- Songo Didiza is the founder and CEO of GreenBDG (Green Building Design Group)
- The organisation is involved in developing a series of Building Efficiency Technical guidelines
- GreenBDG also drives initiatives to bridge the gap between the South African National Building Standards (SANS20400) and the public/private building sectors.
Songo Didiza is the founder and CEO of GreenBDG (Green Building Design Group), one of the leading partners in the African green economy. The GreenBDG initiative serves as a bridge and cross-pollination of information between public and private sector stakeholders involved in developing infrastructure projects.
One of the organisation’s initiatives is developing a series of Building Efficiency Technical guidelines. These guidelines are formulated based on input from built industry professionals that attend the annual Going Green Conferences (GGCs) held across the country. The ongoing conferences provide an open platform for built environment industry participants to discuss relevant working solutions towards achieving resource efficiencies in infrastructure projects.
The initiative is long-awaited as there is a distinct disconnect between the government’s South African National Standards (SANS 10400) building standards and its implementation with both the private and public sector. Songo’s initiative is truly home-grown and brings these stakeholders together. Her initiative is applied within the context of local conditions which involves business engagement support and integrated skills transfer programmes. These programmes, in turn, support the creation of jobs in the green economy value chains.
Songo has a degree in Economics Science from Wits University, where she majored in Applied Mathematics and Economics plus she completed her Post Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy at Stellenbosch University.
She has wasted no time in driving her initiatives forward by also facilitating the first SANS10400-XA compliance workshop that is directly aimed at Building Control Offices (BCOs) in partnership with the USAID South Africa Low Emission Development Program (SA-LED). The Tshwane Workshop had over 40 building control representatives from 5 different municipalities in attendance ensuring a robust mix of input.
Songo emphasises that the ‘GreenBDG’s advocacy work goes beyond ‘green buildings’ and aims to drive the broader green economy agenda in the continent. The organisation’s unique competitive advantage is the ability to promote sustainable skills transfer, driving and influencing policy implementation whilst ensuring the creation of new investment opportunities in the green economy in Africa’.
Songo Didiza and the GreenBDG bring together a strong business case, ecological design principles and strategic insight to galvanise the country’s and continent’s green economy movement. Apart from the conference initiatives, regular Green Cafés are held across the country to encourage grassroots participation and input in an informal setting.
Ke nako! (It’s time!) for the Green Angel and her initiative to shine.
*This year’s GGC takes place from the 28th – 30th August 2018 in Gauteng – see website for details
Author: Bryan Groenendaal