Adrie Fourie: Sustainable Cities & Research

Adrie Fourie: Sustainable Cities & Research

Sustainability expert, Adrie Fourie, has recently been appointed to head up Solid Green’s department of Sustainable Cities & Research. This work will focus on providing support to our clients and delivery partners on projects that have an impact beyond the scale of individual buildings. Here, Adrie speaks about her new role.

I am extremely excited to be heading up Solid Green’s newly created department of Sustainable Cities & Research. It is envisioned this will be a space in which we provide support to our clients and delivery partners to move toward addressing sustainability and resource efficiency on a larger precinct, district or even city scale. This includes supporting research efforts to understand opportunities within the sustainable development industry and how further transformation can be facilitated, while being mindful of challenges and knowledge gaps that might be holding the sector’s evolutionary process back.

During 2020, I started working with Solid Green on a few projects on a contractual basis which really planted the seed for ongoing collaboration in a more permanent capacity. One of the projects I have been involved with was research for an American-based NPO on water efficiency opportunities in South Africa, with the aim of conserving water and avoiding associated carbon emissions from water heating. Next month, I will be participating in the virtual Hot Water Forum being hosted by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), where I shall share our findings and learn from similar studies conducted worldwide.

Another project I am involved with focusses on learning more about, and applying a city-scale certification protocol: testing the EcoDistricts™ protocol for the City of Johannesburg. The aim is to understand the local context and how implementing this new model of urban development can be applied successfully and replicated continuously, to create more equitable, resilient cities that are focussed on moving toward carbon neutrality. We are also engaging with a local developer on potentially pursuing an EcoDistricts™ certification, and it is great to see the market responding to the new service offering we are hoping to expand.

I am also working on an offshore Green Star certification – engaging with a design team and client who are new to the green building industry, which is both challenging and rewarding. I particularly enjoy facilitating the change we know is needed.

The real beauty of Solid Green is that they create platforms for ideas to be discussed, debated, and ultimately developed into an exciting new road down which to travel. And this is a space where I can thrive.

Armed with an undergraduate degree in urban planning with a strong focus on economics, I started my career as a Development Economist – helping cities, municipalities and private clients identify growth or investment opportunities while advising on the possible social, environmental and economic impacts their decisions might have, and helping to maximise the positives and offset the negatives in appropriate ways.

After a few years I transitioned into an advisory role around urban management and sustainable city planning, and I think it was here that my interest in the green building industry took hold. In support of this interest, I completed a master’s in architecture through research on water conservation in the building environment, and I completed a Postgraduate Diploma at the Erasmus University in the Netherlands focussed on green cities for eco-efficiency, once again helping me to refocus on the city-scale.

I am a trained Climate Reality leader, a Living Future Ambassador, an EcoDistrict™ AP as well as a Green Star AP+. Clearly, I have a thirst for learning and a passion for ensuring that we treat the earth with the kindness it requires to support us in the long-term.

I have always been a keen advocate for moving away from business-as-usual, to get off the path of least resistance and motivate for new ways to approach development while being mindful of our impact on the communities around us, supporting the environment for future generations and shifting mindsets along the way. I am looking forward to the opportunity I have been given by Solid Green to continue the work I love in a supporting and nurturing environment.

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