Edward Knolles Green the fourth was a son of Edward Knolles Green the third (1842-1903, of Cape Town) and his wife Johanna A.W. Louw; a grandson of Edward Knolles Green the second (1815-1883, of Cape Town); and a great grandson of Edward Knolles Green the first (1788-1828, of Lancashire, England, and Cape Town). Edward the second established the firm E.K. Green & Co., wine merchants of Cape Town, of which Edward the fourth later became managing director. By 1919 a subsidiary, E.K. Green & Morison, Ltd., was doing business in Johannesburg.
Edward the fourth was educated at the South African College, Cape Town (South African who's who, 1917/8). In the list of alumni of the college (Ritchie, 1918) Edward Knolles Green is listed as having studied there from 1865 to 1869 and in the annual Calendar of the University of the Cape of Good Hope E. Green is listed as having obtained the Third Class Certificate in Literature and Science (equivalent to matriculation) in the latter year. This cannot be Edward the fourth, who was born in 1865, and hence must refer to Edward the third. Edward the fourth listed his hobby as sport. His address until about 1903 was Mouille House, Beach Road, Cape Town. In 1890 he married Elizabeth Louw.
During 1896 E.K. Green (probably Edward the fourth, but perhaps Edward the third) made regular meteorological observations for the Meteorological Commission of the Cape of Good Hope at Mouille Point, Cape Town. From 1897 his station was classified as a second order meteorological station and he continued to report his observations to the commission regularly to the end of 1901, after which the station was delisted.