Green Star certification for 50th SA building

first_img10 March 2014 The Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) has certified auditing firm Ernst & Young’s new headquarters in Johannesburg as the 50th green building on its Green Star SA rating system, the organisation announced last month. The council, established in 2007, uses a voluntary rating system which sets standards and provide clear guidelines as to what constitutes a “green building”. The Green Star SA is based on the internationally recognised Australian Green Star rating system and has been customised for South Africa. “We are absolutely thrilled by the uptake in green building in South Africa,” GBCSA CEO Brian Wilkinson said in a statement. “In the past few months the number of buildings that have been certified, or which have applied for certification, has increased exponentially – with 20 buildings being certified in 2013 alone.” Nine government buildings have been certified, including the six-star Department of Environmental Affairs head office in Pretoria, the five-star Sisonke district office in Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal, and the five-star National English Literature Museum in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. The system encourages developers and architects to minimise the environmental impacts of their developments. Among other things, it rewards projects for reducing waste sent to landfill, and for building designs that yield reduced energy and water consumption and lower operating costs. Buildings are rated using a sliding scale, from the six-star Green Star SA certification, which indicates “world leadership”, to five stars for “South African excellence” and four stars for “best practice”.Government leading by example “The support has been widespread, but of most significance is the take-up of Green Star SA by government bodies and big businesses from banks to property developers,” Wilkinson said, adding that the government, as the country’s largest owner and operator of property, played an influential leadership role. “It’s encouraging to see the country’s leadership take up international best practice when it comes to green buildings, and we are delighted that there are nine government buildings certified to date. One of the only three 6-star buildings to be certified so far in South Africa is also in this category.” center_img The business case for green building According to construction company McGraw and Hills’ World Green Building Trend survey (2013), 51% of South Africa firms expect to be building green by 2015, most notably in the commercial markets, where companies are recognising that green buildings can produce measurable financial value. “Developers have identified that there are clear environmental benefits for building green as well as a compelling business case,” Wilkinson said. “Going green is not just about the environment; the bottom-line benefits of building and operating green buildings are particularly important considering South Africa’s rising energy costs and water scarcity – coupled with lower risks, improvements to employee productivity and, ultimately, better investment returns and higher property valuations.” South African banks with Green Star-rated buildings include Nedbank, with one 5-star and two 4-star rated buildings, Standard Bank with its five-star office development in Rosebank, Johannesburg, and Old Mutual and Firstrand Bank, with their joint initiative five-star Portside building in Cape Town. Other notable Green Star-rated buildings in the country include the six-star Vodafone Site Solutions building in Midrand, Johannesburg; the five-star DSTV City in Randburg, Johannesburg; the five-star Chevron Project Core building in Cape Town; and the No 1 and No 2 Silo buildings in Cape Town (six-star and four-star respectively). Several buildings belonging to commercial property developers have also achieved Green Star status, including Shepstone & Wylie’s four-star 24 Richefond Circle building in Durban, and Growthpoint Properties’ four-star Lincoln on the Lake and Mayfair on the Lake developments in KwaZulu-Natal. Because developers have kept increasing utility costs, potential carbon taxes and stricter regulations in mind when it comes to rental premises, they have recognised that green buildings can fetch lease premiums and retain tenants for longer than conventional buildings, the GBCSA says. South African tenants are also increasingly demanding green buildings, as they provide a healthier and more productive indoor environment and reduce the consumption of energy and other resources. “Globally, the built environment is responsible for one-third of all carbon emissions, and with global warming a very real concern that affects us all, a shift in focus to green building is something that should be foremost in everyone’s minds – from government to developers to the average man in the street,” Wilkinson said. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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How Green Is Your Meat?

first_imgI was thinking about what to throw on the grill this weekend when my friend Bill Beasley sent me an E-mail about the greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of various types of meat. I had generally understood there was a “bovine flatulence problem” with eating beef and that it was better to choose chicken or lamb for the grill. But Bill had gone the extra mile to put numbers to the green house gas impact of commercially raised chicken as compared to Beef, Pork, and Lamb.What he discovered made him decide to become a vegetarian…Beef cattle produce methane (CH4) mostly from enteric fermentation, meaning digestion (and flatulence), and a little from manure management (not free-range). Their total annual methane output in 2007 was 102.4 Terra-grams carbon dioxide equivalent (Tg CO2 eq.)Due to methane’s long shelf life (mixes well and hangs around longer), it is estimated that for equal quantities, it is 23 times more damaging to our atmosphere than CO2. We have 96 million cattle to 300 million people in America, 3 humans per cow.Comparing this to 2007 US transportation emissions and to our residential housing industry’s annual emissions one can summarize (again, just comparing CH4 to CO2 emissions)…Transportation CO2: 1,887 Tg CO2 eq.Residential CO2: 341 Tg CO2 eq.Beef cattle CH4: 102 Tg CO2 eq.Our consumption of beef is equivalent to 30% of all residential GHG production, or 5% of all transportation GHG production!So I’ll be cutting way back on the steaks and burgers this summer.But what about other meats? Bill calculated the GHG contribution per pound of chicken, lamb, and pork from both the life cycle of the animal and the disposal of the manure.As expected, poultry is the lowest GHG emitter, with 277 Mega-Grams eq./ million pounds (Mg CO2 eq/ 1M) lbs of meat. And beef cattle are the worst, with 1,741 Mg CO2 eq/ 1M lbs of meat, so beef has 6.3 times the GHG impact of chicken.Second on the list is lamb, with 356 Mg CO2 eq/ 1M lbs of meat or 1.3 times the GHG impact of poultry. Most lamb is pasture raised, with very low methane production related to their manure, and virtually no antibiotics and pesticides involved. So, considering animal cruelty and the health of your family, that marinated, butterflied leg of lamb is looking pretty appetizing.Pork barbeque, my local favorite here in NC, doesn’t fare so well with 1,121 Mg CO2 eq/ 1M lbs of meat, or 4.1 times the GHG impact of poultry. But this is largely due to the factory farm management process with over 90% of it’s methane coming from the hog waste lagoons.But many small family farms are now producing pasture-raised, antibiotic-free pork. If we assume that pork raised in this way has about twice the waste-related methane as lamb, then we can calculate that it would come in at 125 Mg CO2 eq/ 1M lbs of meat, or half the GHG impact of chicken.What to drink with it? Consider a glass of the greenest beverage.I can see the marketing slogan already:“Pasture-raised pork, the other green meat.”last_img read more

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Federal government will match charity donations for Rohingya refugees

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal government said Tuesday it will match private donations made until the end of this month to help ease Bangladesh’s massive burden in coping with refugees fleeing from Myanmar.International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said Bangladesh is now home to the world’s largest refugee camp, with over 900,000 Rohingya and other minorities driven out of Myanmar by ethnic cleansing.As a result Canada will match, dollar-for-dollar, any donation between Aug. 25 and Nov. 28 to Canadian charities helping in the Rohingya refugee crisis, she said.The government will make its matching donations to the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund.An additional 600,000 Rohingya, nearly 70 per cent of them women and children, have fled to Bangladesh since August, Bibeau said.“We need to respond not only to basic needs like water, food and shelter but offer sexual and reproductive health service for 20,000 pregnant women.”Psychological support is also needed for women and children who have survived sexual violence on their journey, the minister added.Zia Choudhury, the country director of CARE Bangladesh, said there is a massive need for food, shelter, safe water, medical services and toilets.“Also, a huge number of women who experienced or witnessed gender-based violence, need treatment and counselling,” said Choudhury.“So far, more than 22,000 orphan children have been registered, who need specialized service and care.”Zaid al-Rawni, of Islamic Relief Canada, said there’s only one explanation for the low percentage of men fleeing Myanmar.“Men are either being rounded up, or in some cases, the women I spoke to, they’re saying the men from their villages are being targeted for extrajudicial killings. That’s what we’re hearing from the refugees.”Canada has committed more than $25 million in humanitarian assistance funding for Bangladesh and Myanmar so far this year. It has also dispatched Bob Rae, the former interim Liberal leader, to the region as a special envoy.Pat Laberge, of the Canadian Red Cross, said the funding will go a long way to relieve suffering, particularly among female refugees.“Families are arriving at hospitals and camps after travelling for as many as 14 days. They’re exhausted, distressed and traumatized,” she said.Al-Rawni, also the spokesman for the broader Humanitarian Coalition of aid agencies, said that without the money, lives will be lost.“Without this intervention from the Canadian government … the next news story, which will be on our news cycle will be about the number of children who are dead because of a cholera outbreak.”The United Nations has asked for more than $434 million in response to the crisis, but remains well short of the goal.last_img read more

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