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22nd Aug 2022

Architect Africa Online

Africa's Leading Architecture Aggregator

Green building changes increase property value

Picture: Pearl Scheltema, CEO Fitzanne Estates; Laila Razack, Chief Financial Officer for Equites; Nigel Beck, head of sustainable finance RMB

Danie Keet

Have you ever considered making green building changes to your property to increase its value? If not, now may be the time to do so.

“When most homeowners hear the term ‘green building’ they only think along the lines of wind turbines and solar panels,” says Pearl Scheltema, CEO, Fitzanne Estates. “However, it’s actually a school of thought that refers to building with the future in mind. Thinking about your energy use, the rise of utility rates, as well the health and well-being of the occupants of a given structure in the long term.”

“When you think about your home in this way, taking steps to make it more environmentally friendly and sustainable to maintain is a bit of a no-brainer,” she explains.

In support of the green revolution in the building industry, Equites Property Fund and RMB this week announced that they successfully concluded the first green loan in the sub-Saharan African real estate sector. The facility will enable Equites to unlock ongoing environmental benefits. RMB acted as the sole arranger and sustainability agent for the R225m green loan. Equites is the only specialist logistics Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) listed on the JSE.

To further their vision, they required a green loan to fund the development of two high specification IFC EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) certified green building in an attractive industrial node, Equites Park Meadowview, for key tenants, Altron and Digistics.

Laila Razack, Chief Financial Officer for Equites, says: “Equites has been focussed on sustainability within the logistics sector for several years, in alignment with our dedication to offer our tenants high quality logistics assets that support both our tenants’ and our commitment to sustainability.

The recognition by RMB of the sustainable build of our new high specification properties enables us to continue to meet our goal of ensuring all our new properties are certified to internationally recognised green building standards in both South Africa and the United Kingdom.”

Nigel Beck, head of sustainable finance and ESG for RMB says: “We are committed to structuring sustainable finance facilities that support positive environmental and social outcomes. With the provision of a green loan, we have assisted Equites’ long-term strategy and commitment to sustainability, including their Edge certification.”

Edge is a globally recognised certification which brings speed, market intelligence and an investment focus to green building certification in over 170 countries globally. This has a set of city-based climate and cost data, consumption patterns and algorithms for predicting the most accurate performance results. In South Africa, the SANS 10400-XA Building energy efficiency code was used as a baseline and all projects wishing to certify with Edge are required to achieve a minimum of 20% above this standard in the categories of energy, water and embodied energy in green building materials.

Some of the green building features to increase your property value include:


Solar panels will always be first prize since it has the potential to take your property of the grid entirely. However, the input cost can be prohibitive. Another less expensive way of making a home or commercial property more energy efficient is opting for low-E window glass – a type of glazing glass that contains a transparent, microscopic coating that improves the thermal efficiency of your windows.


A very simple way in which to make your property more attractive to renters or buyers is to invest in a greywater system. This way, the household can recycle their washing and/or bathing and showering water to be used as a source of irrigation for the garden.


When expanding on an existing building, or building a new structure from scratch, choose environmentally preferable building materials. This includes interesting options like straw bales, which offer superior insulation qualities and are very easy to build with.

Hempcrete, a mixture of hemp fibre, lime and water which can be moulded into lightweight blocks, also offers superb carbon-capturing properties. Not to mention recycled plastic products that have been extruded to be used like wood-like materials, such as planks and decking.


Composting is picking up and it’s such a simple way to reduce the amount of waste you send to landfills. Instead of throwing out fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells and -cartons, tea bags, coffee grounds, etc. with the garbage, you add it to a composter to create fertiliser for your garden on the fly. There are many freestanding composting units available on the market that can be added to your property with ease. In fact, there are units that are small enough for apartment balconies as well.


Volatile organic compounds are off gassed by many construction materials and furniture, especially when it’s brand new. Indoor air quality starts with selecting the right construction materials during the design phase, so if you are building a new structure, find out about low-VOC versions of construction materials paints, flooring, and carpets.

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