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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  13 August 2015  

‘Green' buildings can be far more energy efficient

Buildings account for more than 30 per cent of total energy use in fast-growing economies like Viet Nam, which means making new buildings energy efficient is a crucial task.

Construction experts said at a workshop held yesterday in Ha Noi aimed to promote energy efficiency and green buildings to reduce energy costs and harmful gas emissions. It was hosted by the International Financial Corporation (IFC) and Ministry of Construction.

According to the World Bank, energy consumption quadrupled in the Viet Nam in the past 10 years, leading to an annual 12 per cent increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

Improving energy efficiency in the construction sector would help the Government accomplish its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 8 to 10 per cent between 2011 and 2020, according to the World Bank.

The Ministry of Construction has paid special attention to making more projects resource-efficient, said Nguyen Cong Thinh, deputy director of the Department of Science, Technology and Environment under the ministry.

The ministry also appreciated IFC's efforts to improve awareness, and provide tools and technical measures for investors and architects to develop more green buildings.

In 2003, energy consumption in the civil sector accounted for 22.4 per cent of the total. It is estimated to have increased 37 or 38 per cent last year.

Energy consumption in buildings increased due to increasing fuel prices and living standards, urbanization and the increasing number of buildings, Thinh said.

False belief

Autif Sayyed, a green building specialist for East Asia and Pacific in IFC, said construction demand was growing in emerging markets. Such markets had enormous potential for saving energy, but it hadn't been tapped yet due to a false belief that green buildings cost much more than conventional ones.

At the workshop, the IFC announced a new green building certification system that empowers developers to reduce the amount of energy and water their buildings use by 20 per cent. It's called Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE).

EDGE offers free software that allows designers to choose technical solutions while showing the extra costs to build green and the payback period.

Steven Du, Managing director of SGS Viet Nam, said EDGE offers cost-efficient ways to bring green features into commercial and residential buildings.

As the unit checking and granting EDGE certifications, SGS Viet Nam is expected to award the certifications to 20 per cent of new constructions projects in the country, equivalent to about 70,000 housing units. This will cut 19,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year and save 43,500 megawatt-hours of energy use, equivalent to US$8 billion a year by 2021.

While emphasising the need to adopt green building tools like EDGE in Viet Nam, participants at the workshop discussed obstacles to making environmentally friendly buildings.

Nguyen Cong Thinh mentioned a lack of preferential mechanisms. Taking action would depend on the developers' willingness.

Vu Linh Quang of Ardor Architect, the consultant for developer Nam Long Investment Corp, said it was necessary to create more concrete instructions for implementing relevant national regulations, as many were not popular with builders.

Data on saving energy, water and materials is limited and equipment used in green building is still expensive.

Nam Long is among the first corporations to receive an EDGE certification in Viet Nam for its Bridge View Apartment. The design will cut energy use by 20 per cent, water use by 22 per cent and construction materials by 27 per cent while only adding 2 per cent to construction costs.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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