Sustainable property development is the new frontier

Women-owned alternative building technology company champions investor development

Sihle Lindiwe Vilakazi, the founder of Kelo Group, has always been passionate about all property-related things, especially the building and maintenance of properties. Based in Johannesburg, this growing property development company reuses materials from demolition projects and helps reduce its carbon footprint by repurposing and recycling.


Sustainable development


The group’s focus is on sustainable property development, and it also offers additional services in facilities management. Vilakazi assists property investors to get the best use from their property investments through subdivisions, extensions, refurbishments, and the maintenance of their properties. Their aim is to reuse as many materials found on site as possible when they build – targeting an urban redevelopment zone, as identified by the City of Johannesburg and funded by the likes of TUFH.


Making the old new


“We love redesigning existing buildings because when you don’t build from scratch, you contribute to lessening the exhaustive carbon emissions that the construction industry is known for,” says Vilakazi.


Interior architecture is used to change the use of a building, breaking down certain walls and carving out new spaces without necessarily changing the outside of the building, or having to rezone the property. This allows them to minimise the impact on the environnment by re-imagining and redesigning builds for a higher density.


Urban renewal programmes


Kelo Group aims to run a business that is in line with some of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. Urban renewal programmes are intended to address issues of urban decay, which occurs when land or buildings fall into disrepair, often because of deindustrialisation and economic restructuring. Cities in the developing world are growing, both in numbers and size, which is making high-density construction better for the environment.


Reuse, recycle, upcycle


Vilakazi believes that in property, finding ways to reuse building materials or fittings in rental properties or when flipping homes, makes sense and even more cents. “Building in redevelopment zones minimises new resources required to manufacture piping, pavements and building materials, as they can reuse, recycle and upcycle what is found in the existing building.”


This article was first published in Building and Decor

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Lindiwe Vilakazi is a participant in Fetola’s Circular Economy Accelerator (CEA), a sustainability growth solution which empowers South African entrepreneurs to build successful, environmentally-sound businesses, in partnership with J.P. Morgan, the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria and Nedbank.

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