GREEN BUILDING APPROACH TO URBAN REGENERATION
Updated: Jan 19, 2021
There is much debate about the benefits that green and sustainable building principles promote. TUHF, a commercial property finan
cier and member of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), has long been committed to investing in South Africa’s inner cities and has adopted the green agenda since its inception. Through its membership and engagements with international funding agencies, TUHF has direct exposure to the latest developments in green and sustainable building practices.
As commercial property developers adopt green building practices more frequently, residential developers and property entrepreneurs are beginning to do the same.
Although green building practices were previously considered too expensive, the reality today is that the technology has become more readily available and this is driving costs down, with the return on investment benefits of incorporating green technology becoming clearer. For example, tenants are increasingly considering the cost of utilities when making their overall rental cost decisions and this gives them a more comprehensive affordability comparison.
More and more property entrepreneurs have explored ways in which to contribute to sustainability by creating green assets using things such as heat pumps, solar options and LED lighting. This has become the impetus behind the need to come up with a more formalised green practice, according to Sqiniseko Mbatha, financial analyst at TUHF.
In 2018, TUHF received technical assistance from one of its funders to develop a concept of what a green inner city building would look like. In collaboration with several institutions, TUHF standardised this green build approach and formalised it with the introduction of the Luhlaza Initiative, with the emphasis on extending the economic life of buildings, allowing them to hold their value for longer and giving more value for investors and developers.
Mbatha says that adding green elements to a building has become financially feasible; for example five years ago, LED lighting was considered too expensive but is now virtually part of standard development practice. The market is quickly reaching a point where green is no longer an option, but rather integral to creating a quality asset and retaining tenants.
From the point of view of Covid, green buildings offer enhanced measures to control and prevent the virus by promoting natural light and ventilation in the building design, as well as indoor spatial planning for physical social distancing.
TUHF’s focus is to ensure that the end user benefits the most from green initiatives.