EES - October 2010

October 2010

It's time for technology and construction to talk

"If we in South Africa are to consider ourselves an industrialized nation and ensure we are able to support a sustainable, growing economy, which encourages foreign investment, we will need to invest heavily in infrastructure."

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IT for intelligent building notches up Green points

It is probably fair comment to state that we are living on the cusp of a Green technology revolution. But before we get too shaken up by revolutionary ideals, let's take a look at what it's all about.

A Green building is a building constructed in such a way that it mitigates ongoing negative environmental impact. How to define and assess the Greenness of a building was considered highly subjective, until the US Green Building Council (USGBC) introduced the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) rating system in the United States in 1998. Following on from this our very own Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) introduced its own system in South Africa in 2008, the Green Star SA rating tool.
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From My Pen

Going green

As mentioned in the previous 'From my Pen', crucial to future growth and infrastructural development is energy, with an emphasis on achieving energy efficiency and environmentally sound, sustainable energy practices that adhere to global green principles.

However talk is cheap. It is all very well to claim that an infrastructure is 'going green', but this needs to be measured in a tangible manner, and proved. We must be able to audit a facility and then measure it against others.

Going a long way towards doing this is the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), which introduced a rating system, the Green Star SA rating tool, in 2008. This is a similar concept to the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) rating system which has been in place in the United States for over ten years, and provides the construction industry with an objective measurement for assessing the Greenness of a building.

An essential means to scoring green points for the Green Star SA rating tool, is Information Technology (IT), which enables stakeholders to obtain building intelligence. However a barrier in the implementation of new technology, is the lack of communication between technology and construction sectors. Its time for technology and construction to talk right from the initial infrastructure design stages.

It is the progressive companies who are open to new concepts and understand the need to communicate with players in fields other than their own, who will contribute to sustainable, infrastructural development, and benefit generations to come.

Bradley Hemphill
Managing Director