The Green Building Council of Zimbabwe (GBCZW), is a not for profit making body collaborating for sustainability in the built environment. The GBCZW predominantly focuses on the built environment including office and high rise buildings, housing, malls and any infrastructure that involves some kind of construction activity (dams, bridges etc), to ensure that these are designed, built, operated and disposed off in an environmentally sustainable manner.
The organization was officially launched in Harare at The Rainbow Towers on the 30th of September 2016 in the presence of officials across all sectors of government, the private sector, the civil society and various media houses.
WHY THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT?
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), buildings constitute 1/3 of all the Green House Gas (GHG) emissions which result in climate change in their operation life cycle (construction, operation and decommissioning). Consequently, buildings also offer the cheapest GHG emission reductions opportunities.
*To understand this, think of electricity i.e. over 1/3 of electricity produced is used in buildings, and a reduction in the electricity consumption in buildings for instance will result in less electricity demand in buildings leading to less electricity generation which predominantly comes from fossil fuels (e.g. coal fired power stations). Such a reduction will in turn reduce these greenhouse gas emissions.
Globally, the built environment is responsible for 40% solid waste generation, 12% fresh water consumption and 40% end-use energy consumption.
COP 21: The Conference of Parties (a United Nations Framework on Climate Change initiative) meeting held in Paris in December 2015 which Zimbabwe is a signatory, hailed a historic agreement which states that Developed and Developing countries alike are required to limit their emissions to relatively safe levels of 2 degrees Celsius.
This cannot be achieved without strong emission reduction measures in the building sector. To emphasize the importance of the buildings sector, the COP21 meeting had a whole day dedicated for the buildings sector. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The UN SDGs which officially came into effect on 1 January 2016 are an ambitious set of 17 goals set by the United Nations to banish a whole host of ills by the year 2030. A close look at the SDGs reflects that most of these goals are closely linked to the built environment and its development. Of the 17 SDGs, 10 are closely linked to the built environment.
THE ROLE OF THE GBCZW.
The GBCZW aids in Green Economic Transformation by collaborating for integrated building designs and a multidisciplinary approach to infrastructural design catering for the 3 Ps namely resource efficiency (Planet- Environment), occupants’ well-being (People) and GDP (Productivity).
• The GBCZW stimulates economic activity by challenging cross cutting professions in the built environment to innovate, adopt and operate as per current and latest trends.
• The GBCZW advocates for sound policies and regulations that support the green economic transformation.
• The GBCZ conducts awareness and education activities that produce professionals with unique skills and competencies for the green economy.
• The GBCZW, through its affiliation to the World Green Building Council, headquartered in the United States, and through its access to a combined over 100 established and emerging GBCs across the world will have access to latest trends, technologies and will be a portal of information for sustainability in the built environment.
• The GBCZW will further aid in employment creation in two ways:
(I) By employing a fully functional secretariat which runs the GBCZW office on a full time basis.
(II) By the creation of green jobs to support the huge green economic transformation which will need a new skills set.
The Eastgate Mall, by architect Mick Pearce is a good example of a world-famous green building. opened in 1996, it was designed to be ventilated and cooled by entirely natural means, it is said to probably have been the first building in the world to use natural cooling to that level of sophistication.
Passive cooling works by storing heat in the day and venting it at night as temperatures drop.