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Thursday Nov 17, 2011

New regulations 'moving South Africa forward strongly towards sustainable building'

In an exciting and significant development that sees all new buildings and refurbishments in South Africa having to comply from 9 November 2011 to minimum standards of energy efficiency, the SABS have developed SANS 10400 part XA - the first of a set of minimum standards for environmental sustainability in new and refurbished buildings.

Manfred Braune, Technical Executive at the Green Building Council of South Africa explains that SANS 10400 part XA essentially tackles how buildings are designed and built by addressing and providing guidelines for minimum requirements for things such as glazing, insulation, shading, orientation and building services, including air-conditioning, hot water and lighting. "The standard gives a few options for proving compliance, which will need to be substantiated with any building plan submitted to a municipality for plan approval."

"The Green Building Council of South Africa welcomes SANS 10400 part XA, and applauds and congratulates the SABS and government for putting a stake in the ground for the first time in terms of minimum energy consumption requirements for new buildings and refurbishments," says Braune. Such regulations have transformed the built environment in countries such as Germany, where their first such standard was introduced in 1975. South Africa can learn from such leading nations and hopefully leapfrog to avoid taking 45 years to get where those nations are now in terms of sustainable design.'

The new SANS 10400 part XA refers in many areas to the SANS 204 guidelines, which have been available in draft format since 2008.

"The GBCSA has supported this South African standard by using SANS 204 as a minimum energy requirement for any projects wishing to seek a Green Star SA certification, as well as using it for the basis of the reference building used in the energy modelling required in Green Star SA - this has allowed early market penetration of SANS 204," says Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council of South Africa.

"The GBCSA wishes to thank and congratulate Howard Harris (past SANS 204 chairperson) and Lisa Reynolds (current SANS 204 chairperson), and the committee, for their valuable role in developing the first standards for energy efficiency in South African buildings - their selfless dedication to this task will be remembered as a watershed moment in the history of South Africa's carbon emissions reductions."

Wilkinson and Braune explain that these new SANS standards do not however address existing buildings, which is where the biggest stock exists. "This is a sector where the GBCSA hopes to play a significant role through its Operational Energy & Water Benchmarking Tool currently under development, to be launched in mid 2012. The GBCSA sees this tool working hand in hand with the SANS 10400 part XA which addresses design of new and refurbished buildings, whilst the GBCSA's benchmarking tool will apply to existing buildings.

SANS 10400 part XA and SANS 204 can both be bought online from the SABS ( - and any projects currently being designed and not yet submitted for municipal approval must understand and apply these standards to their project.

Under the National Energy Act, 2008 Regulations on the allowance for energy efficiency savings Government Gazette no. 34596, companies can submit certificates of energy savings, issued by accredited persons, to SARS for a credit on their tax return.

Interested parties will need to register with the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and then appoint a measurement and verification professional to compile a comprehensive report on the energy efficiency savings achieved.

This report will then be submitted to SANEDI who will issue that organisation with a certificate that can then be submitted to SARS who calculate the relevant tax return.

"The GBCSA fully supports this initiative by government as it further incentivises SA businesses to reduce their energy consumption," says Wilkinson. "For many, being able to see a tangible monetary reward or return for energy efficiency is the ultimate ‘carrot' so to speak and the catalyst that will afford change."

For more information visit to download the National Energy Act, 2008 Regulations on the allowance for energy efficiency savings Government Gazette no. 34596 which was released by the Department of Energy for public comment (Refer to pages 32-38).

To find accredited persons who can verify energy savings according to the SANEDI regulations visit the Council for Measurement and Verification Professionals of South Africa's (CMVPSA) website

"The GBCSA is pleased and excited about both SANS 10400 part XA and the new draft regulations to the National Energy Act. They indicate a shift in approach and are indicative of governments' commitment to change in SA - something that is essential if we are to move forward towards our carbon emissions reduction commitments," concludes Wilkinson.

Green Building Council of South Africa Press Release


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