Technical research and modelling

The Green House has built up a detailed technical understanding of all sectors of the South African economy in terms of activities and structure, technologies employed, energy and material flows, emissions to air and water, waste generation and resulting environmental impacts. With this technical background, together with our academic grounding, The Green House is well placed to undertake technical research on a diverse range of specialist topics, including exploratory “blue skies” research. Previous work has resulted in technical reports, literature reviews, position papers, book chapters, handbooks and new methods we apply in our work.

Quantitative assessment and modelling

We achieve results by applying systems thinking, an approach to problem solving that unpacks the various elements of any system and seeks to understand how they relate to each other and their environment. Where relevant, we build quantitative systems models for enumerating these relationships. Building system models is an extremely powerful way of framing, understanding and articulating complex issues and problems. We also draw on the philosophies encapsulated in the meta-disciplines of life cycle thinking, industrial ecology, cleaner production and sustainable production and consumption to guide our work. The Green House uses various modelling platforms, including Excel, Analytica and STELLA. We recognise that technical models can often be intimidating to stakeholders. We therefore encourage our clients to have ownership of their models, and our service offering includes mediated/collaborative modelling, multi-criteria decision analysis, training and facilitation.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Life cycle assessment (LCA) reveals and quantifies environmental impacts and resource use along the complete supply chain of a product or service, that is, from the mining or production of its raw materials, through manufacturing, distribution and use of products, right on to the end of life. The Green House is one of the leading LCA practitioners in South Africa, having been involved in both the development and application of the methodology for over fifteen years. The crux of an LCA study is the quality of the data that underpins it. We work with the leading global database, ecoinvent, which together with our local knowledge and process engineering background ensures high quality, relevant assessments. An LCA looks widely at all potential impacts of a product, including carbon footprint, water scarcity footprint, human health damage, ecosystem impacts and resource use. In our footprint studies we place particular emphasis in providing results in a transparent and accessible way. Also essential in our...Read More >

Policy Analysis and Support

Development of policy requires a sound quantitative understanding of the implications of policy interventions for both business and the environment. The Green House has been commissioned on a variety of projects to provide quantitative data for such policy interventions, such as analyses of potential emission trajectories of individual sectors under various scenarios, and the ability of different companies and sectors to adapt to rising energy prices and emission taxes. We have also been engaged by a number of clients to help them fully understand the implications of climate policy and regulations for their organisations, and to design the framework for the components which make up South Africa’s climate mitigation system. Through our work, The Green House has also developed a deep understanding of the carbon tax. We offer advisory services to our clients on the risks and implications of the tax for their operations, including preparing their greenhouse gas reporting to align with regulatory requirements and calculating their tax liability.

Stakeholder engagement and facilitation and training

Sustainability challenges require the engagement of multiple stakeholders; to obtain their input, expert knowledge and buy-in, and to ensure a common understanding of both baseline data and visions for the future. Facilitating such technical and multi-disciplinary discussions requires not only experience in group facilitation techniques, but also a rich technical understanding of the subject area. The Green House consulting team has many years of international experience in facilitation across a wide range of stakeholder processes – such as supporting biofuels policy in the UK, setting up a charter for the Centre for Carbon Capture and Storage in South Africa, the allocation of monies for minerals research in Australia, facilitating the WWFs Global Climate and Energy Initiative strategy sessions, developing the Coal Roadmap for South Africa and setting agendas for collaborative research groups. As a complement to our facilitation services, we are also able to offer training on a range of topics related to our core business offering.