The greening of Vietnam is too slow

15:44 | 06/07/2017 Science - Technology

(VEN) - There have been only 60 green construction projects in Vietnam since the first project of this kind was implemented almost a decade ago. Vietnam says developing green projects has now become a top priority in a bid to achieve energy efficiency, protect the environment and help mitigate climate change.  

Modest figures

Nguyen Tran Nam, chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Association (VNREA), said at a recent Hanoi seminar launching a green construction development program that green building in Vietnam hasn’t attracted proper interest. Against only 60 green construction projects in Vietnam over the past decade, 125 were built in Malaysia, 500 in Chinese Taipei and nearly 1,200 in Singapore.

Trinh Tung Bach, manager of green buildings at Capital House Group, said most real estate investors and buyers misunderstand the concept of green building. The first misconception is that green buildings are projects with many trees, the second is that green buildings are extremely expensive and only luxury housing can meet green building standards. “A lot of investors think that green buildings will cost 10-30 percent more than conventional buildings. This is a great barrier to the greening of buildings in Vietnam,” Bach said.

According to USAID Vietnam Clean Energy Program, green buildings could save up to 50 percent of energy without entailing additional costs. The clearest benefit of such buildings is to reduce operation costs that often account for more than 80 percent of investment.

According to architect Tran Ngoc Chinh, chairman of the Vietnam Urban Planning and Development Association, green buildings haven’t been invested properly in terms of design.

Faster actions needed

VNREA is presiding over the implementation of the green building development program in Vietnam from 2017-2022, which includes improving community and business awareness of green buildings; green building specialists training; honoring green and energy efficient enterprises and products, and more. The program is expected to encourage business and real estate to develop green and energy efficiency projects.

Nguyen Tran Nam, chairman of VNREA, said the urbanization rate in Vietnam is 36 percent (electricity consumption per one square meter of housing is more than 100kWh per year). If energy is used efficiently, cost will be reduced and a healthy living environment will be created.

Faster actions are needed to develop the program. The government, ministries and local authorities should build a legal corridor promoting green development.

Within the seminar’s framework, VNREA signed agreements with investors, who have committed to developing green products in the next five years. Capital House has committed to funding US$1 million within the next five years and pioneering in promoting the program.

Nguyen Hanh