Georgina Smit is a technical specialist, market transformation strategist and head of training, certification and research at Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA).
GBCSA is determined to transform South Africa’s built environment into a place where people and the planet thrive. They are currently achieving this through certification of buildings, training of people, collaborations to further research and advocacy to raise awareness of green building and broader climate change issues.
GBCSA is part of the World Green Building Council (WGBC) Advancing Net Zero programme, which supports and advocates for ambitious CO2 emissions target reductions. Smit says: “Our aim is to have all new buildings designed for net zero carbon by 2030, and we are aiming to have all buildings be net zero carbon by 2050 — no small task!”
The built environment accounts for approximately a third of all global carbon emissions. “While it is a part of the problem, it is also a huge opportunity as a solution,” says Smit. Green building makes use of available designs to address a wide range of environmental issues, including carbon emissions, water saving, responsible material procurement, improved indoor quality and protection of biodiversity. When designed correctly, green buildings can significantly reduce environmental impacts and in some cases even mitigate the impact to create a net zero effect.
For Smit, greening the future means making green buildings accessible to all types of sectors and building users in South Africa. “This involves increasing the understanding among South Africans of why green buildings are good for your health and the wellbeing of the environment, and make financial sense.” The organisation has integrated a strong training component into its projects, which helps to develop the sector and upskill built environment professionals.
GBCSA strives for a world in which both people and the planet thrive.