Issued by Perfect Word Consulting (Pty) Ltd
While South Africa continues to move towards a green trend when developing new
buildings, the real test of sustainability begins on occupation. If a building is green, but is
occupants are not, the trade-off will most likely lead to diluted sustainability results.
According to the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA); “Green building
incorporates design, construction and operational practices that significantly reduce or
eliminate the negative impact of development on the environment and people.
Green buildings are energy efficient, resource efficient and environmentally responsible.” But
what happens when the janitorial staff use harsh chemicals to clean the workspaces, or
eco-friendly practices are abandoned within the first year because they’re perceived to
be too difficult to maintain?
Green Tag certified local manufacturer, green cleaning consultant and CEO of Green
Worx Cleaning Solutions, John J Coetzee, confirms that green consultants (also known as
sustainability consultants) can play an instrumental role in keeping your building and its
occupants green, aware of their impact, and worthy of their Green Star SA (or other)
Firstly, objective green consultants are able to identify hidden areas where sustainability
is slipping, and conduct valuable audits. “The right consultants will help businesses to
improve their current sustainability score across the board – looking at all aspects of
green, and not just what materials were used to build the building,” confirms Coetzee.
“Something that is often overlooked is the products utilised by the facilities
management company. Chemicals damage the environment, and when they’re being
used to clean an entire building, the effects are exponentially more damaging.
Consultants should develop sustainable green cleaning programmes – and assist in their
implementation. A properly implemented programme consolidates products,
procedures and training, and features ongoing assessment”.
The second reason why green consultants are crucial is that they provide a
measurement in terms of the health of your workplace (and your staff). “Statistics show
that 40 percent of all office workers are concerned that they may fall ill due to poor
office hygiene. By focussing on maintaining green practices, human health and
wellbeing will be positively affected, for both building users and workers,” adds Coetzee.
This positively affects productivity, decreasing downtime and improving the general
Lastly, sustainability consulting (if done properly) will ensure that businesses save
money and improve their profitability. By limiting the use of precious resources, and
using more effective methods, overheads can be decreased dramatically. “Every
business runs with the objective of making a profit. In the past, South African businesses
have viewed sustainability as another expense – but this view is changing. The
realisation that green is often more affordable allows businesses to continue making
money, without compromising the environment to do so.”