FOURLEAF Estate, a residential development in Port Elizabeth, was declared Africa’s greenest residential development by The Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA). Fourleaf is the first project to achieve Final EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) Certification. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, created EDGE and worked with the GBCSA to tailor the tool for the South African environment. EDGE is a software, standard and green building certification system. Compared to the Base Case used in the EDGE online application, the development will be up to 29% more energy efficient, up to 25% more water efficient and boasts up to 43% reduction in embodied energy, resulting in utility bill savings of around R1 280 per unit if operated the way intended. For Similan, the developers behind Fourleaf Estate, developing in a sustainable manner while creating more opportunities for South Africans to own homes, is key. “Although not easy, our philosophy around sustainable development is simple. If we want to offer buyers an affordable investment, we should develop in ways that will save them costs,” said development manager Pieter du Toit. According to Du Toit, the EDGE certificate fueled their sustainable development philosophy, being able to give status to what they were already focusing on. Similan is one of a few development groups in SA who currently looks at the entire property life cycle for the affordable housing market, being involved from development phase to tenant and property management. Their experience and deep understanding of this market enabled them to not only challenge the status quo of affordable housing in terms of design, but also achieve EDGE certification. Fourleaf Estate is funded by the Housing Impact Fund of South Africa (HIFSA), managed by the Development Impact Funds team within Old Mutual Alternative Investments. “It’s a big achievement for us as we know the generations who will call Fourleaf Estate home, will benefit from this and that speaks right to our vision of developing for communities and not just homes,” he said. Phase 2 of the estate is currently under construction and available to rent or buy. Once completed around 300 families will call Fourleaf Estate their home. Fourleaf Estate delivers significant energy savings to its residents through such practical solutions as heat pumps for hot water, low-flow taps (which reduce hot water consumption through aeration), and the installation of water-efficient fittings such as low-flow showerheads and dual-flush toilets. Reduced window-to-wall ratios and roof insulation ensure optimal energy efficiency.