Green buildings are defined as those with high efficiency in the use of energy and materials and not having much adverse effect on human health and the environment.
Tran Khanh Trung, President of the HCM City Green Architecture Club, said: “Vietnam now ranks 17th in Asia and 37th in the world in the number of green buildings, but the fact is the construction of such buildings has been steadily increasing, going up from 28 in 2016 to 48 this year.”
He listed the hurdles to green building construction in Vietnam.
“Low awareness of the community about how green buildings can protect the environment is the biggest challenge.
“Misconceptions about green buildings are the next hurdle. People mistakenly think a green building must have a lot of trees and energy saving equipment, it is only about unique architectural solutions.
“People also think it is very difficult to get green certification and green buildings are very expensive. They are wrong.”
He said they cost 5-30% more than normal buildings, but a very good consultant could bring it down to just 0.5-2%.
He himself constructed a green building for his company at 8% extra cost, he said.
“I spent 4% more for energy efficiency and fully recovered my money in three years.”
He invested another 3% to ensure no harmful materials or equipment were used indoors, considering that an investment for his and his staff’s health, he said.
In Vietnam, the concept of green buildings is still relatively new to the public and is not fully understood even by those working in construction and architecture, he said.
He was confident that “If the community’s awareness of environmental protection improves, there will be a boom in green buildings.”
Vu Linh Quang, vice president of the club, said: “Green buildings also contribute significantly to the process of urban development by creating a sustainable living environment, attracting foreign investment and increasing tourism.”
Joseph Azzarello, senior staff engineer – sustainability, at Kohler Company and LEED certification coach at the US Green Building Council (USGBC) said: “Buildings have a great impact on the environment and we must change them to green for environmental protection.”
Globally, buildings account for 17% of water use, 33% of CO2 emissions and 40% of the energy consumed, he said.
The symposium attracted property developers, architects and interior design specialists, giving industry professionals an opportunity to share and discuss problems, hear from leading experts about world trends, and promote green buildings in the country.
Following the symposium, Kohler organised an LEED Green Associate training programme, and awarded attendees a certificate that is a pre-requisite for the official LEED GA certification exam.