Volume 6, Number 2 - April/May 2011
25 Degrees in Africa - Climate Change
Local construction firms shifting focus to green projects
Globally, the building sector is said to contribute more than one-third of the total energy usage and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in society. Major South African construction companies, such as Group Five and Murray & Roberts, are starting to pursue green practices and projects. This has, in some cases, involved voluntary compliance with the Green Building Council of South Africa’s (GBCSA) Green Star South Africa Office rating tool and the implementation of energy-efficiency and demand side management measures.
Recent media reports have also indicated that some construction companies (including Group Five and Aveng) are moving quite discernibly into renewable energy (RE) developments in the hope that they can secure a share of the renewables allocation under the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity. In this regard, Group Five has set up a specific new unit which deals with RE projects and Aveng has recently appointed an environmental manager for the group. Aveng is particularly positioning itself around wind and solar energy for bids that will emerge in this sector in the near future. Murray & Roberts have also adopted a new environment-friendly asphalt technology (Much Asphalt) that saves energy.
“A few key trends currently pertain to the construction sector as set out by Group Five and as observed by other firms in the sector. These are taking place in terms of complex changes, which are setting the scene for changes in construction practices, an increased focus on the environment and the introduction of greener practices and technologies. However, clarity is required from the South African authorities in terms of environmental priorities as these influence the type of interventions, investment and training in which construction firms need to engage,” reads the case study.
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