Green building certification in Vietnam
Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia. With a population nearing 100 million people, Vietnam has an urgent need for sustainable development to help the country meet its citizens’ needs while still preserving its natural resources. One way to achieve this goal is by building green buildings. Many developers in Vietnam are turning to green building standards for their projects. However, there is a lot of confusion surrounding the different certifications. This blog post will introduce some certification schemes that are being used in Vietnam.
What is a green building certification?
Green building certification is an extensive and rigorous process of evaluating the design, construction, and operations of a building or construction project against a set of criteria for environmental sustainability.
There are many benefits to choosing a green building certification. The most important use is that it will help reduce the negative impact on the environment, which can be achieved through sustainable design and energy efficiency measures. These certifications also promote corporate social responsibility by demonstrating your company’s commitment to environmental stewardship. Besides, green building certification helps you save money by reducing operating costs and saving resources. Green buildings are also designed to have better indoor air quality, which means fewer people will be sick at work when they should be working instead!
Why is green building certification necessary?
Green building certification offers independent validation and verification that a project’s design, construction and operation have achieved sustainability goals such as minimizing environmental impact or reducing energy consumption.
Green building certification is a great way to ensure that your company is doing its part in protecting the environment. Many companies are striving to be more environmentally friendly, and in the process, they also want to create sustainable buildings.
Available green building certifications in Vietnam
Many green building certification programs have been developed to address the specific needs of different countries. Two of the most popular and well-rounded green building certification programs in Vietnam are LEED, created by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), and LOTUS, developed by the Vietnam Green Building Council (VGBC).
-The first certification is LEED. This program was created by the US Green Building Council and has been around since 1998, making it one of the oldest green building certification programs available to developers today.
-The second certification is LOTUS. This program was developed by the Vietnam Green Building Council and is a relatively new certification, having been around since 2010.
Both of these programs are recognized internationally as being among some of the most rigorous green building certifications available today in terms of both environmental sustainability standards for buildings but also social responsibility practices.
-In some projects, Singaporean developers also employ their own program known as GREEN MARK that is specifically designed to meet their needs with a particular focus on energy efficiency. Some ambitious and progressive local developers may want to pilot this certification in Vietnam.
Selecting a green building certification program for your project
The assessment of green building certification programs for advanced markets like LEED and Green Mark all encompasses five categories of criteria. These include sustainable site development, energy efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality, water savings. In each of the requirements, they also employ baselines and benchmarks suitable for advanced construction markets.
LOTUS is developed and adapted specifically for Vietnam’s construction industry, a developing market. While LOTUS is the only certification program that fully incorporates the local building codes, it also accepts international standards and best practices in its criteria set-up. The intention is to set its baselines and benchmarks comparable to advanced systems like LEED and Green Mark.
Nevertheless, LOTUS tries to put relatively less emphasis on engineering-based solutions. It encourages nature-based architectural solutions that often exert less burden on the project budget. At the same time, it drastically improves the comfort and experience of building occupants. It also includes criteria aiming to mitigate issues commonly seen in cities in a developing, tropical country like Vietnam, such as air and water pollution, noise and traffic congestion, flooding and climate-related risk, lack of green space and green infrastructure, etc.
LOTUS strives to be a holistic system, covering the full spectrum of what it means to be sustainable, including both “soft” and “hard” credits and effectively building up the important aspects for projects in the Vietnamese context. In LOTUS, it is believed that good planning, social inclusion, and other community aspects are as important as energy efficiency and other engineering aspects.
-In addition to these programs, there is also a certification program called EDGE administered by the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. Originally intended as a resource-efficiency labeling system for developing countries, EDGE includes much more limited scope and uses different baselines and calculation methods than the above-mentioned certification programs. Recently, EDGE is marketed as a green building certification program and gaining traction among local investors, especially apartment developers.
Inevitably, when selecting a green building certification program for your project, many factors will have to be considered. Below are some factors that should go into your consideration:
- The type of project you are developing (residential, commercial, etc.)
- Your budget for the certification process and maintenance costs.
- The certification scope, the criteria and requirements in each certification, the baselines, and calculation methods are employed.
- Assistance and support available from the certifying organization
- Your level of sustainability ambition and goals
The type of project, budget, and sustainability ambition will all impact the decision to choose a particular program for your needs. If you want to know more about the above certification programs before making the decision, you can always contact the VGBC for further support.