Cape Town’s Black River Park awarded first-ever existing building green rating

Black River ParkThe 18,675sqm North Park in the Black River Park office park in Observatory, Cape Town, has become the first building in the country to be awarded an existing building certification from the Green Building Council of SA (GBCSA), under the councils newly launched Green Star SA Existing Building Performance (EBP) pilot tool.

Black River Park, owned by Leaf Capital and Joubert Rabie, has made it their mission to secure green certification for the entire 75,000m2 office park – one of the largest business parks in the Western Cape. The park, consisting of a North and South Park, is home to more than 110 companies, including the GBCSAs head office and SAPOAs Western Cape offices.

As part of the GBCSAs first-ever existing building rating, the North Park was recognised with a 5 Star GBCSA EBP certification.

The EBP rating tool, sponsored by Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, was launched by the council in August (2014). It recognises excellence in the performance of existing or older buildings where green building innovations have been introduced to make the building more sustainable, reducing their impact on the environment.

The awarding of our first-ever Green Star SA EBP rating to a building within the Black River Office Park is a very significant milestone for the GBCSA, Misplon Green Building Consulting and the green building movement in SA, comments Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA.

We want many more owners of buildings to follow the example set by Black River Office Park. With this first EBP rating awarded, the GBCSA will go on a big drive advocating the case to get existing buildings to be retrofitted with green innovations, as these buildings make up the large majority of buildings out there, he adds.

Up until recently GBCSAs Green Star rating tools have focused largely on the design and construction of new buildings and major refurbishments – all with a design and construction elements. This had very little focus on ongoing building operations and management. The suite of current new building and major retrofit tools were aimed at only about 2% of building stock, while the newly released Green Star SA EBP tool addresses the remaining 98% of the building stock.

This existing building rating tool enables the effective measurement of a buildings environmental performance in relation to its operation and management. It provides indicators to ensure that the buildings environmental performance is efficiently maintained or improved upon over time. The new EBP rating tool is significantly differentiated by the fact that buildings can get a 1-6 star certification with this tool and the rating is valid for a period of three years in order to ensure continued efficient operation and management of the building.

Black River Park has been at the forefront of sustainable commercial real estate for over a decade and this certification confirms the strength of the management team and their commitment to sustainability. The EBP certification of a building within the park marks the completion of the first stage of Black River Parks drive to get all the office buildings at the park certified.

Black River Office Park, together with Misplon Green Building Consulting, is now in the process of preparing submission packs to secure green ratings for the remaining buildings.
Some of the green initiatives that have been undertaken for the building at the park to secure the EBP certification include:

  • The installation of the Southern Hemispheres largest rooftop Photo Voltaic System which produces electric power from sunlight. This 1.2MW system is being used to supplement and reduce the electrical load from the Citys electrical grid. It produces around 1.9GWh of electricity per year, enough to power over 1000 average-sized houses. This equates to between of 20-30% of total amount of energy used in Park, and reduces the peak demand by around 18%. It is also the first commercial project to be allowed to feed back into the grid and be remunerated for it.
  • Energy efficient lighting has been installed throughout common areas of building and is currently being rolled out into tenants premises through a joint financing initiative.
  • Ecologically friendly gardens, including a vegetable garden and fruit orchard, are maintained with borehole water pumped on site. Recycling of all garden waste is also done onsite to create mulch.
  • The park engaged with a new recycling focused waste contractor in order to reduce the amount of solid waste going to landfill and improve recycling. This is aided by the procurement and placement of recycling bins around the park to encourage sorting of waste from the source and minimising contamination.
  • Indoor air quality was a major focus with temperature, humidity, CO and CO2 tests being undertaken. This was done in conjunction with natural and artificial lighting tests.
  • Shopfronts with performance glass dominate the buildings façade in order to maximize views to outdoors for building users. This visual connection to the external environment in combination with floor to ceiling heights in excess of 3.5 meters, has the benefit of reducing eyestrain for the building occupants and contributes to a better working environment.
  • Cycling and shower facilities were made available to tenants in the parks Crossfit Gym, to encourage alternative modes of transport and a healthy and active lifestyle.
  • Education and raising awareness of greening initiatives through talks, interviews and presentations. Publication of this Building Users Guide which includes procurement and purchasing of paints, carpets, adhesives and sealants for maintenance and fit-out work.
  • Standard cleaning consumables have been exchanged with an environmentally friendly range of cleaning products and equipment
  • Implementation of a storm water management plan to recognise site related practices which limit the disruption of natural hydrology, minimise pollution and site deterioration.
  • Development of a hard services management plan to encourage environmentally sensitive hard services maintenance practices that reduce the environmental impact and improve ecology value.

While Wilkinson commended the efforts of Black River Park, he urged both the private sector and government to now also look more seriously at securing green ratings for existing buildings through the GBCSAs new certification tool.

If we want to make a bigger positive impact in making buildings more sustainable and green, existing buildings need to be targeted. Our innovative existing building rating tool aims to drive the transformation of these buildings to become more sustainable spaces, he says.

There are many older or existing buildings that can get green makeovers. Building owners need to take the initiative and show green leadership like the owners of Black River Park have done. Greener buildings are becoming more attractive to both tenants and potential investors, due in large part to their triple-bottom line commitments to not only profit and social sustainability, but environmental sustainability.

The EBP rating tool is directly aimed at the operators of existing buildings, with key focus directed at portfolio managers, owners, facilities managers and tenants. The role of the tenant is considered key to a buildings operations and thus the rating tool will also serve as a tenant awareness instrument as tenant buy-in is essential for significant uptake of the tool. Our Green Lease toolkit is a key component in the owner tenant relationship in order to set up a win-win agreement, concludes Wilkinson.

Pete the Planner says businesses should focus on employees’ financial wellness

Peter Dunn, a personal finance expert, author and radio host whos more commonly known as Pete the Planner, says businesses should teach their employees about financial wellness rather than just about its 401(k) offerings.

Dunn was in Honolulu this week presenting to financial advisors and plan sponsors, or employers, with Indianapolis-based OneAmerica, which recently opened a regional office for retirement services in downtown Honolulu.

Dunn, who is also from Indianapolis and has his own business independent of OneAmerica, talks to plan sponsors around the country to help them understand how making their employees financially well impacts the lives of their employees and the companies bottom lines. Its also the right thing to do to take care of peoples lives, he said.

Hawaiis one of those climates that you can pull that off because the culture supports it, Dunn said. Frankly, I travel the country and sometimes my message falls on deaf ears because its just not the way of the people, but here it makes sense.

OneAmerica and Pete the Planner dont offer the same services, but they found that by focusing on everything other than assets, like eliminating debt, people are able to grow their assets for retirement.

Dunn said the average household spends money 22 times a week. Spending is for the present, and he says people have a hard time connecting their financial past, present and the future, which makes it difficult to reconcile existing debt and saving for retirement.

For the most part, people do understand what they need to do, Dunn said, but it requires behavioral change. People react to spending and shopping like they do to food – we know what is good food and bad food, but what makes us feel happiest is likely not the healthiest.

House prices almost back at 2007 peak, official figures show

A typical three bedroom semi cost £181,383 in November 2007[GETTY]

Data for August from the Land Registrys House Price Index shows an 8.4 per cent leap in annual values across England and Wales pushing the average property value to pound;177,824.

It now only needs a jump of pound;3,500 to take values to their price peak of November 2007 when a typical three bedroom semi cost pound;181,383.

Year on year, the average price rose by pound;14,938.

The monthly rise was one per cent with 2.7 per cent recorded in London taking homes there to an average pound;467, 070 – adding an extra pound;12,279 in just four weeks.

The capital also showed the greatest annual increase at 21.6 per cent.

Jonathan Samuels, chief executive of Dragonfly Property Finance, said: Prices in all regions are positive on both a monthly and annual basis, but growth of nearly 22 per cent in the capital over the past 12 months has once again stolen the day.

But drill down to the county level and prices, in many cases, are actually falling.

This underlines the patchwork nature of the market at present. Its not good news everywhere.

Some areas of the UK are looking dangerously overpriced, while others are still very much flat and even in the red.

If theres something that everyone should take note of, its that rate rises are getting ever closer and should be priced into most transactions.

A typical three bedroom semi cost £181,383 in November 2007 [EXPRESS]

Prices in all regions are positive on both a monthly and annual basis, but growth of nearly 22 per cent in the capital over the past 12 months has once again stolen the day

Jonathan Samuels, chief executive of Dragonfly Property Finance

Earlier this week the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned mortgage payers to prepare for higher borrowing costs as an interest rate rise was getting closer

Data from indices other than the Land Registry has been more mixed with some showing price weakness this summer, although the general trend has been upwards.

An exception to this is Hometrack, the property data firm that claimed prices were flat in September, and falling in London, based on the results of its survey of estate agents.

It said that sky-high values and the prospect of interest rate rises was putting buyers off, leading to a 2.1 per cent fall in the numbers of buyers registering with estate agents.

The Land Registry is yet to record any such flattening in the market.

As well as runaway prices, transaction levels of significantly higher than last year too, although recent sales numbers have weakened.

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From March 2013 to June 2013 there was an average of 59,556 sales per month. In the same months a year later, the figure was 71,426.

Despite the robust Land Registry data, we stick to the view that house prices are likely to rise at a more retrained restrained rate over the coming months, said Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS Global Insight.

We expect house prices to increase by around 1.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2014 and see them rising by around six per cent overall in 2015.

More than 82,600 residential properties in England and Wales lodged for registration in August, the Land Registry said, ranging in price from pound;13,000 to pound;24.5m.

The numbers are based on actual house sale prices and are therefore regarded as the best measure of where prices are.

Additionally, they take in cash sales that are excluded from the indices from mortgage lenders such as Halifax and Nationwide.

However, the figures tend to lag other measures because prices are registered at the end of the sale process.

9 Simple Tips for Retiring Rich

Since WWII, we have enjoyed one of the most productive economies the world has ever seen, yet many seniors are broke. When you reach retirement age, you don’t have to be one of them.Whatever your age, fretting about what you didn’t do is futile. Start making the needed changes today.

The best place to begin is to define “rich.” For our team, rich means having enough money to choose whether or not to work and enough money that you control your time. Rich means you live comfortably according to your personal standards. If you’ve lived a middle-class lifestyle, a rich retirement means you can maintain that same lifestyle without worry.

The 9-Step Program

#1–Saving money is tough! Pension plans are no longer the norm. Some companies filed for bankruptcy and broke their promises. Either way, in the private sector, 401(k) accounts are the new norm. However, they’re optional — no one makes you contribute.

So, no matter whom you work for — a big or small corporation, a government agency, or yourself — if you want to retire, be damn sure you’re saving…no matter what you’ve been promised.

#2–Plan to work your tail off. If you want to pay for 60-plus years of life, chances are you’ll have to do more than 40 hours a week.

In theory, you can work 60 hours a week, live off two-thirds of your income (40 hours’ worth), and invest the remaining one-third (20 hours’ worth). However, if you start saving early, perhaps saving income equal to 10 hours of work will be enough. Your savings will have more time to accumulate and compound, and you’ve bought yourself extra leisure time along the way.

If both spouses are working hard outside the home, which is the norm today, work toward living off of one paycheck and investing the other (or using it to pay off debts and then start investing).

#3–Don’t complain when others retire with more. Someone always will.

This note saddens me. Some people chose to work 40 hours a week for most of their working lives. They felt it was important to spend more time at home with their families, and there’s nothing wrong with that choice. Still, it’s a trade-off.

I look at it as though they enjoyed mini slices of retirement time when they were young. If that’s your choice, don’t begrudge others who chose a different path and worked and/or saved more. They don’t owe you anything.

#4–Get out of debt and stay that way. Virtually every wealthy friend I have only started to build wealth after eliminating debt, including home mortgages. Some theory-loving pundits suggest taking out a low-interest mortgage and investing the money with the hope of earning more than the mortgage interest. Oh really? Most people’s investments don’t perform that well.

The chart below highlights how poorly the average investor stacks up:

Sure, some beat the odds, but even professional fund managers struggle to do so. As of mid-2013, 59.58% of large-cap funds, 68.88% of mid-cap funds and 64.27% of small-cap funds underperformed their respective benchmark indices, according to Aye M. Soe, McGraw Hill (MHFI) financial director.

If the big boys have a hard time and the average investor earns just 2.1%, one better secure a darn low mortgage rate before borrowing to invest.

One of the top ways to blow your nest egg is to stop working while you still have a mortgage. Downsize if you have to. Your personal home is not an investment; it’s part of the cost of living.

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Supreme Court May Yet Blunt Obamas Disparate Impact Weapon

Race-Baiting: The Obama regime has used a dubious discrimination theory to shake down home and car lenders for $1.1 billion and counting. Finally, the high court may step in to stop this witch hunt. The Supreme Court has granted the state of Texas a petition for certiorari disputing the use of disparate impact to determine discrimination in housing after a civil-rights group sued its housing department. The liberal Inclusive Communities Project weiterlesen …

SA catching up to global real estate investment trends

This trend is in line with international developments, which has seen REITs gain significant prominence over the last few years.

According to Ken Reynolds, Nedbank Corporate Property Finance Regional Executive: Gauteng, while there are some exceptions, South Africa tends to have more generalist property REITs that invest in a mix of segments such as commercial, industrial, office and retail. One of the trends we have seen internationally is for more focused REITs that invest solely in just one segment of the property market.

While many international REITs are weighted in favour of a specific sector, this trend hasnt emerged in South Africa yet. Over time we could expect to see more focused REITs locally and in fact it is likely that a REIT focused purely on the residential sector will list at some point over the next 12 months. This would be completely new to our market and could be the catalyst towards more sector-specific REITs.

He notes that while investment into residential property has been recorded internationally, in South Africa we have lagged behind. Traditionally, residential property has not formed a significant part of listed property portfolios. Some existing REITs do have small residential components, but usually as part of a more diverse property portfolio.

These investments also tend to focus on the inner city and affordable housing segments, rather than high-value, premium properties, as this is not where institutional investors have traditionally invested and ownership is spread.

For investors considering investing in REITs, it is important to look at the weighting of the property segments within a REIT, as this will have a significant impact on the performance. For example, analysts are curtailing projections on the office space segment and instead, expect industrial and larger retail property to outperform.

It is true that a general fund is often a safer investment, as it enables the investor to hedge risk as property segments move in different cycles; but this also means potentially lower returns.

A further development that is likely to be seen in the local market is institutional investors and large insurance companies continuing to shift their existing property portfolios into REIT structures. Many insurance companies have already been following this trend by disposing of many of their property assets, thereby removing the need to manage property and enabling them to focus on their core business.

The emergence of REITs in South Africa has already been beneficial, as the other vehicles such as Property Unit Trusts (PUT) and Property Loan Stocks (PLS) were relatively unique to South Africa. By following international practice, we could also encourage foreign investors to invest in South Africas largest listed property counters.

Furthermore, PUTs and PLSs were limited in the corporate activity that they could engage in, which the REITs structure has addressed, ensuring that the reorganisation and flexibility of a property portfolio is now simpler.

Reynolds says that Nedbank, as the lead funder of commercial and industrial property, is pleased to be sponsoring the inaugural SA REIT Conference 2014, which will create a forum to debate the introduction of REITs in South Africa and to understand how international developments in the industry may further effect change locally.

Planning bid to limit bookies and payday lenders

City Treasurer Paul Rooney said:People in our communities see a third, fourth or fifth bookies appear on their doorstep and, quite understandably, they want to know why their local councillors dont seem to be able to do anything about it.

We want to give a bit of power back to those people. If the government is prepared to back our proposal, any new bookies will need planning consent and neighbours will always have a chance to be heard.

New research has shown Glasgow to have the highest number of pay day loan and bookies in any council area in the country.

The city has 51 payday shops, while Birmingham is second highest with 45 stores, despite having almost double the population.

Meanwhile, Glasgow has 243 betting shops, compared with 186 in Birmingham.

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling is making a submission to the Governments consultation calling for both these industries to be treated similarly, giving some power back to Scottish councils to curb their high street presence.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: Scottish Planning Policy was revised in June in response to concerns about the proliferation of such activities.

It considers the impact on the character and amenity of town centres and high streets and the wellbeing of communities.

gerry.braiden@ heraldandtimes.co.uk

Bid to halt growth of betting shops

The local authority is campaigning against clusters of betting shops and pay day lenders, and their impact on poverty has already sparked Government moves to change the law.

It has now thrown its support behind Holyrood proposals, which will see new legislation prepared as soon as the middle of next month. The plan is for this to be laid before Parliament in December.

The new legislation will recommend ministers put bookies in their own usage class, preventing them from taking over everything from local banks to insurance offices without the need for planning permission.

With the regulation of gambling currently a reserved matter for the UK Government, the move will give planning authorities the opportunity to control such development.

Town centre strategies claiming further provision of particular activities would undermine the character and amenity of centres or the well-being of communities could then prevent over-provision and clustering.

But predicting a court challenge by betting firms, shy;Glasgow has also called on shy;ministers to carry out more research and policy guidance on over-provision and clustering to reinforce local efforts.

The citys treasurer, Paul Rooney, said: People in our communities see a third, fourth or fifth bookies appear on their doorstep and, quite understandably, they want to know why their local councillors dont seem to be able to do anything about it.

We want to give a bit of power back to those people. If the government is prepared to back our proposal, any new bookies will need planning consent and neighbours will always have a chance to be heard.

New research has shown Glasgow to have the highest number of pay day loan and bookies in any council area in the country.

The city has 51 payday shops, while Birmingham is second highest with 45 stores, despite having almost double the population.

Meanwhile, Glasgow has 243 betting shops, compared with 186 in Birmingham.

The Campaign for Fairer Gambling is making a submission to the Governments consultation calling for both these industries to be treated similarly, giving some power back to Scottish councils to curb their high street presence.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: Scottish Planning Policy was revised in June in response to concerns about the proliferation of such activities.

It considers the impact on the character and amenity of town centres and high streets and the wellbeing of communities.

The spokesman continued: The intention is to remove planning exemptions so that more of these uses would in future need planning permission.

The proposals would not affect existing betting offices or payday lending premises.