At the recent Gauteng Regional Awards of the 4th South African Women in Property Awards (SAWIPA), Marloes Reinink was named Business Woman of the Year: Entrepreneur. The SAWIPA Gauteng Regional Awards was hosted at the Sanlam Art Gallery, and seeks to recognise women in the Gauteng region who continue to influence and change the landscape of the property industry.
Reinink is founder of Solid Green Consulting, the largest dedicated green building consulting firm in South Africa. Under her leadership, Solid Green has achieved over 55 green building certifications and has begun to create a footprint in countries like Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Botswana and Namibia. As director, Reinink has been responsible for the growth of the business over the last 8 years, from the initial three partners to fourteen Green Star Accredited Professionals.
“It is crucial that cities grow in a sustainable manner,” Reinink says. “Cities today face numerous challenges, but at the same time they are nodes of opportunity to move green design beyond the building scale into the public realm.
“It is a great privilege to be acknowledged as Gauteng’s Business Woman of the Year: Entrepreneur against such high-calibre professionals. The South African Women in Property Awards offers a platform for celebrating not only gender equity in our property industry, but also the important advances that the sector is taking to align itself with best practice worldwide.”
An architect by training, Reinink holds two Masters Degrees for her work in developing the Sustainable School Design Tool for the design of schools in rural areas in South Africa, and Energy Efficiency Labelling Programmes for South Africa. After completing these studies, she joined the CSIR where she worked on the Sustainable Building Assessment Tool (SBAT) and the Green Building Programme for Africa.
In 2007, Reinink went into consulting at Green by Design, which in 2008 became part of WSP, a leading multi-national engineering consultancy. She was the sustainability consultant and Green Star expert on the ground-breaking Nedbank Phase II in Sandton, which received the first Green Star SA Office v1 Design and As-Built rating; as well as Villa Mall Pretoria, which received the first Green Star SA Retail v1 Design rating.
A proven pioneer in her field, Reinink founded Solid Green in 2010. Her unwavering focus on reversing the effects of climate change through better buildings and her passion for sustainability have won over the entire construction industry, and she is now easily the most recognizable face in green building consulting.
She has also ensured that the business invests in its staff by providing a healthy work environment and a healthy work culture. Solid Green’s own office, the first project in Africa to be featured on the Biophilic Map, was awarded a prestigious LEED Platinum certification for Commercial Interiors and the first 6-Star Green Star SA Interiors v1 certification in 2016.
Says Chilufya Lombe, Reinink’s business partner and director at Solid Green, “The Company is continuously evolving and has never been allowed to become complacent in any way. Under her leadership, new service offerings such as green building education, policy work for African countries, and the development of energy building regulations have set the firm apart. She also has a keen interest in advancing the skills of others to continue the fight against climate change, and her advocacy work includes mentoring Masters Students with an interest in sustainability.”
Reinink reached the pinnacle of local Green Building success in 2013 when she won the Green Star SA Leadership Awards’ Established Green Star. Since then, she has taken on new challenges and is currently the only ambassador in Africa for the Living Building Challenge, possibly the most rigorous green building certification programme and sustainable design framework in the world. She says, “This work keeps me motivated and realistic that there is still a long way to go in terms of greening the built environment. Solid Green is very excited to be working on two residential projects in Cape Town that are registered to be Full Living Buildings under the Challenge.”
Reinink has also been proactive in addressing the lack of knowledge on green building matters by co-founding GreenED in 2017, an online platform that provides affordable online courses on sustainability in the built environment. The aim is not only to reach professionals in the building industry but also students in universities, effectively creating a grass roots programme for the green economy.
The SAWIPA Awards not only recognise the achievements of individuals but also their contribution to the broader industry, to encourage transformation and women’s participation in the sector. Other Gauteng winners were Kajal Budhia from DSA Architects International (Young Achiever Award); Jess Cleland from Broll Occupier Services (Professional of the Year: Private Sector); and Tara Ngubane from PRASA Corporate Real Estate Solutions (Professional of the Year: Public Sector). Winners of all the regional awards in the different categories will go through to the national awards on 23 October 2018.