Using mushroom roots to create sustainable insulation material, adding artificial photosynthesis to the facades of buildings to power them, how bringing nature into building designs positively impacts the study performance of university students, and investing in property for social impact. These are some of the sustainability ideas explored by local university students in the annual Growthpoint Properties (JSE: GRT) and Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) Greenovate Awards.
UCT triumphed in the engineering category – which incorporates electrical, computer and electronic, civil, and mechanical engineering. First and second place winners were both from the University of Cape Town (UCT) and third place from University of Pretoria (UP)
The property category – which includes quantity surveying, construction management, and property studies – was also won by UCT. The second and third places went to Wits.
For the first time this year, a new award was introduced, sponsored by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and linked to EDGE green building certification, an innovation of the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. This award was won by students from Wits.
The winners were announced at a gala dinner held at Katy’s Palace Bar in Kramerville, with its spectacular views of the Sandton Central skyline, an iconic South African built environment, which also happens to have the highest concentration of certified green buildings in Africa.
Now in its eighth year, Greenovate launched in 2015 to seed an early passion for sustainable development in university students by focusing on property industry challenges and opportunities. The programme showcases up-and-coming talent, providing a platform for the future leaders of the built industry.
In 2022, 21 students from five universities – Wits, UCT, UP, Nelson Mandela University and Stellenbosch University – entered the awards. The students researched existing challenges, proposed unique solutions to real-life problems and presented their ideas to industry decision-makers.
“This year’s forward-thinking projects are a window into the possibility of a better built environment,” says Grahame Cruickshanks, Growthpoint’s head of sustainability and utilities. “They are a starting point to meeting the significant need for research and development that offers implementable solutions for a sustainable built environment. Growthpoint is committed to an ambitious target to be carbon neutral by 2050, and innovation in the green building and energy spaces is essential to reach our goals. We are proud to drive the Greenovate Awards and confident that, in the very capable hands of South Africa’s young talent, we will see more better, sustainable, green buildings in future.”
Co-founder of the competition, the GBCSA, is entirely dedicated to shaping a green future and a built environment where people and the planet thrive. “The unlimited approach to life and ideas that we see reflected in the Greenovate Awards by our university students is amazing. It is equally exciting to see the property industry coming together to support and create opportunities for our green-minded young talent. The result: a growing community of advocates for green building with a passion for creating a better world and a brighter, greener future,” says Lisa Reynolds, GBCSA CEO.
Prize money of R34 500 is awarded to the winning student/s in each category, while the runner-up receives R17 250, the third place takes home R11 500, and the IFC prize winner/s receive a laptop computer and EDGE Expert training with the GBCSA. All winners receive tickets to attend the GBCSA convention, where the top team in each category will present their projects on the innovation stage. Continuing to promote sustainable thinking and learning, the three top participants for each stream also win entry to a nationally-recognised GBCSA Accredited Professional (AP) Candidate Course.
Students entering the Greenovate Awards gain rare access to mentorship and collaborative advantages. In preparation for the awards, students are given the opportunity, expertise and resources to develop their research into a real and workable product or service for the property industry. The awards’ mentorship programme and workshops with industry experts are also designed to benefit the students immensely.
This year’s mentors for the property stream included Thashni Chetty of Turner & Townsend, Hlolo Manthose of WSP, Makhosazana Mthethwa of Solid Green Consulting, Mthobisi Masinga of GBCSA, Jutta Berns of Ecocentric, Louwna Joubert of Zutari and Reabetsoe Kgoedi of Growthpoint Properties. Engineering stream mentors included Alex Varughese of WSP, Mischa Tessendorf of GBCSA, Mary Anne Fetcher of Zutari and Siziwe Mulidi of AMC Engineers.
The 2022 judges for the property category included Marc Sherratt of Marc Sherratt Sustainability Architects, Kedibone Modiselle of City of Tshwane, Georgina Smit of GBCSA, Kushinga Kambarami of IFC, Adrie Fourie of Solid Green Consulting, and Sally Misplon of Misplon Green Building Consulting. Judges for the engineering category included Mike Aldous of MPAMOT, Dash Coville of GBCSA, Werner van Antwerpen of Growthpoint Properties, George Muchanya of Growthpoint Properties, Conrad Sanama of IFC, Bruce Paul of Concor Construction, and Songa Didiza of Green Building Design Group.
Through Greenovate young talent is exposed to the very latest in sustainability thinking and ideas, and they enjoy direct access to leading sustainability and property companies, which creates a springboard to launch their future careers. These special awards are growing the green talent pool for Growthpoint, but also for the green building movement and the benefit of SA Inc. During this process, the students also create lasting networks and partnerships.
Next year’s Greenovate Awards promise to be even more exciting, with the planned introduction of a new prop-tech category, and students from all South African universities are invited to participate and can register at greenovatecompetition.co.za/
Making a name for themselves as innovators, change-makers and planet-shapers, the winners of the 2022 Greenovate Student Awards are:
First: Mbali Mahlangeni and Toneka Pasiwe – University of Cape Town: “An investigation into the impact of the South African private sector investing in social infrastructure as a vehicle to attain their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals”.
Second: Mpidiseng Mohlaba, Manqoba Mthimkhulu and Asanda Gwala – University of the Witwatersrand: “The use of Artificial Photosynthesis in the construction of building facades”.
Third: Kingsley Martell and Kyle Motani – University of the Witwatersrand: “The effect of greenness of financial performance of South African REITs”.
First: Anna Pamela Reid – University of Cape Town: “Mycelium bio-composite as a sustainable insulation solution”.
Second: Msawenkosi Mkhize – University of Cape Town: “Internet of Things technology in monitoring greywater quality for non-potable water use”.
Third: Reinhard Ferreira, Mulisa Shavhani and Beth Watson – University of Pretoria: “Carbon-neutral building cooling via phase change materials with ventilation”.
Winner: Mpidiseng Mohlaba, Manqoba Mthimkhulu and Asanda Gwala – University of the Witwatersrand: “The use of Artificial Photosynthesis in the construction of building facades”.