SA Energy Act backs green building standard

New buildings and refurbishments must comply with energy efficiency standards from November 2011, and SANS 10400 part XA, according to the Energy Act.

Under the SA National Energy Act of 2008 Regulations on tax allowance for energy efficiency savings, published in Government Gazette 34596, companies can submit certificates of energy savings to SARS, issued by accredited persons, for a credit on their tax return.

Interested parties will need to register with the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and then appoint a measurement and verification professional to compile a comprehensive report on energy efficiency savings achieved.

This report will then be submitted to SANEDI who will issue that organisation with a certificate that can then be submitted to SARS who calculate the relevant tax return.

The SA Bureau of Standards, SABS, had developed SA National Standard (SANS) 10400 part XA as the first of a set of standards for environmental sustainability in new and refurbished buildings.

Manfred Braune, Technical Executive at the Green Building Council of South Africa explains that SANS 10400 part XA essentially tackles how buildings are designed and built by addressing and providing guidelines for minimum requirements for things such as glazing, insulation, shading, orientation and building services, including air-conditioning, hot water and lighting.

The standard gives some options for proving compliance, which will need to be substantiated with any building plan submitted to a municipality for plan approval, said Braune.

“The Green Building Council of South Africa welcomes SANS 10400 part XA, and applauds and congratulates the SABS and government for putting a stake in the ground for the first time in terms of minimum energy consumption requirements for new buildings and refurbishments,” said Braune.

Such regulations have transformed the built environment in countries such as Germany, where their first such standard was introduced in 1975. South Africa can learn from such leading nations and hopefully leapfrog to avoid taking 45 years to get where those nations are now in terms of sustainable design.

SANS 10400 part XA refers in many areas to the SANS 204 guidelines, which have been available in draft format since 2008.

SANS 204 and Green Star certification

GBCSA supports this South African standard by using SANS 204 as a minimum energy requirement for any projects wishing to seek a Green Star SA certification, as well as using it for the basis of the reference building used in the energy modelling required in Green Star SA.

This move has allowed early market penetration of SANS 204, said Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).

GBCSA congratulated Howard Harris, past SANS 204 technical committee chairperson, and Lisa Reynolds, current SANS 204 TC chairperson, and the committee, for their valuable role in developing the first standards for energy efficiency in South African buildings, aiming at carbon emissions reductions.

Ops Energy and Water benchmark took

These new SANS standards do not address existing buildings. GBCSA will offer an Operational Energy and Water Benchmarking Tool in mid 2012, to working hand in hand with SANS 10400 part XA that addresses design of only new and refurbished buildings.

Construction projects being designed and not yet submitted for municipal approval, must recognise, understand and apply these standards to their project.

* Visit to download the National Energy Act Regulations on allowance for energy efficiency savings, as posted in Government Gazette 34596 in the format for public comment, on p32 -38.

* For accredited persons to verify energy savings according to SANEDI regulations, visit the Council for Measurement and Verification Professionals of South Africa (CMVPSA) at

PHOTO; GBCSA will offer an Operational Energy and Water Benchmarking Tool for existing buildings in mid 2012. Construction projects being designed and not yet submitted for municipal approval, must recognise, understand and apply new energy efficiency standards to their project.

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