The Net Zero Certification awarded by the GBCSA is aimed at projects that go beyond the partial reductions that are recognised in the Green Star tools, and have taken the initiative to reach the endpoint of completely neutralising or even positively redressing their carbon emissions; water consumption; solid waste to landfill and their negative ecological impacts.
A Net Zero building will implement efficiency measures and interventions first and then offset the remaining demand through either on-site solutions, off-site solutions, or offsets, such as carbon credits and similar initiatives.
At Ecolution Consulting, we guide building projects through the Net Zero certification submission to ensure they are as sustainable as possible, meet the certifi cation requirements and are recognised as such.
What rating tools are available?
Net Zero Carbon
A Net Zero Carbon building is one which is already highly energy efficient, and the remaining energy demand is supplied by renewable energy, preferably on-site production but this can be offset with off-site production too. This will result in Net Zero carbon emissions on annual basis or, if excess renewable energy is supplied than used on site, this is Net Positive.
Net Zero Water
A Net Zero Water building is one which is designed, constructed and operated to greatly reduce its water consumption and then offset its remaining water demand with harvested, recycled and reused water such that the volume of water consumed is the same as that produced, or even Net Positive where the water recycled/harvested is greater than that consumed.
Net Zero Waste
A Net Zero Waste building is one which reduces, reuses, and recovers its waste streams to convert them to valuable resources with zero solid waste being sent to landfills over a period of 12 months. Alternatively the building can take waste from other sites and divert it for reuse, making the building Net Positive regarding waste.
Net Zero Ecology
A Net Zero Ecology project is one which does not reduce the ecological value of the site during development for greenfield sites. Alternatively, a Net Positive Ecology project increases the ecological value of the site for brownfield sites, greenfield sites and/or existing developments.
Net Zero Certification has a myriad of benefits including, but not limited to:
Green Buildings consume less of the earth’s limited resources through a reduction in water and energy consumption. They also have a reduced impact when it comes to waste.
Green buildings are healthier for building occupants leading to an improvement in employee/tenant well-being and productivity.
Green buildings have lower utility costs to do the fact that they consume less energy and water. With preventative maintenance, maintenance costs can also be significantly reduced.
High operational performance, reduced operating costs, reduced dependency on limited resources and a reduced environmental footprint are all elements which lead to a building (and investment) which is future-proofed.
Green certified buildings are more easily marketed, thereby attracting quality tenants and/or employees, as well as showcasing the responsible practices of your business.
We have had early involvement with the Net Zero certification tool giving us a competitive advantage with Net Zero experience and fine-tuning of the pilot tool. We were involved in Two Dam Sustainable’s Net Zero Carbon certification. This project was one of the first four pilot projects to have been certified Net Zero in South Africa in October 2017.