Andile Shange is taking on the World

Andile Shange is taking on the World

As a budding dedicated sustainability consultant with a passion for sustainable and regenerative design, Andile Shange is taking on the world from the Solid Green offices while working on several inspiring Green Star submissions.

I was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg, and took a gap year after high school, focussing my attention on community service while trying to figure out what to study. At the end of the year, I moved to Johannesburg to pursue my diploma in Interior Design at the University of Johannesburg. After a year of study, UJ introduced a degree in Interior Design. I switched to the degree programme and graduated three years later. Having had a taste of sustainability and regenerative design in my studies, I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that this is what I wanted to do.

Since arriving at Solid Green in July 2019, I have assisted on several projects such as the Pullman Hotel in Accra, Ghana, and a hotel in Dunkeld, Johannesburg. I am currently working on an interior certification for a corporate Head Office in Sandton; the Emerald Lifestyle Centre for Legaro Properties in Hyde Park; and the WDB Investment Holdings office in Dunkeld.

Being part of such a proactive team means being able to play my part in making a difference – not just in helping projects achieve Green Star certifications, but also in people’s lives by ensuring that the built environment, where we spend up to 90% of every day, is an environment in which occupants can thrive. Coming from an interior design background, my passion has always been about the human factor – how people interact with their space and how space is used, not in its most functional sense, but in creating a system of design where people can find wellbeing in that environment.

I believe that, in our current global environmental crisis, it is the duty of all humans to play their part in being environmentally conscientious. According to the World Green Building Council’s ‘Advancing Net Zero’ report (2019), the building and construction industry is responsible for 39% of all global carbon emissions. This statistic should greatly concern all of us that live and operate in these spaces on a daily basis. So, I am honoured to do my part in trying to ensure that this number starts to decrease.

An open mind is extremely important to me as a young professional. I am concerned at the reluctancy of the workforce to take on new graduates; and I think that industry professionals are often quick to shut out ingenious solutions that are different to the norm. Young professionals are often met with brick walls when entering the workplace, and often face biases that include stereotypes based on social standing, gender, age and physical ability. Actively working to include more diverse, capable young professionals in the work sector can only be a benefit to society at large.

I think that people in this country and beyond stand to gain so much through education on sustainability and being environmentally conscious. There is a huge gap between the knowledge held by sustainability consultants and that of the average man in the street of Braamfontein. Environmental conscientiousness should not be confined to trending tweets about bushfires and global warming. Instead, it should be taught and practiced in schools, the work environment and homes everywhere. We cannot rely on anyone but ourselves to change the world. We have to do it – one lifestyle habit at a time.

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