Green building is not a new idea. In Australia, the concept of designing and constructing buildings to save on energy and water, increase comfort and utilise sustainable building products has become mainstream over the last 20 years. However, in developing countries such as Vietnam, the green building sector is only now coming to the fore, offering solutions to concerns over energy security, climate change and sustainable building materials and resources.
In 2007, the Vietnam Green Build Council (VGBC) was established by the Green Cities Fund (a US-based NGO), to increase awareness of sustainable building design and construction and build capacity in the Vietnamese building sector.
As part of their charter, the VGBC developed the LOTUS green building certification system. The rating tool has been specially developed to respond to the unique conditions of Vietnam, with a greater focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation. The LOTUS rating tool applies the same benchmarks for energy and water savings as set out in other globally available tools.
LOTUS is not the only green building rating tool available in Vietnam. Projects are able to register and be certified under LEED (US Green Building Council) and Green Mark (Singapore Building and Construction Authority). Projects can also be designed to the criteria set in other tools such as Green Star (Australian Green Building Council) but projects will not receive a formal certificate of achievement.
Already in Vietnam, a total of 27 developments have received a green building certification. Of these, 9 projects have been certified under LOTUS, 16 under LEED and 2 under Green Mark. A further 21 projects are registered and currently undergoing the certification process under one of these schemes.
The clear majority of green certified buildings are industrial developments. There are two distinct reasons behind this trend. Firstly, industrial buildings are often energy intensive and therefore the energy savings through green building design create substantial savings in operating costs. Secondly, a significant number of industrial development certified are owned or operated by foreign corporations. These corporations are implementing Corporate Social Responsibility, which is demanded by international consumers.
To date, only two residential projects have gained certification, both under the Green Mark tool. In response, the VGBC is in the process of developing two new green building rating tools for residential development (to replace the existing LOTUS Residential). LOTUS Multi-dwelling units, applying to residential flat buildings is currently in the pilot program stage. A tool designed specifically for single family homes – LOTUS Homes – is in the initial stages of development.
LOTUS Homes will be used as a case study, investigating prescriptive and performance based solutions in green building rating tools for single dwellings. A discussion of this research area will be presented in future blog post…so stay tuned!
You can read more about the Vietnam Green Building Council here: http://vgbc.org.vn/