The fact that South African and Nigeria are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, while the continent as a whole barely accounts for 5%, places a major responsibility on designers and architects to be environmentally responsible.
However, convincing clients of the imperatives of sustainability is a balancing act between the often high upfront initial costs, versus the long-term operational savings, and having a healthy and productive workforce that caters for the wellbeing of employees.
Striking this balance is the difficult task of Marli Swanepoel, Head of Sustainability at the Paragon Group. The group focuses on both interior architecture (Paragon Interface) and base design (Paragon Architects). Swanepoel explains that regulatory standards such as SANS 10400-XA, which pertains to energy efficiency, represents the minimum number of boxes that need to be ticked in terms of sustainability.