy efficiency. An innovation of the IFC, Edge was created to respond to the need for a measurable solution to prove the financial case for building green, and to help jumpstart the proliferation of green buildings. The Edge standard is set at a minimum of 20% reduction across energy consumption, water usage and embodied energy in materials.

“The release of the Absa Eco Home Loan is an exciting first step towards increasing accessibility to green homes. This is one of the most important catalysts for green homes since the launch of the Edge rating tool in 2015,”adds Grahame Cruickshanks, Managing Executive for Market Engagement at GBCSA.

“Using the Edge software, we now have a cost-effective planning tool that helps us build green based on occupant behaviour, building type and the local climate. Importantly, Edge registration provides our environmentally conscious buyers and tenants with the assurance that they are minimising their own environmental footprint while saving on utility costs over the long term. Absa’s Eco Home Loan enhances the benefits of Edge certification by lowering the cost of finance for our customers,” concludes Brookes.


Balwin is a specialist, niche, national large-scale, residential property developer focused on the turnkey development and sale of sectional-title apartments as well as surrounding infrastructure, in the mid to upper market segment. Estates typically consist of between 500 and 1 500 one, two and three-bedroom sectional title residential apartments and are in high-density, high-growth nodes across key metropolitan areas in Johannesburg, Tshwane, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. For more information visit: www.balwin.co.za


Absa Group Limited (Absa Group) is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups. Absa Group offers an integrated set of products and services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management and insurance.  Absa Group has a presence in 12 countries in Africa, with approximately 40 000 employees. The Group’s registered head office is in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it owns majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa (Absa Bank), Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia.  The Group also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria, as well as insurance operations in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia, and an International Representative Office in London.  For further information about Absa Group Limited, please visit: www.absa.africa

International Finance Corporation

IFC — a sister organisation of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group — is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. It works with more than 2 000 businesses worldwide, using its capital, expertise and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, IFC delivered more than $23-billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit: www.ifc.org.


An innovation of IFC, Edge helps property developers to build and brand green in a fast, easy and affordable way. Edge is supported by free software that encourages solutions to reduce energy, water and the energy used to make building materials by at least 20%, which is the standard for Edge registration. The programme has been generously supported by the following donors: Austria, Canada, Denmark, ESMAP, EU, Finland, GEF, Hungary, Japan, Switzerland and the UK. For more information, visit: www.Edgebuildings.com.

Green Building Council South Africa

Founded in 2008, the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) is one of over 80 members of the World Green Building Council. It exists to inspire the property industry to design, build, operate and tenant better, greener buildings. GBCSA operates in the commercial, residential and public sectors. Its aim is to work with its membership community to transform the built environment into a space in which people and the planet can thrive. It strives to preserve the planet for future generations and do this through advocacy, membership, certification and training. The GBCSA is the official certification body for Green Star, EWP and Edge residential projects. For further information, visit: www.gbcsa.org.za