By rewarding measurable improvements to a building’s environmental performance, green building rating systems create market incentives that are transforming building industry practices globally.
Yet for GBCs operating in developing country contexts with large-scale social and economic challenges such as poverty, poor public health, unemployment and lack of skills and education, focusing only on environmental outcomes has not been enough. A more sustainable built environment can help to address these issues, and the World Green Building Council and GBC South Africa have worked together to develop a framework that enables these more complex socio-economic issues to be integrated into any green building rating system in the world.
Now, we’re pleased to announce that the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has certified its first project under the Socio-Economic Category (SEC) Pilot in Africa. The Karl Bremer Office Block in Cape Town is a 5-Star Green Star SA rated building that achieved its SEC Pilot rating by incorporating job creation, economic opportunity, skills development and health and safety in its design and construction, as well as working to minimise environmental impact.
Socio-economic considerations are especially relevant in Africa and other developing nations, and are an important factor in ensuring a building is not just environmentally sustainable, but socially sustainable, too. The SEC Pilot is a world first for rating tools, and is paving the way for assessing how green buildings not only benefit the environment, but can also have a positive effect on business and people. We look forward to seeing many more such certifications around the world.