Sustainable human settlement development: cost implications of going green
The South African government directs low income housing in the framework of sustainable development with clear guidelines (South Africa. Department of Human Settlements, National Housing Code: Part 3, 2009). However, the international shift towards “green” housing (WCED, 1987), may require a paradigm shift for developers and implementers. The financial cost of greening, cost of support, cost of effort, life cycle costs and the opportunity costs are being investigated. The various benefits, drivers, barriers and methods of green construction, with specific reference to sustainable human settlements, were sourced from literature. A study was conducted on the application thereof in the construction industry, to be able to understand and calculate the scope of going green and the methods currently applied in the construction industry. An exploratory survey informed the interview protocol. The main study involved two phases. Firstly, the analysis of two South African case studies, namely the Cosmo City development and the Savanna City development. Secondly, the conducting of face-to-face interviews with various sustainable human settlement development stakeholders in the Free State and Gauteng provinces. Key finding included a lack of knowledge, skills or experience regarding the cost and effective implementation of green construction practices and procedures related to sustainable human settlements, may have a negative influence on the construction industry’s reputation regarding green building. Developers, implementers and decision-makers may find information, from this study, regarding the cost of going “green” which includes building methods, materials and design of use in planning for sustainable human settlements. Knowledge of the possible green construction practices and procedures in the construction industry may be beneficial to improve the quality of life for housing beneficiaries. These practices are not necessarily more expensive.