BrandArena: Green Building As A Business Imperative

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Green Building As A Business Imperative

Eco-friendly building practices date back to the beginning of the 20th century, with Frank Lloyd Wright's organic architecture and historic buildings like Falling Water. Now, examples of the green building trend can be found the world over.

According to the World Green Building Trends survey by the McGraw Hill Construction, 51 percent of companies anticipate that more than 60 percent of their works will be green by 2015. The research shows that green building now makes good business sense.

Moreover, the accelerating green trend is not limited by geography but spreading throughout the global construction marketplace. Many countries that are listed on Lamudi, a global property portal focusing on the emerging markets, now feature a high selection of eco-friendly properties.

One example is the Clearpoint Residencies near Colombo, Sri Lanka. Dubbed the world's tallest vertical garden, the development is due to be completed in April 2016. The entire facade is covered in planted terraces and mango trees, not just as decoration but to reduce the heat level in the building, by lowering exposure to direct sunlight and providing fresher air. The plants will act as a sound barrier, provide shade, and cleanse the surrounding air. As a consequence, the amount spent on air conditioning can be reduced.

In Kenya, Prime Ventures has embraced suitable building designs that make construction cheaper to help bridge the gap of demand and supply by constructing affordable houses. The technology involves construction of houses by assembling ready-made expanded polystyrene between a galvanised steel wire mesh that is plastered on both sides with concrete.

In April, Lamudi published research that showed the extent to which the green building trend is sweeping the emerging markets. On the Lamudi platform, cities like Karachi (Pakistan), Dhaka (Bangladesh) Amman (Jordan) or Yangon, the largest city of Myanmar, top the emerging markets for eco-friendly homes.

These cities have the highest number of properties for sale or rent offering green features, including a high energy efficiency rating, solar panels, water tanks and greywater systems. The Pakistani city of Karachi, for instance, now has more than 8200 eco-friendly properties listed on the website.

Kian Moini, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Lamudi, said: “Throughout this year, we have seen the trend toward eco-friendly homes accelerate in our countries. Our prediction is that 2015 will be the year green building comes of age in the emerging markets, as it now makes good business sense to go green by investing in and developing eco-friendly real estate."

The report from McGraw Hill Construction shows that the main motivation is no longer idealistic values. There has now been a push for green building as this offers good business opportunities and investment. Green building practices have become widespread as this is now considered as a “long term business opportunity around the world”, the report states. In 2015, the driving force behind the worldwide green building trend is a higher market and client demand, lower operating costs as well as branding and public relations.

Of course there are also important social and environmental reasons for building green, such as improved health and productivity benefits, water use reduction, lower greenhouse gas emission and natural resource conservation. Nevertheless, these also lead to certain financial benefits, including decreased operating costs, increased building values for green projects, and increased asset value for green buildings.

“For these reasons, green architecture is not only about doing the right thing or being groundbreaking, but in fact developers and property players can also save money by introducing these principles,” Moini added. “Additional benefits include lower energy costs, water maintenance, and especially tax credits and other financial incentives.”

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