Green building is the practice of designing, constructing and operating buildings to:
  • Use energy, water and other resources efficiently
  • Reduce waste, pollution and other negative impacts on environment
  • Maximize occupant health and productivity
  • Decrease life cycle costs
Green building represents one of the most significant opportunities for sustainable growth at both national and global level. It should be fully realized that:
  • the design of our homes plays an essential role in the quality of our lives, comfort level and health;
  • the design of our schools has a lifelong impact on our children who study in them, in terms of influencing students’ attention and health;
  • the design of our workplaces influences employee productivity and health and the business success of our companies;
  • the design of our hospitals has an impact on patients’ recovery period and overheads in healthcare institutions;
  • the design of our cities and communities strongly defines their economic and social dynamics.

Green building is perhaps best understood as a convergence of two movements: (1) an architectural movement emphasizing environment conscious, integrated, efficient and innovative design, and (2) an environmental movement arising from the principles of sustainable development.


In that context, GREEN BUILDING:

  • represents an intelligent approach to energy

Green building encourages setting energy goals and target from the start of the project, taking advantages of building site and climate attributes to reduce heating, cooling and lighting loads, integrating landscape design for shading and windbreaks, facilitating the use of public transport, incorporating renewable energy where possible, etc.

  • protects our water resources

Green building tries to reduce water use and protect its quality, by using water efficient fittings and fixtures. Other technologies such as rain water harvesting, recycling and reuse of grey water, etc. are also being used.

  • reduces waste and pollution

Waste minimization requires careful planning throughout the design, build and occupancy phases. Green building minimizes negative impacts on the environment by “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” strategies. For example, by reducing impervious area, we reduce stormwater runoff and reduce surface temperature. Reusing previously developed sites or existing structures is one of the best ways to limit the negative impacts of development. And certainly, there are a myriad of opportunities for recycled materials use in site development.

  • promotes health and well-being of all building users

Green building emphasizes on providing adequate supply of fresh air throughout the building premises, which is achieved by good ventilation which maintains high indoor air quality, and avoidance of materials and chemicals that can cause emissions of harmful gases.

It encourages extensive use of natural light to illuminate rooms and makes sure that their occupants have a nice view of the surrounding environment, which not only provides the building users with great amount of comfort and a possibility to enjoy the surroundings, but also reduces the need for artificial room lighting.

It is a design that “appeals to both eyes and ears”. In fact, when it comes to schools, health care institutions, private homes and workplaces, acoustics and sound insulation play an important role in providing an ambiance that is good for concentration, recovery as well as for enjoying work and spending time in one’s own home.

By providing a pleasant indoor temperature, it contributes to the creation of a good atmosphere and a pleasant microclimate in rooms where people spend most of their time. Humidity control and air movement control are all important for keeping thermal comfort, but also the biggest consumers of energy. Green building encourages the use of passive cooling through proper use of shading and natural ventilation, or simple but effective equipment such as ceiling fans.

  • keeps our landscape green

Particular attention is paid to site selection, preservation of existing vegetation or the addition of vegetated area during green building design. Vegetation can reduce heating and cooling needs, clean the air and reduce heat island effects, among other benefits.

  • connects us

As early as at the design stage of a building, thought is given to shortening the distance between people’s homes and workplaces or other social locations, which results in a reduced environmental impact of personal vehicles as well as of road and rail traffic in general. Green building encourages the use of environmentally friendly means of transport, such as bicycles and other green transport modes.

  • Looks at the costs of a building over its entire lifecycle

Green building considers costs over the entire life of the building, whereas conventional building is often focused on initial design and construction costs.



Green Building Certification Systems (such as LOTUS, LEED, Green Mark, etc.) are necessary to evaluate if a building is a green building or not.

A Green Building Certification System is a framework for:

  • Setting goals and targets for building performance
  • Verification of environmental claims


Knowing your reason for pursuing green certification for your building sets the tone for the rest of your project. Common motives include:

  • Reducing operations and maintenance costs
  • Keeping building occupants healthy
  • Protecting the environment
  • Differentiation from market competition
  • Corporate mandate



Generally, you’d choose a program that serves your motives while considering the complexity, costs and benefits of certification. Take a look the criteria in each certification program, then assess what you already have or can easily achieve and how far you can go within your budget.

Two commonly used green building certification programs in Vietnam are LEED (developed by US Green Building Council) and LOTUS (developed by Vietnam Green Building Council). There are notable differences in costs of certification, baselines and complexity between the systems.

Green Building Costs

Green building market  in Vietnam has vast potential and opportunities for development. However, it has been hindered by several factors, in which the biggest challenge, accounting for 80%, is the inadequate understanding about initial investment. The majority of investors mislead that the additional cost of a green building is about 20% – 30%, which makes it costly to build green.

On the contrary, studies by international organizations have shown that the additional cost of green buildings is approximately 0.4 – 12.5% higher than that of conventional buildings. In Vietnam, it is estimated that the average additional cost is about 1.8% – 2%.


1 – What kind of costs will be affected when selecting green building?

Hard cost and soft cost are two primary parts of the construction cost. In particular, soft cost includes services and items that are crucial but not directly put the building up, such as design and architecture, monitoring and authorization, environmental impact assessment, taxes, insurance, marketing, project management, etc. Hard cost, on the other hand, involves equipment, facilities, and properties such as rental, materials, landscape, etc.

Design (including architecture, design and consultancy) and construction costs are influenced the most by the change to green building orientation.

To be specific, the following costs would change:

  • Intensive analysis and design
  • Proper fixtures and materials
  • Green Building Certification Consultancy
  • Rating and certification fees


2 – What is the average additional cost of Green Building?

Additional cost of Green Building is usually calculated on the basis of the difference between the cost to achieve Green Building Certification and the initial budget for a conventional building. Thus, the additional cost largely depends on the certification level that investors aim at.

The table illustrates the additional costs in accordance with the levels of certification. It can be seen that the additional costs to achieve Certified or Silver levels are pretty low.

Besides, some projects can gain Green Building Certificate with additional cost of 0% thanks to high investment rates.


3 – How to minimize additional cost of Green Buildings?

Effective methods to minimize additional cost:

  • Early start: From the earliest stages, projects should follow green building orientation, develop strategies and take them into consideration in budget planning, reduce any costs of future addition and refurbishment.
  • Experience: Collaborating with experienced designers and workers in Green Building sector.
  • Applying Integrated Design Process: Applying integrated design from pre-design stages to commission and operation. Since the very beginning, projects should involve consultants and building users in the architectural design decision-making process. It is also considered an essential factor of Green Building.

Green building is not a conventional building that adds green features. It is a totally different concept requiring proper understandings and effective collaboration of stakeholders. Additional cost of green building should be regarded as a long-term investment that can help investors shorten the payback period by saving resources, reducing operating costs, enhancing occupants’ health and efficiency, and asserting the company’s prestige and social responsibilities.


Cumulative number of LOTUS projects

Number of LOTUS Projects by Type

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