JSE-listed Growthpoint Properties – which owns the biggest portfolio of green star-rated buildings in the country – has set its sights on having all Growthpoint corporate offices operating at net-zero carbon by 2030 and to have all of its buildings achieving net-zero carbon status by 2050.
Growthpoint says it aims to achieve this status by “reducing the energy consumption and associated emissions of its buildings by ensuring they are energy efficient, and having this externally certified”.
It is also introducing additional renewable energy to its property portfolio by installing more solar plants at its buildings.
The real estate investment trust (Reit) announced its plans during a walkabout of its new five-star rated green office building at 144 Oxford Road in Rosebank on Thursday.
According to Growthpoint’s head of sustainability and utilities Grahame Cruickshanks, the addition of a 180kW rooftop solar plant played a pivotal role in not only securing its major tenant Anglo American – which has secured 80% of the building – but also in moving the building from a four-star green rating to a five-star green rating.
“At a time when the building was still speculative and tenants were not confirmed, that added to the attractiveness and marketability of the building. And the tenants that we have in here, certainly the major tenant, felt the green star rating was a big factor in choosing to [be housed here].”
The rooftop solar plant is set to supply about 20% of the building’s energy needs.
Ushering in the age of sustainable mobility
Despite South Africa’s electricity generation capacity woes and the country’s grid being largely fossil-fuel-dependent, Growthpoint, in collaboration with Rubicon Group – which showcased the country’s first Tesla Model X Performance Edition all-electric SUV at the new building – looks to help usher electric vehicles into the country by providing charging stations at its properties where there is a high demand.
“Our innovative collaboration with Rubicon’s Tesla Model X at 144 Oxford demonstrates that buildings are where the rubber hits the road on the journey to carbon reduction,” said Cruickshanks.
“It highlights the direct impacts that a building’s power source can have on reducing carbon emissions, and leaves no doubt that green energy and green buildings are the future.”
“By providing electric vehicle charging stations at buildings in our portfolio where there is demand, particularly our shopping centres, and ensuring that buildings such as 144 Oxford are future-proofed for charging stations, Growthpoint is meeting the mounting demand for electric vehicle charging in SA – and, in many instances, making it possible for more people to plug into a greener grid thanks to solar power in a growing number of our buildings,” said Cruickshanks.
“This also creates awareness about and demand for alternative and environmental-friendly transport.”
Read: Growthpoint: Office market will never be the same due to Covid-19
Raising the profile of renewable energy
Growthpoint and Rubicon believe that combining a high-performance car (Tesla) with a highly-efficient green building will power “a greater awareness of ecological change” in the country.
Read: Government, auto sector look to accelerate new-energy vehicle production in SA
“For more than a decade, Growthpoint has been at the forefront of the movement towards greener buildings and has built a reputation as a leader and innovator in this space,” Growthpoint Properties CEO Estienne de Klerk said in a statement.
“Protecting the natural environment is a critical component of our clearly defined ESG [environmental, social and governance] strategy, which influences our performance for all our stakeholders.”
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