While speaking at the 13th Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) which held from 23rd to 26th July 2019 in Abuja, Professor Charles Inyangete, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Innovative Risk & Investment Solutions (IRIS) Limited, charged stakeholders in the built-environment to finance sustainable buildings in order to grapple with the present and imminent challenges of climate change.
While delivering a paper titled, ‘Financing Sustainable Buildings: Impact of Built Environment on Climate Change,’ Inyangete said that climate action offers a major opportunity to ensure sustainable global development and boost economic growth. According to him, it is already delivering real results in terms of new jobs, economic savings, competitiveness and market opportunities, and improved wellbeing for people worldwide with even greater investment, innovation, and growth potential ahead.
He said that population growth and urbanization, especially in Africa and Asia, are putting pressure on housing delivery systems, which are often informal or rely on the state. By 2030 Africa, he said, will have more than 50 percent of its population living in cities.
‘’Where formal housing can’t be supplied, informal housing quickly fills the gaps and slums proliferate, creating new development challenges.
‘’While developing countries have made great progress in improving the framework for housing and housing finance, a significant gap remains to access to affordable housing.
‘’Green buildings represent the low hanging fruits in fighting energy crises. One of the cheapest way of cutting GHG emission is to make buildings more energy efficient with low ecological footprint. This is done through retrofitting existing buildings and planning and design of green buildings.
‘’It is estimated that, by adopting green building practices, the world will reduce an estimated 30 % of the global energy demand by 2030.
‘’Green buildings are not rocket science: we find passive architectural elements in vernacular architecture and in most ancient buildings. These buildings rely mostly on passive/natural means for cooling, heating and lighting.
‘’Green buildings are designed to reduce the demand for resources such as: energy, water, land etc. They are also designed to generate much of the energy they consume, using alternative sources of energy such as solar and wind. Excess energy is feed into the national/local electric grid.’’
Sustainability, according to him is development that meets the needs of the present generation, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. This sustainability, he said, is based upon three components: economic growth, social progress and environmental protection.
Speaking further, he said. ‘’Over 50% of Nigerians already live in cities, 34% below the poverty line and 68% below the empowerment line.
‘’By 2050 Nigeria will be home to 295m people, equivalent to half Europe’s urban population, and only just falling short of U.S. figures. This momentous shift which will bring nearly 200m new people into cities, create over 20 new middle-tier cities, and ensuring Lagos will rival Beijing, Mexico City and Sao Paolo in size.
‘’With cities accounting for est. 75% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and 53% highly vulnerable to serious and near-term climate change effects,
‘’Nigeria’s cities will be a vital nexus for mitigation and adaptation initiatives. Not only this, but as the country is yet to build the majority of its urban infrastructure, it has the opportunity to leapfrog developed nations by adopting clean technologies and economic strategies early.
“When we have more efficient buildings, we will have less demand on power. Green building is the best way forward. It is a good thing that we now have certification for IFC Edge for green building. We need to encourage regreening in the environment. We need to build the capabilities of our financing and investors to be able to manage climate change risks.”
“We need to collect data because what gets collected is what gets managed. Town planners need to consider the environment while planning. In 2016, Nigeria incurred N351 billion cost for gas flaring,’’ he said.
With a memorable quip, he said, “climate change is not the biggest issue of our time, it is the only issue.”
By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja