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Home » Greenovate Awards 2023 (Part 1)

Greenovate Awards 2023 (Part 1)

Using waste materials for thermal insulation, growing bio-building materials with reused carbon dioxide and bacteria, a renewable energy planning app and energy trading platform, and evaluating water efficiency measures to reduce water scarcity impacts. This is part one of a two-part article.

First place Engineering winner: Julian Banks, University of Cape Town – Design of an autonomous energy management agent for a hybrid microgrid.
First place Engineering winner: Julian Banks, University of Cape Town – Design of an autonomous energy management agent for a hybrid microgrid. Image Credit: Growthpoint

These are some of the sustainability ideas explored by local university students in the annual Growthpoint Properties and Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) Greenovate Awards.

Independent start-up Oelinga won the first-ever proptech award of the Greenovate Awards, which recognises and rewards innovative, sustainable solutions by young talent in the built environment. The University of Cape Town (UCT) won the top prizes in both property and engineering categories, once again excelling at the 2023 Greenovate Awards.

UCT won the engineering category – which incorporates electrical, computer and electronic, civil and mechanical engineering. The second-place winners were from North West University (NWU), and the University of Pretoria (UP) took third place.

The property category – which includes quantity surveying, construction management and property studies – also saw UCT triumph in first and second places. The third place went to the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiency (EDGE) Award was presented to Mahima Maharaj of UCT for their presentation on growing bio-building materials from CO2.

The inaugural Greenovate Proptech Award winner was the independent start-up Oelinga by Songo Didiza and Zadok Olinga, which provides solutions for resource management of energy, water and carbon emissions. The second prize went to Kaizen by Rob Whiteley and the third place to Learn Base Energy by Mokete Ratlabala.

The Greenovate Award winners were announced at a gala dinner held at the Levelthree venue in Kramerville. The venue offers picturesque views of the Sandton Central skyline, an iconic South African built environment with the highest number of green certified buildings in Africa.

Since 2015, Greenovate has been inspiring university students to pursue sustainable development. Focused on property industry challenges and the opportunities they present for sustainable solutions, the programme highlights emerging talent and prepares future leaders in the property sector.

This year, 37 students from seven universities – Wits, NWU, UCT, UP, University of the Free State, Nelson Mandela University and Stellenbosch University – entered the property and engineering awards. The students researched existing challenges, proposed unique solutions to real-life problems and presented their ideas to industry decision-makers. In addition, the seven entries from the proptech category came from small businesses that are within the research and development phase.

Grahame Cruickshanks, Growthpoint’s Head of Sustainability and Utilities comments, “Growthpoint emphasises environmental sustainability in our ESG strategy, demonstrated by our support of the Greenovate Awards. The submitted projects showcase the growing global trend towards eco-friendly buildings. Some contributions focused on adding to critical research, while others explored practical solutions. We commend the students’ resilience in delivering such high-quality presentations while managing exams and other academic responsibilities at the end of the year.”

Co-founder of the competition, the GBCSA, is entirely dedicated to shaping a green future and a built environment where people and the planet thrive. “GBCSA is proud of our Greenovate partnership with Growthpoint and delighted by the solutions developed by such bright young minds. Knowing that we are supporting the skills and opportunities of future leaders who are going to shape our future and inform South Africa’s sustainability trajectory is a source of hope and inspiration,” says Georgina Smit, GBCSA head of technical.

The bespoke programme will be based on a baseline assessment to determine Oelinga’s specific development needs and challenges as they navigate building a sustainable business in the South African market. It includes strategic business planning, market access, networking, training, capacity building, financial support, funding guidance, mentorship, coaching, innovation, technology integration and monitoring and evaluation. After completing this programme, the Greenovate PropTech Award winner should have valuable insights, an expanded network, and measurable growth in market presence, revenue, and business development.

Participants in the Greenovate Awards receive valuable mentorship and collaboration opportunities. They gain access to knowledge and resources needed to turn their research into practical products or services for the property industry. The awards also offer mentorship programmes and expert-led workshops.

Greenovate introduces young talent to the latest sustainability concepts and connects them with top sustainability influencers and property companies. This opportunity serves as a launchpad for their careers and expands the green talent pool for Growthpoint, the green building movement and South Africa’s overall benefit. The programme also fosters lasting networks and partnerships among participants.

Continued in part two…

Source: Contributed by Growthpoint Properties