What do we do as professionals?

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) provides solutions in delivering rated Green Buildings in our community. The application of these principals to rate a building are intensively technical to achieve a rating with the GBCSA. This is a fantastic beginning to minimize global warming as buildings generally account for 50% of carbon emissions worldwide. When one thinks of large buildings with air conditioning, individual hot water geysers per apartment in a high rise building this is plausible.  In architecture, there is no use applying the green building principals to a building and its site, when there is a threat that its location will be affected by sea level rise or storm surge. We need to plan accordingly and advise our clients on the implications of global warming.

There is also an increasing trend towards the understanding of how the building is related to the larger community. It may seem peculiar but the larger community, the historical threads related to the building site and its surroundings, may give us – as professionals – a better understanding of the complex relationships that buildings  relate to. What this does is give the building a meaningful place in the community. Depending on the outcomes of our research the immediate community may have a sense of ownership of the new development. This involves complex research and investigation into the development precinct and neighbourhood but the results of the exercise could be tangible and enriching for the project as a whole. As professionals, we are required to look at the bigger picture so that our clients are well informed. Sustainable developments require the utmost care and careful consideration as part of the master planning exercise. Why? Sustainable environments mean the best returns for developments and or individual clients. The building itself is future proofed to sustain itself during its lifetime.

Next: The paradigm shift.  

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Ken is a member of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), and is a Green Star SA Accredited Professional. He has also been a member of the Technical Working Group in the development of the Multi Unit Residential Technical Manual for the GBCSA, and is thus actively involved in current discourse and innovation concerning sustainability.

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