Redefine forges ahead with its journey to net zero

Redefine Properties, one of South Africa’s leading real estate investment trusts (REITs), has reached yet another significant milestone in its sustainably efforts.

The REIT has achieved Net Zero Carbon: Level 2 (measured) certifications from the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) for three of its Gauteng-based properties: 90 Rivonia, 2 Pybus and Rosebank Link.

These three Redefine buildings are the first in South Africa to achieve a Net Zero Carbon: Level 2 certification, which is based on actual measured energy consumption data.

A ‘net zero carbon’ building is one that operates with zero net carbon emissions over the span of a year. Such a building is highly energy-efficient and uses renewable energy for its remaining energy requirements, where feasible. It only relies on carbon offsets to balance its remaining energy use as a last resort.

“Green building practices are a key milestone in the journey to net zero,” says Anelisa Keke, Chief sustainability officer at Redefine. “A sound climate change resilience strategy ensures that our capital investments are safeguarded against manageable climate risk exposure and creates long-term value for our stakeholders.”

Redefine achieved its Net Zero Carbon: Level 2 (measured) ratings through a combination of energy efficiency-enhancing projects, on-site renewable energy installations (where possible), and as a last resort, carbon offsets traded through a well-established voluntary carbon offsetting programme. It’s a significant achievement that signals Redefine’s commitment to performance-based sustainability and underscores the company’s leadership in the journey towards net zero carbon.

GBCSA offers two Net Zero Carbon ratings: modelled and measured. ‘Modelled’ ratings refer to predicted energy consumption over a 12-month period for buildings as per their design. On the other hand, ‘measured’ ratings are operational ratings for existing buildings based on actual performance data over a predetermined period.

This is a real milestone,” explains GBCSA Head of Technical, Georgina Smit. “For a landlord to move from focusing on base build energy, which is within their control, to including tenant behaviour is significant. This is a major consideration for the Level 2 rating that has been achieved.”

Adds Keke: “Being certified as net zero provides objective confirmation to Redefine’s key stakeholders that the performance of these buildings has been benchmarked against global best practice efficiency standards. We will apply the learnings achieved during our net zero journey to enhance energy efficiencies broadly across our portfolio, which benefit Redefine and its tenants, in line with our purpose to create and manage spaces in a way that transforms lives.”

With this ground-breaking achievement and commitment to continuously pursue and maintain its net zero carbon status, Redefine is setting a clear example for the rest of the property sector to follow.

Keke says that international tenants and brokers prioritise Green Star-rated offices, which makes Redefine’s buildings more competitive in a tough environment.

Over the last decade, Redefine has played a fundamental role in leading the green building movement in South Africa. With 186 active certifications across the South African property portfolio, Redefine boasts an impressive portfolio of active Green Star-rated buildings in the country.

Commenting on the importance of ESG, Keke explains, “At Redefine, we are on a drive to increase the scale and effectiveness of our ESG initiatives through discussions with tenants. This includes negotiating the inclusion of green provisions in leases, as well as sharing Redefine’s ESG strategies with tenants and their teams and identifying areas of collaboration over ESG initiatives.”

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