Only world-class level can ensure truly green buildings

October 02, 2023 | 13:00
(0) user say
Smart city development and building transition are vital to Vietnam’s booming economy on the green track. In addition to Vietnam’s rapid economic growth, urbanisation is taking place, increasing the demand for energy and building materials in cities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Therefore, energy-efficient and sustainable solutions play a central role on the way to Vietnam’s climate neutrality by 2050.

The buildings we want to work in are smart buildings, and the role of the office is completely going to change. In the past, we went to the office to work. Nowadays, we can do work from everywhere. We just come to the office to communicate and to be part of a culture.

Only world-class level can ensure truly green buildings
Ludwig Graf Westarp, Representative, Federal Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Germany

Buildings have a tremendous impact on the world’s climate, and the construction and real estate industries account for almost 40 per cent of total worldwide carbon emissions.

Different technologies play a key role at each state of the building’s life cycle and help us to become more efficient, reduce waste and save time and energy. By collecting energy data, optimising the usage of energy and water consumption, we understand what is really going on in the buildings.

Buildings need to be comfortable, energy efficient, productive, and safe, meeting higher occupant expectations. This is driven by technology to attract employees and occupants as well as maintain a competitive advantage.

Therefore, building owners should create people-centric environments that enhance occupant experience. To be truly smart, a building must deliver world-class operations and occupant engagement. The building is an extension of the people who work and visit there. Buildings become active contributors to the success of the occupants, the businesses, and have to be people-centric spaces.

Data analytics platforms are connecting people in the building with the building. Within a project on Vietnam’s building transition, the German Energy Agency recently published two studies on renewable building materials in Vietnam and renewable cooling in buildings.

The studies clearly indicate the high potential for the implementation of sustainable building practices in Vietnam. Current building and construction trends in Vietnam show an increase in high-rise buildings following relatively unsuitable Western design models and the predominant use of composite energy-intensive materials such as reinforced concrete, glass, and steel.

These materials arrive through high-emission production methods and lead to increased landfilling of construction waste in the country. The high-rise building trend is unlikely to change, but Vietnam has a largely untapped potential for integrating sustainable materials into its modern architecture practices.

The results of the second study in particular show that passive measures like massive construction, shading, window-to-wall ratio, and the orientation of the building have a high influence on the temperature-wise acceptable hours of room temperature.

Furthermore, results concerning technologies for cooling show that solar photovoltaic installations are deemed the most feasible solutions for the remaining demand for cooling.

As there are currently no operational feed-in tariffs, any installation of renewables will have to cover simply the baseload posited by the building, with the future potential for expansion of installations desirable.

Mechanised night ventilation is also a significant component for improvement. The fitment and correct maintenance of filters for mechanised ventilation can improve air quality. However, especially smaller decentralised ventilation systems require regular and continuous maintenance. The energy used by high-rise buildings in Vietnam accounts for around 35-40 per cent of the country’s total energy consumption.

To achieve its environmental goals, measures to increase energy efficiency and resource efficiency in the Vietnamese building sector are important. Vietnam has a high potential for improving its building performance through sustainable building practices.

To succeed, existing country and bio-climatic design solutions need to be revisited and re-integrated and the revealed potential of localised renewable material use addressed in practice.

Vietnam's 300 certified green buildings yet to reach net-zero Vietnam's 300 certified green buildings yet to reach net-zero

As Vietnam intensifies its focus on sustainability, the nation's progress is spotlighted with a modest tally of 300 certified green buildings. To date, no building in Vietnam has been designed, constructed, or managed to meet net-zero criteria.

Task obvious for Vietnam’s green building development Task obvious for Vietnam’s green building development

Green building investors are suffering from difficulties in accessing and ensuring additional investment capital for the project, as well as unclear regulations.

By Ludwig Graf Westarp

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional