Green Building Council – What It Means for Namibia

SUSTAINABLE development is defined as: “development in which resource use aims to meet present human needs while preserving the environment for generations to come.”

As the world is moving closer to an all-encompassing pursuit of sustainability, the construction industry should not be left behind. Large corporate clients and international funding agencies are beginning to insist on good environmental performance as a prerequisite for their projects.

Hitherto, the attempt at environmentally sustainable or “green” buildings has been rather a hit and miss affair, with the results dependent on the individual building owner or design consultant’s commitment to and knowledge of green issues.

So-called “green” buildings have had as little as a few solar water heaters or as much as the full gamut of renewable energies to justify their claims to sustainability. This leaves the public in confusion as to the meaning of “green building” and has an aerse impact on the environment itself.

However, the formation of the Green Building Council of Namibia (GBCNA) offers a solution to this conundrum. Modelled on national green building councils elsewhere, the GBCNA is an independent, non-profit trust funded by membership fees and income from training programmes and assessments. GBCNA is a member of the World GBC and is registered with the High Court of Namibia.

The primary activity of the GBCNA is to operate a “Green Building Rating System” for certifying green buildings in Namibia. GBCNA operates the Green Star (GS) SA-Nam Rating System.

The system has many tools such as the tools for retail, residential units, existing buildings, interior designs, public and education buildings, among others. With these tools the GBCNA offers clients, consultant teams and construction companies alike the opportunity to pursue and assess the overall environmental impact of their projects.

Other activities of GBCNA include training and sharing with building professionals and other stakeholders on greening buildings aspects, local and international best practices and bringing leading individuals and companies on green technologies to showcase such in Namibia.

The objectives of Green Star SA tools are to establish a common language and standard of measurement for green buildings promote integrated, whole-building design raise awareness of the benefits of green building recognise environmental leadership and others.

Experience from older GBCs shows that green buildings cost a mere 5% more, compared to conventional buildings.

Going green makes economical sense given the many benefits it brings to building owners, tenants and the environment.

Sustainability is becoming mainstream. Suppliers, contractors, architects and other building professionals cannot afford to lag behind.

The Green Building Council of Namibia offers us a way of achieving that goal faster and better.

For more information on registering a project for certification, training programmes, becoming a member and our upcoming 2014

Source : The Namibian

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