by AKANI CHAUKE
PRETORIA, (CAJ News) – FOUR South African cities have committed to make all new buildings zero carbon as part of the country’s efforts to deliver on its commitments to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Following the move, residents and businesses moving into new buildings in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and the capital Tshwane/Pretoria will soon enjoy lower energy bills and generate less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reducing their climate change impact.
High-efficiency energy performance requirements are being developed for all new buildings in these leading cities, thanks to their collaboration in the C40 Cities South Africa Buildings Programme.
Representatives from ten cities across C40’s global network have gathered in the South African capital this week to exchange best practice on building energy efficiency.
The cities outside South Africa include Boston, Chicago (both united States, US), Copenhagen (Denmark), Los Angeles (US), Mexico City (Mexico) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
Solly Msimanga, the host mayor, said his city, lauded as the “Green Capital”; expected to see major shifts in its urban landscape through the C40 Cities South Africa Buildings Programme, which would enhance the capital’s Green Buildings Programme.
“Accelerated uptake of all available greening criteria will be the order of the day starting off with our very own infrastructure. It’s no coincidence that our municipal headquarters, Tshwane House, is a five-star Green-Rated building,” Msimanga said.
Durban counterpart, Zandile Gumede, said the municipality was committed to becoming the “most caring and liveable” city in Africa by 2030.
She said providing sustainable, accessible and energy efficient buildings was part of service delivery commitment to citizens.
“Our city contains some of the world’s leading experts on energy, building regulations and green buildings, and as such we are working hard to document our further learning during this programme to share with other C40 cities around the world,” Gumede said.
Cape Town is one of the leading cities in actively addressing climate change.
It recently adopted a Transit-Orientated Development Strategic Framework, to address the apartheid legacy of spatial inequality, high urbanisation rates and to improve the cost effectiveness of public transport.
Mayor Patricia de Lille said participation in the C40 South Africa Building Programme was a significant opportunity to enable the city to support lower carbon new build in infrastructure provision, energy efficient building design and clean energy supply and significantly reduced transport demand.
“Through the programme, we aim to develop and begin implementing more ambitious new building energy performance requirements that will build the path to a resource efficient, carbon neutral and climate resilient city by 2050,” she said.
Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40, said South African cities were already seeing the effects of climate change, from the drought in Cape Town to the threat of rising seas and flooding in Durban.
“The bold leadership of these four mayors is setting the standard which the entire world can learn from,” Watts said.
Since 2007, more than 230 buildings have been certified to the Green Star South Africa sustainable building rating system, developed and managed by the Green Building Council South Africa.
The C40 South Africa Buildings Programme will support cities to move sustainable, energy-efficient new building to scale to become the new standard practice.
C40, in partnership with Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA), will support the four cities through locally employed technical professionals.