Nedbank on the leading edge of the green building revolution

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Frank Berkeley: Managing Executive of Nedbank Corporate Property Finance. Frank Berkeley: Managing Executive of Nedbank Corporate Property Finance.

While maintaining its leading position in commercial property finance in South Africa, Nedbank Corporate Property Finance has also positioned itself as the trailblazer in terms of the green building movement in the country.

“Climate change poses both risks and opportunities to all parts of the business sector. However, it is estimated that buildings consume 40% of the world’s energy through their construction and ongoing operation. For this reason, Nedbank believes in playing its part in mitigating the risks of climate change, while also tapping into the opportunities that it brings,” comments Frank Berkeley, managing executive of Nedbank Corporate Property Finance. 

There is a business case for building green as well as greening existing buildings. “Going green is not just about the environment,” says Berkeley. “The benefits of building and operating green buildings include reduced operating costs – which are especially important considering SA’s rising energy costs and water scarcity – as well as lower risks, improvements to worker productivity and, ultimately, better investment returns and higher property valuations.” 

Research conducted by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) – who is spearheading the movement in South Africa; is a full member of the World Green Building Council and the official certification body of buildings under the Green Star SA Rating System – indicates that the sustainability of the property sector could be at stake, and green building is a more efficient way of developing and operating buildings. Judging by the rapidly growing demand for green buildings and increasing numbers of tenants prepared to pay higher rentals for ‘green’ premises – green building will, over time, have an impact on conventional building stock. 

According to the GBCSA, by supporting green building practices, the property industry in South Africa can position itself as a leader in addressing some of the most pressing environmental issues, and can also ensure its own sustainability by owning and developing ‘future proof’ buildings – constructing property portfolios which both manage the current and future risks and, simultaneously, tap into the opportunities revealed by fast-growing new global trends.

The GBCSA aims to ensure that all buildings are built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way. According to the association, a green building is a building which is energy efficient, resource efficient and environmentally responsible – it incorporates design, construction and operational practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of development on the environment and occupants.

To date, the GBCSA has awarded Green Star SA Ratings to seven buildings in South Africa, with two of these having achieved both “Office Design” and “Office As Built” ratings. Nedbank Corporate Property Finance has been actively involved in six of these seven buildings, financing six and occupying three. These are:

Nedbank Phase II in Johannesburg (4 Star Green Star SA - Office Design v1, as well as a 4 Star Green Star SA - Office As Built v1 rating);

The Nedbank Ridgeside Office Development  in Umhlanga, Durban (4 Star Green Star SA - Office Design v1);

The The Nedbank Menlyn Maine Falcon Building in Pretoria (4 Star Green Star SA – Office Design v1;

The Aurecon Office Building in Century City, Cape Town (5 Star Green Star SA - Office Design v1);  

Aurecon’s Tshwane offices in the Lynnwood Bridge Office Park, Pretoria (4 Star Green Star  SA - Office Design v1 rating); 

24 Richefond Circle in Umhlanga, Durban (4 Star Green Star SA - Office Design v1, as well as a 4 Star Green Star SA - Office As Built v1 rating) 

This accomplishment is not surprising, given Nedbank’s reputation as the “green” bank and its commitment to sustainability. For example, Nedbank was the first African bank to subscribe to the Equator Principles – a set of international banking guidelines to ensure that projects financed are socially responsible and environmentally sound. Nedbank also established the first conservation partnership with WWF on the African continent, is a member of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiatives (UNEP FI), a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact and a founding member of the UN’s Climate Neutral Network.

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“Across the globe, property owners and developers face the challenge of ‘future-proofing’ their buildings against rising utility prices and costly retrofits,” concludes Berkeley. “Going green is now widely regarded as the smart choice – encompassing sustainability, accountability, aesthetics and crucial profitability. Nedbank is not only at the leading edge of enhancing value, profitability and sustainability through green building practices in our own buildings, we are also ensuring that our clients, and the local property industry as a whole, have access to the latest trends, information and technology through the Green Building Council of South Africa Convention and Exhibition,  allowing them to harness fully the business benefits of green building. 


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