IES and GBCSA form agreement to create greener future for South Africa

By Suzanne Wallace on Tuesday 30 June 2015

“It’s simply unacceptable that in a society capable of understanding the laws of the universe, cloning life and travelling through space, we still allow our buildings to waste a quarter of their energy.”
Dr. Don McLean, Founder and CEO IES

As the Earth’s population continues to expand and more people migrate into cities, we need to look at how we can not only make new buildings more sustainable, but also leverage the opportunities for economies of scale this presents. That way, we can we make our existing buildings and cities as energy-efficient as possible.

South Africa is currently experiencing an energy crisis, where the electricity supply cannot meet the demand. We are all aware of the result: Eskom have once again instituted Load Shedding. Anyone can see that Load Shedding is an extremely flawed approach to resolving the energy shortage. Aside from the significant impact on the economy, the disruption to people’s daily routine is costly.

The solution needs to be addressed from two sides. In the long term, by increasing the power generation capacity of the South African grid, but in the short to medium term, a reduction in energy demand is more feasible. IES has a vision that will enable buildings and cities to reduce their energy consumption to prevent the continuance of such disruption. Its vision is that by taking a smart approach to a communities’ development one can deliver a city which operates in an integrated fashion. One which uses digital technologies to enhance performance and wellbeing, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and also to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens.

Buildings: the main connectors between transport, energy, health, water and waste in a community, need to be at the core of this approach. IES’s belief is that by taking the lifecycle of the urban environment into account, city planners can affordably start to create Smart Communities, scaling up to Smart Cities.

Planners and/or community leaders can take control of sustainability targets by incorporating robust energy and environmental analysis at the core of a continuous process, from masterplanning, through building design and retrofit, to the running of the building, and finally into the operation of a Smart Community.

IES and the GBCSA
The Green Building Council South Africa is leading the transformation of the South African property industry to ensure that buildings are designed, built and operated in an environmentally sustainable way.  IES and GBCSA both share many of the same values and have the same vision to address climate change while creating healthier and more productive environments for people and communities.

By forming an agreement with the GBCSA and bringing our technology to South Africa we can make a positive contribution and help to achieve the GBCSA’s mission to promote, encourage and facilitate green building in the South African property and construction industry.

The result of the agreement is the GBCSA Certification Engine which utilises the pioneering IES TaP technology from IES. The GBCSA Certification Engine is a new online project management system facilitating a streamlined and standardised approach to Green Star SA Certification submissions for the project team. The Certification Engine is the mandatory route to submission for a Green Star SA Submission and has many benefits to the project team such as:

  • Real-time progress tracking of all your Green Star SA submissions in a centralised online location
  • The Green Star SA AP can manage the design team through all documentation requirements making the evidence upload process more collaborative
  • Create extensive reports including progress reports and visual charts to communicate with the design team and client
  • The GBCSA Certification Engine also brings the infrastructure that the GBCSA needs to manage their projects reviews and certifications, especially as the number of projects are expected to grow significantly and the GBCSA cannot continue to use spreadsheets to manage its projects and keep track of project KPIs.

IES is delighted to partner with the Green Building Council South Africa to offer this technology to Project teams and to the GBCSA allowing them to streamline, manage and automate the Green Star SA Certification process all from one online system.

The GBCSA acknowledge that initially projects and assessors will take some getting used to working via the new format of submitting documents and assessing projects, but quite quickly the industry will benefit from the structured and consistent approach to the online system. The GBCSA Certification Engine will also see improvements made over time as user feedback from the local and international industry is collected.

Technology for a greener future
IES has been involved at the cutting edge of 3D performance modelling and analytics for over 20 years and pioneered the commercial use of simulation software based on detailed building physics principles. The company has continued its investment in Research and Development and is currently involved in many European funded projects on using such technology to help create Smart Cities.

IES Virtual Environment (VE) technology is widely accepted as the world leading building analysis system for energy and carbon simulation, solar studies, daylighting, airflow circulation and much more. Now it is starting to integrate 3D geographic information with raw data from a community, 3D urban modelling tools and sustainable urban metrics.

IES Virtual Environment technology has also been approved by Agrément South Africa as a certified thermal calculation software that is fit for proving compliance with the NBR, by simulating a building in accordance with SANS 10400-XA And SANS 204 guidelines, and is also acceptable for all Green Star SA modelling requirements.

The fully integrated nature of IES technology offers significant cost and time saving potential to project teams when undertaking performance analysis studies for rating systems and building compliance.  The goal of IES is something much bigger than the benefits for any one company. It is about demonstrating the power of technology and its integral role in transforming our buildings and cities to ensure they are as energy efficient and sustainable as possible without compromising on the comfort of the building occupants. If the South African building industry embraces this technology, a greener future will be much closer than you think.