Welcoming Remarks by Rector Tjama Tjivikua

July 16, 2014, 9:21am




















16 – 18 JULY 2014


Director of Ceremonies

Officials of the Government of Namibia

Chief Executive Officer of the Green Building Council of South Africa, Mr Brian Wilkinson

Trustees and the Associated Working Group of the Green Building Council of Namibia

Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Platinum, Silver and Bronze Members of the GBCNA

Captains of Industry

Distinguished Invited Guests

Members of the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen


Good morning.  I am delighted to welcome you all to this momentous occasion of the 2014 Green Building Council of Namibia Annual Convention.  It is a good omen for the GBCNA that this historic Convention has attracted key stakeholders such as industry leaders, academics, building professionals, property developers and managers, building owners, technologists, environmentalists, exhibitors and the media from across the Continent.  Your support towards our efforts to promote sustainable development cannot be over-emphasised.  Your interactions and contributions to this historic Convention in the next few days will remain the foundation of the GBCNA in its endeavour to promote standards and benchmarks, and thus a culture of buildings that are not only environmental friendly, but also economically sustainable.


Please allow me to recognise Mr Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council of South Africa whose Council has taken us by the hand in the establishment of the GBCNA.  The GBCNA values the support you have given us.


The “green buildings” movement is coming of age, considering that it was only the instigation of the OPEC oil embargo of 1973 that gave the burgeoning environmental movement in the US, and subsequently the green build effort, the kick-start it needed.  However, the “Greening of the White House” project1 of the former President Clinton intended to improve the energy efficiency and environmental performance of the White House complex was an important practical step that galvanised ideas of the society on green build/sustainability issues.  Since then several countries have pioneered and done what we are doing today decades ago.  Namibia cannot simply regret being just a little behind as we are learning a lot, appreciate and value the support and guidance we have received and continue to receive from the older GBCs.  We will definitely return the favour one day.


 Ladies and gentlemen, in 2011 the then Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Institute (REEEI) of the Polytechnic of Namibia, now the Namibia Energy Institute, started to engage the building industry to establish a Green Building Rating Tool.  This seemed a daunting task, given that we had little expertise and limited human resources.  However, with the unwavering support from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), WSP, the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia, UNDP, and NedBank Namibia, today we are among the fastest developing GBC in the world.  We thank you all for your contributions.


At an earlier stage the Ministry of Mines and Energy together with REEEI, in realising that the wasteful usage of energy inherent in design and construction of Namibian buildings as well as in the behaviour of the occupants, collaborated on the Namibia Energy Efficiency Programme (NEEP).  I would also like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the co-financiers of the NEEP, namely Arandis Town Council, ErongoRED, Osona West Party, the Polytechnic of Namibia and the Government of the Republic of Namibia for a successful project, of which the GBCNA is testimony. 


Director of Ceremonies

The GBCNA was launched in February 2012.  The Associated Working Group drawn from all stakeholders was responsible for the establishment of the GBCNA.  It took them a very short time to lay the foundation necessary for the GBCNA to become a “Prospective Member” of the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC).  To move further up the rung to attain the “Emerging Member Status”, I am reliably informed that we are awaiting the outcome to our application from the WorldGBC.  This is a pre-step to being recognised as an “Established Member” of the World Green Building Council, allowing us to join the GBCSA, the only council in Africa enjoying that status.


The world and indeed Namibia have now woken up to the fact that it cannot be business as usual in the way we construct our buildings.  Not only do we need to use sustainable principles to manage building from the earliest stage of design and also ensuring that policies for sustainability are in place.  Just two weeks ago, the Polytechnic inaugurated its Health and Applied Sciences building, and it is interesting to note that the features that were incorporated into the design despite the fact that it was not designated or meant to be a green building.  These are:

1.    The building is constructed on a previous landfill site which complicated construction, but have successfully utilised land that had previously been contaminated and unsuitable for use;

2.    Latest LED and fluorescent light operate on movement sensors have been installed and that reduces energy usage and prevents lights being left on overnight;

3.    Solar geysers provide the hot water to the building thus reducing energy required, compared to conventional geysers;

4.    All vinyl flooring used is recyclable and at the end of its life-cycle can be recycled into PVC powder to produce other products;

5.    Orientation and use of full height glazing is such that all laboratories receive maximum daylight reducing the need for artificial lighting (energy use), whilst full height exterior louvres prevent direct radiation (reducing heat gain and additional use of the air conditioning system); and

6.    North facing windows are fitted with Solarvue glass which reduces heat radiation by 50% and UV penetration by 99%, again and therefore reducing the use of the air conditioning system to cool affected rooms.

It is clear that energy efficiency solutions, onsite renewable energy production and indoor environment quality to benefit the health and well-being of building occupants are now being taken into account in the design of buildings.

Furthermore, experience from older GBCs tells us that compared to conventional buildings green buildings cost a mere 5% more. Therefore, as a result of the many benefits they bring to building owners, tenants and the environment, going green makes economic sense.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am informed that we will take a tour to some of the green buildings in Windhoek during our last day of the Convention.  These will include buildings that were put up by Old Mutual, Sanlam, Woermann Brock, Super Spar, Ministry of Environment and Tourism and others, who have incorporated some of the green design principles in their buildings, despite the fact that we did not have rating tools for their buildings to be certified as green buildings.  The GBCNA is now set up and has a Rating Tool for assessing new office buildings at design and as-built.  I wish to thank the WSP Group and First National Bank of Namibia not only for covering the costs for the contextualisation of the South African Office Rating Tool to suit Namibian conditions, but also for being the first to register their new flagship building being constructed in the city centre as the first building to be certified as a green building of Namibia.  I would like to challenge all building developers and owners to embrace the good example that has been set by the WSP Group and the FNB.  I want to also encourage other industries and stakeholders to come forth so that other rating tools such as the tools for retails, public and educations buildings, residential units, etc., could be contextualised for the Namibian situation.


In conclusion, the building sector sustainability is becoming main stream and thus the GBCNA offers a faster and better way for suppliers, contractors, architects and other building professionals to achieve the goal of sustainability.


Ladies and gentlemen, it is my hope that this historic 2014 GBCNA Annual Convention will through tailor-made training courses, presentations and exhibitions further promote and educate building professionals and all stakeholders on green building issues.  Let us interact with one another, let’s network, and learn as much as possible from each other as we advocate for the green agenda.  I wish you a pleasant stay in our city, please feel welcomed.  I therefore declare this 1st 2014 GBCNA Annual Convention open.

Thank you!


1.     The Greening of the White House”, http://clinton3.nara.gov/Initiatives/Climate/ greeningsummary.html