The conflict persists: the need to preserve ecological systems versus the need to use land for development and building. The reason for this conflict more often than not can be attributed to economic restraints. How do you reconcile ecological value with financial value?

This has proved a difficult task, particularly when it comes to the practical application of this process. In South Africa in particular, the continued discounting of the importance of ecosystems is the direct result of financial concerns. The conventional and less costly approaches to land use planning and site development – as opposed to approaches which account for the value ecological systems – are largely still the dominant methods employed. The valuation of ecosystems and taking environmental impact into account is all too often brushed over, albeit an imperative step in the land use planning process.

A clearer understanding of ecological value and increased awareness on this topic will drive decisions and actions in appropriate land use planning and site development. This debate will be explored in greater detail by Eamonn O’Rourke at the Green Building Conference and Exhibition 2011, now in its 5th year. There is a definite shift within the professional field requiring a need for more practical and sustainable solutions.

These needs are being addressed by the Green Building Conference and Exhibition, which aims to focus on pertinent issues within the Green Building industry.

Knowledge and content will be presented by means of international and local experts, exhibitors and design charettes, which will progress from theory and general understanding to practical implementation. The Green Building Conference and Exhibition will take place on the 13th and 14th July at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg and expects approximately 700 delegates and over 100 exhibitors.

The importance of a detailed consideration of the environment cannot be underestimated. Often this goes by unnoticed, as all but a few are unaware of the impact that failing to account for the value of ecosystems can have on, not only the environment, but on the life of the buildings themselves.

For more information on the Green Building Conference and Exhibition visit or e-mail: < /> / Tel: 021 447 4733