A guide to developing net zero carbon buildings launched in South Africa

GETTING TO ZERO: A guide to developing net zero carbon buildings in South Africa provides a thorough overview on local net zero carbon buildings. Offering guidance to professional teams considering developing a net zero carbon building, it shows those shaping South Africa’s built environment that it is possible.

Considered ambitious, it is certainly achievable. The
project was sparked by engagement between the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating
and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the eThekwini Energy Office. The
guide is a collaborative production let by the ASHRAE South Africa Chapter with
input from the C40 South Africa Buildings Programme, Sustainable Energy Africa
(SEA) and the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).

GETTING TO ZERO provides a comprehensive guide to:

  • Achieving a building’s net zero carbon status by
    reducing energy consumption as much as possible and providing the building’s
    minimal energy needs through renewable energy.
  • Taking property sustainability to the next level
    ahead of regulatory changes which will make higher efficiencies in buildings
  • Practical tips on how net zero carbon can be
    achieved. From identifying the right people to have on your project team to the
    actual energy use intensity of lighting and mechanical equipment and, renewable
    energy considerations to bear in mind for your project.

The guide features numerous case studies, showcasing
projects that have achieved net zero carbon status. These projects provide inspiration
and share learning to motivate those seeking to make net zero carbon a reality.

In a local context

GETTING TO ZERO emphasizes that building energy use
intensity should be about one-third of current standard practice in South
Africa. It advises the ways in which to reduce the energy use intensity through
passive design, building stimulation and highly efficient active design or
mechanical equipment and appliances.

It details the most effective passive design strategies to use in South Africa. When implementing active systems such as air conditioning, it provides the pros and cons of different systems and the guidance on choosing the most effective systems for certain regions in South Africa. It also highlights some of the intricacies of the renewable energy landscape.

The imperative

Reliance on fossil fuels to power buildings and cities
damages the health of our people and our environment. The building sector has
the potential for significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions at a lower
cost than many other sectors.

The motivation for net zero carbon buildings is driven by South Africa’s national and local climate change commitments, included the C40 Global Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration. Johannesburg, Tshwane, Cape Town, and eThekwini are C40 cities and signatories to the 2018 declaration, alongside twenty-four other global cities. These cities have committed to developing regulations and/or planning policy to ensure new buildings operate at net zero carbon by 2030 and all buildings each net zero carbon status by 2050.

Meeting these commitments will require a step change in
building energy efficiency policies and regulations in most cities. The biggest
challenges facing the update of net zero buildings are challenges of perception,
technical challenges and financial challenges which are all rapidly being

It is possible to achieve net zero carbon buildings. It requires
determination and enabling building standards, bylaws, and policies to make it
happen at scale. Critical mass of net zero carbon buildings is required to meet
political and planetary climate goals.

Source: Propertywheel.co.za | https://propertywheel.co.za/2020/08/a-guide-to-developing-net-zero-carbon-buildings-launched-in-south-africa/

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