The Housing Impact Fund South Africa’s (HIFSA) Fourleaf Estate in Port Elizabeth is the first residential project in Africa to receive EDGE certification. EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) is simultaneously a software, a standard and a green building certification system. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, created EDGE and worked together with Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) to tailor EDGE to the South African environment to account for South African climatic conditions, the standard of local building materials and local development costs. Fourleaf Estate is the first project to reach final certification in South Africa since EDGE was launched in the country in September 2014.
HIFSA, managed by Old Mutual Alternative Investments’ Development Impact Funds (DIF) team, aims to deliver a market-related, risk-adjusted return on investment to investors and to create new affordable housing stock to address the housing shortage. Old Mutual Life Assurance Company South Africa is co-invested in HIFSA alongside the Government Employees Pension Fund (managed by the Public Investment Corporation), the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund.
Environmental sustainability is an increasingly important criteria for investors both locally and globally. For investors, EDGE certification provides a tangible indicator of green environmental performance. DIF therefore believes it’s imperative to integrate green efficiencies in housing design, especially for the affordable market segment. By obtaining EDGE certification, developers could benefit from being able to market their houses as “green homes” for either the sales or rental market. In an increasingly competitive market, a home with reduced utility costs would be a significant incentive for new homeowners or tenants. As such, the DIF team registered their pilot project, Fourleaf Estate, for EDGE certification at the end of last year.
DIF considered the Fourleaf developer, Similan, an ideal candidate because of their innovative and attractive designs within the affordable price bracket, as well as their attention to designing cohesive communities within a housing development.
Fourleaf offers residents potential energy savings of up to 29% through initiatives such as heat pumps for hot water and low-flow taps that reduce the hot water consumption through aeration. Water savings of up to 25% were achieved through the use of water efficient fittings such as low-flow shower heads and dual-flush toilets. Similan’s design in their choice of building materials, such as cored bricks, cellulose roof insulation and clay roofing tiles, resulted in a potential saving of up to 43% in the embodied energy. These green efficiencies, if the home is operated effectively, could safely result in an annual utility bill saving of around R1 280 per housing unit.
The Port Elizabeth estate has 125 two and three-bedroom green homes, certified in Phase 1, for sale and rental, with sizes ranging from 47m2-90m2. HIFSA has a pipeline of between 2 500-3 000 new housing units that will be designed over the next two to three years to meet the EDGE standard and achieve EDGE certification.
“As the fund manager for this project, Old Mutual is delighted to be at the forefront of green housing developments by bringing the first EDGE-certified residential project to the market in Africa. Sustainability is high on the agenda of our clients. As fund managers, we can provide a tangible indicator of green environmental performance by encouraging EDGE certification on our housing developments,” says Lenore Cairncross, who has been leading the EDGE certification process for HIFSA’s new housing developments.