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Department of Public Works Gets Behind South Africa’s Green Building Movement
Despite its young age, there are many indicators that the South African market for green buildings is poised for rapid growth. The sustained development of the market is likely to be ensured should government, non-governmental organisations and the private sector work in collaboration.Despite its young age, there are many indicators that the South African market for green buildings is poised for rapid growth. The sustained development of the market is likely to be ensured should government, non-governmental organisations and the private sector work in collaboration.

Frost & Sullivan believes that last week’s appeal by the Minister of Public Works Geoff Doidge for a greener built environment signifies that the market forces required for the development of the South African green building market are beginning to take shape.

"Our recent analysis of the South African green building market found that this market, whilst still in its infancy, has high potential for growth," says Frost & Sullivan environmental technologies analyst Linda Harding. "The growth in membership of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) indicates that the South African market is responding well to green building initiatives."

Globally, building valuation and certification systems have been shown to support the growth of green building markets, as they provide crucial means for benchmarking and marketing. The primary role of these non-governmental organisations is to stimulate green building awareness and to educate policy makers and the general public about the benefits and savings achievable through green building practices. However, whilst the GBCSA has been instrumental in stimulating awareness in the South African built environment, its ability to enforce change is low.

"The private sector has a strong degree of influence over the growth of the South African green building market, as it comprises both the potential consumers and suppliers of green building products and services," Harding says. "Evidence of early change within the private sector is readily apparent. The South African Council for the Architectural Professionals has expressed its commitment to ensuring that green building is included in architectural curricula at tertiary institutions."

A number of market leaders within the construction materials sector have also introduced green building materials and continue to tailor their product offerings to address a growing local demand. However, most of these early adopters are the market leaders in their respective industries and target large clients to whom social responsibility is a key corporate strategy.

A strong legislative environment, supported by sufficient financial incentives, has been found to be the most important factor in driving and sustaining the development of green buildings markets. Highly developed and rapidly growing green buildings markets, such as those in Asia, are strongly supported by strict legislation and regulatory environments.

"As yet, South Africa does not have any legislation enforcing green initiatives in the built environment," notes Harding. "The announcement by the Department of Public Works, calling for a commitment to green building practices, is therefore a significant step towards the development of the market. The inclusion of minimum energy efficiency levels into the National Building Regulations, expected to be enacted this year, will further support this drive."

Financial incentives in the form of tax credits and exemptions to green building consumers can promote the purchase of green equipment, as well as encourage the innovation and development of product durability and quality from suppliers. However, it is likely that the South African government will be unable to grant any significant financial incentives for many years to come, given the socio-economic needs in the country.

Hence, government should work on changing the perception of built environment professionals and green building market participants alike. This is likely to stimulate the perception of green building as a nation-building opportunity, wherein jobs are created and gross domestic product is increased, and not merely as a social obligation.

"Frost & Sullivan views the ’call for action’ from the Department of Public Works as a crucial and positive step towards stimulating the collaboration of government, the private sector and the GBCSA in order to realise the high growth potential of the South African green building market," Harding concludes.

If you are interested more information on Frost & Sullivan’s analysis of Green Building markets in South Africa, please send an e-mail to Patrick Cairns, Corporate Communications, at, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company e-mail address, company website and country.

About Frost & Sullivan

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Contact: Patrick Cairns Corporate Communications - Africa P: +27 18 464 2402 E:

Source: Frost & Sullivan

South africa

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