Public Infrastructure can lead through innovation and green technologies

Public Infrastructure can lead through innovation and green technologies

Date: 13.08.2016

There is very little doubt that South Africa is set to become a leader in the green building movement. As a matter of fact a recent report published by World Green Building Trends indicated that South Africa has emerged as a leader in green building. This is largely through private sector led investments where the early adopters have come to terms with the economics of green design in the country's rapidly changing energy landscape.

The early adopters of green buildings understood early on that the derived benefits included reduced water and energy consumption, and therefore lower operational costs in facilities. Though these trends and benefits are fully understood in the private sector this has somehow created a widening knowledge gap between the private sector and the public sector in the country. Enter the Going Green in Public Facilities conferences.

The Going Green Conferences (GGCs) began as a platform to enable technical experts to discuss practical green design solutions that can be adopted by professionals working within the public health sector's infrastructural services and maintenance departments.

The GGCs focus on promoting the adoption of green design principles and processes by built environment professionals, particularly those that apply their skills within the public sector as this sector is still lagging behind on green design knowledge and institutional frameworks to guide the effective implementation thereof. According to a property report compiled by the Property Sector Charter Council, the public sector contributed a total of R237-billion in 2014/15, of which around R102-billion was estimated to be in the hands of the Department of Public Works, R66-billion held by South Africa’s 19 largest State-owned enterprises and R69-billion by metros and selected local municipalities. This is why it is critical to involve those participants in these policy shaping discussions as it can help facilities and services departments execute their budgets smartly when it comes to green design infrastructure projects.

Now in their 4th year, the GGCs have evolved to include the broader infrastructural portfolio that comprises educational and healthcare facilities, owing to the growing knowledge needs of the sector. The key objective of the 4th Going Green Conference (GGC2016) will be to explore solutions to optimise the effectiveness of green technologies within the public infrastructure projects. A key tenet to the GGCs is promoting technical knowledge exchange between private and public sector participants in the built environment which will hopefully assist in closing the knowledge gap that exists between these two sectors. More specifically the GGC2016 will provide a special platform to get all the key actors and create a more connected platform for all the various actors in government to engage and to recognise that public assets can be used as a test case and lead by example to the wider country objectives on these policy directives. The aim here is to get our university partners involved and identify an opportunity which speaks to all actors and start sowing the seed of systems dynamics and leveraging each actor’s mandate. The final overall deliverable is to ensure that sustainable unified programmes and opportunities are developed but ensuring that our public works departments are geared for innovation.

In addition, and a first for South Africa, the GGCs also aim to promote such knowledge exchanges between the experts and university students who will be soon be entering places of work. These are typically architecture, engineering and other design career fields. More importantly it also guarantees direct knowledge exchange from the experts to the younger professionals who are actively looking for green design orientated career opportunities. Thereby, showing everyone has a role in creating a more sustainable development path for the country.

Additional information

The GGC2016 is proudly hosted by the Green Building Design Group in partnership with the Gauteng province.

About Green Building Design Group

Green Building Design Group is a Non for Profit Company (NPC) that promotes sustainable public infrastructure through innovation and driving the green economy. We achieve this by creating the right partnerships that lead to the practical implementation of sustainable development and skills transfer within infrastructure projects.

Our Service Offerings include the following

  • Training & Development programme on Resource Efficiency for Top Management and Professionals (offered separately)
  • Local Economic Development (a framework to assist in ensuring local procurement)
  • Research programme (Green Building peer reviewed reading material to improve end user awareness on green design

 Below are links to the previously held conferences for your reference.

2015 -

2014 -

2013 -

Should you be interested in participating, kindly visit our website to view the programme. Otherwise please send us an email on We are also on facebook and twitter.

We are looking forward to seeing you in October!


Celeste Rostoll:

Tel +27 (0) 21 551 2964

Mobile +27 (0) 71 671 9923

Executive Director

Songo Didiza

GreenBDG (Non-Profit Organization)

Cell:+27 79 137 7931











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