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World Banks’ Green Building Certification and Benefits to Nigerian Investors

Investors in housing sector have been charged to introduce and implement a greener development path that ensures resource-efficient construction and practices.

According to experts, green construction offers a chance to secure emission cuts at a low cost and lock in energy and water savings for decades to come. Nigeria currently ranks as the 15th most vulnerable country to the effects of climate change in the world due to heavy dependence on fossil fuels for power generation leading to low life expectancy.

Buildings account for about 40per cent of energy use globally and 19per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, the built environment is expected to double due to high population growth and urbanisation trends while most of the growth will occur in emerging markets, particularly in middle and low income countries in the Sub-Saharan African region like Nigeria, hence, the necessity for stakeholders in housing, to massively invest in green building projects.

Speaking on the benefits of green buildings at a one-day workshop organised by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group in partnership with Green Square Metre Global Investment Limited in Lagos, the founder/ Chief Executive Officer, Green Square Metre, Shaninomi Eribo explained that green construction incorporates design techniques, technologies, and materials that reduce dependence on fossil fuels and negative environmental impact.

He said such structure and application of its processes are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life cycle, from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.

The workshop themed, “IFC Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) discovery”, explores some of the benefits of the EDGE software which include, its role as most economically viable path to building green, drives results by making the next generation of buildings more profitable while being environmentally friendly. It also empowers decision making by giving instant financial and environmental impacts of systems as well as solutions and also reduces operational costs.

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Eribo said the potential for investment in green projects are huge, stressing that out of a total $29.4trillion climate investment potential up to year 2030 in emerging markets, there is a $24.7 trillion investment potential for green buildings alone representing a whopping 84per cent of the total climate investment opportunities.

“IFC Climate Investment Opportunities Report estimates the commercial investment potential in the construction of low-carbon buildings in Sub-Saharan Africa at nearly $153bn, with Nigeria’s climate smart investment potential at over $104bn from 2016–2030 in selected sectors. IFC itself has committed about $300 billion in green building investments over the same period. This includes green bonds and green mortgages and other blended finance instruments.

“Beyond residential developments, green building investment opportunities also extend into retail, hospitality, medical, office and education projects. Just like her counterparts in Columbia, Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam, there is a unique opportunity for Nigerian developers to innovate and demonstrate renewed global leadership in sustainable construction”, he said.

He noted that 70per cent of green buildings in Nigeria and other developing countries hasn’t been built despite its prospects for brand differentiation, lower building operating costs, global branding opportunities as certified projects are celebrated across all official EDGE digital media platforms and opportunity to be profiled for cheaper financing and investment from IFC.

Other opportunities, he said, IFC’s EDGE software and certification standard reduces transaction costs for accessing green finance and is ideally suited for raising finance through green bonds. EDGE already complies with standards such as the Green Bond Principles, recognition by international development partners including the United Nations, World Bank & IFC (and Climate Investors) for measurable reductions in resource use, mitigating the potential effects of climate change in Nigeria, and contributing to the achievement of the SDG’s/Sustainable Development as well as recognition for the active protection of human and environmental.

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On his part, Ghana Green Building Programme Lead (IFC), Mr. Dennis Quansah said EDGE is a green building certification system for emerging markets offered by the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group that focuses on private sector development.

He maintained that green designs in the building sector could save investors serious money through lower energy and water bills adding that investors are fast recognizing that greener buildings can provide multiple benefits such as saving operating costs by boosting efficiency.

The EDGE program, which engages financial institutions, developers, government regulators, and homeowners, is supported by software that can be used by anyone in the world to design a resource-efficient building in more than 130 countries.

“Green building guarantees efficient use of resources in homes and living in resource-efficient units. It significantly reduce energy and water bills among a population that often spends up to 20 percent of their income on utilities.

Fast, easy to use, and affordable, EDGE empowers builders to choose technical solutions that reduce environmental impacts while capturing capital costs and projected savings. It only takes a handful of measures to ensure better building performance, resulting in lower utility costs, extended equipment service life, and less pressure on natural resources”, he stated.

By Victor Gbonegun

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