Current trends around green or ‘eco-friendly’ building

Peter Townshend, co-founder and Managing Director of Know More, a workplace intelligence company, provides insight into the developments and current trends around green or ‘eco-friendly’ building – both locally and internationally.

Companies are getting black marks for unsustainable practices, especially in the building and interiors sectors. According to a recent study by McGraw-Hill, green building is rapidly taking hold in South Africa, growing at a faster rate than in any other part of the world. The average green share of building project activity in South Africa in 2012 was 31%.

The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has recognized that Green construction includes green interiors and is presently developing its Green Star Rating Tool for interiors. The Green Star rating tool will help to guide the design or construction process for certification, which will include a submission of documentation. The objective of the tool is to “develop a single green building rating tool that addresses tenant interior fitouts across different market segments.”

Through certification, companies can be confident that their interiors are not only as sustainable as their budgets allow, but are also healthy environments in which to work:

  • Research shows direct links between the quality of a workplace environment and worker productivity
  • Research shows that contact with nature “generates emotional, physiological, social and cognitive benefits”
  • Findings point consistently to the value of particular nature features such as large trees, flowers, gardens, and water
  • Studies also show that benefits of nature occur in many ways – through direct contact, indirect contact, and from simulations using nature décor.

Know More is a specialised workplace and environmental consultancy, which harnesses intelligent design to enhance workers’ well-being while simultaneously improving efficiencies.


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