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Nigeria green building pioneers share experiences at IFC EDGE event

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam
29 November 2021   |   2:49 am
Towards celebrating early adopters and encouraging housing industry players to adopt sustainable building practices, theInternational Finance Corporation's (IFC) EDGE

Towards celebrating early adopters and encouraging housing industry players to adopt sustainable building practices, the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) EDGE last week brought together champions of green buildings in the Nigerian real estate industry to share their experiences in Lagos.

The IFC EDGE event, which was held on the sidelines of this year’s West Africa Property Investment (WAPI) summit was organised in collaboration with the Africa Property Investment (API) and attracted government leaders, housing development finance institutions, private developers, and a wide array of housing industry stakeholders.

In his remarks at the event, the IFC Senior Country Manager, Mr. Kalim Shah, congratulated EDGE pioneers in Nigeria for their foresight and embrace of green design. EDGE is a green building certification system focused on making new residential and commercial buildings more resource-efficient.

He said IFC would continue to provide support to help them remain market leaders in the industry.

“Investing in sustainability is not only good for the environment, but it also helps drive inclusive economic growth. Green buildings—that is, those with lower emissions and are built with more sustainable materials — reduce their impacts on our fragile environment and can save occupants money thanks to lower utility bills,” Mr. Kalim Shah, IFC Senior Country Manager.

While speaking at the event, the Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Idris Salako, said the government has not only embraced the green buildings and EDGE but has been working relentlessly with the IFC to train and produce the first crop of EDGE experts, who are already being presented for certification.

“EDGE brings a new direction to our relationship with multilateral institutions to reposition the physical planning and urban development sector of the state for greater performance as envisaged in the blueprint of the Lagos State Government.

“Certainly, the green buildings as promoted by IFC EDGE adopt the right measures for promoting greenery, reducing carbon footprint, and optimizing the use of materials in building design and construction. The laudable move also supports efforts to achieve climate change adaptation and mitigation in the building and construction sector.”

The Managing Director, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), Mr. Kehinde Ogundimu, said the company is passionate about green buildings and EDGE certification because “we see a direct connection between sustainability and affordability.”

“We at NMRC are completely about how to make housing affordable. When you look at the long-term cost, it makes sense to build green. The initial cash outlay for a green building might appear to be higher.

“When you look at the savings from energy, water, health benefits, the longevity of the houses, the fact is that they have better resale value when you look at the total costs, you see that it is much cheaper to own or live in a green building,” Ogundimu said.

The Group Managing Director, Alpha Mead Development Company, Mr. Femi Akintunde, an EDGE pioneer, stated that the company prioritises sustainability because it makes moral and business sense.

“When we conceptualised our flagship real estate project, Lekki Pearl Estate, we were clear that we would build green. I am pleased to note that the concept of green buildings, which we embraced, is paying off.

“Our energy-saving is 47per cent, water savings is 32per cent, and 50per cent savings on the embedded energy in materials. Overall, our EDGE certified greenhouses at Lekki Pearl estate deliver an average of 32% per cent savings on utility costs,” he added.

Another EDGE pioneer, Elalan Construction, who partnered with Africa Capital Alliance on the Sapphire Tower, a 17-storey residential tower in Lekki, Mr. Olayemi Ogundeyi, noted that using EDGE, the company has been able to build more sustainable buildings.

“What we have found from going through the process using EDGE is that we have been able to build more sustainable buildings compared to many of our other buildings, which is a good thing.

“Another thing is that using EDGE in our building design and construction makes it easier for us to market to our clients, investors. In the long run, you will save money on water, energy, and the kinds of materials you are using. So, if your goal is to build and sell, which is what our goal is, embracing EDGE certification and incorporating EDGE in your buildings is a good way to go,” Ogundeji said.

Other EDGE pioneers at the event included African Capital Alliance, Greenage Development Managers, Lake City Consult, Echostone, Karmod Nigeria Limited and Modern Shelter.

The IFC EDGE Green Building Lead: Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya, Mr. Dennis Quansah, commended the green building pioneers for taking the bold step and being leaders in the industry and assured them of IFC’s continued support.

He also thanked the Japanese Government for their outstanding support for the EDGE programme in Nigeria, the UK Government and Sintalli, the EDGE certification partner in Nigeria.