How green construction can mitigate climate change, by report
Notwithstanding the need for building of more human settlements and adequate housing, the challenge has remained that the impact of construction and human activities is contributing a great deal to climate change.
For instance, the recent Nigeria Land, Housing and Urban Development Roadmap identified one of the challenges in housing development to be the abuse of the natural environment due to lack of adequate land use planning and poor land husbandry resulting in loss of biodiversity, deforestation, desertification, soil erosion and pollution of land, air and water.
But a report recently published by Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) on budgeting for climate change in the housing sector stated that dramatic advances in technologies and a shift in how Nigeria generates and uses energy could reduce the challenges of climate mitigation.
Moreover, if climate change impacts decrease the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), it in turn leads to decreased available funding for the construction and renovation of housing.
However, the report, which came out of a study supported by Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, stated that building green was one of the best strategies for meeting the challenge of climate change because the technology to make substantial reductions in energy and Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions already exists.
According to International Energy Agency, the average Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building uses 32 percent less electricity and saves 350 metric tons of CO2 emissions yearly.
The report highlighted that modest investments in energy-saving and other climate-friendly technologies can yield buildings and communities that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthier places to live and work, and that contribute to reducing CO2 emissions.
It therefore supported improvement of allocation and implementation of budget to the housing sector to provide for social mass housing that is environmentally friendly.
In accordance with section six of the National Housing Fund Act, the report said the Federal government of Nigeria should appropriate on a yearly basis, funds to compliment contributions and thereby increase the pool of funds available to NHF for disbursement to contributors.
It stressed the need for inclusion of climate change mitigation in the broad mandate of the Fund, primary mortgage institutions and users of the Fund.
As part of alternative funding, the report said the Central Bank of Nigeria should consider the establishment of a special fund for the housing sector, which should be in the neighbourhood of not less than N1 trillion.