August 21, 2011

Government will soon develops energy-demand-labelling system for buildings to serve as a requirement before they are constructed for sale in the country.

This is part of government’s efforts in ensuring that all newly developed housing estates are built to high environmental standards, and based on energy efficiency and water conservation.

Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing (MWRWH) announced in a speech read on his behalf at the launch of Ghana Green Building Council (GHGBC), in Accra on Wednesday.

It was on the theme: ”Green Building – An Instrument of Transformation for National Development”.

The Council aims at transforming the built environment in the country towards sustainability through the manner communities are planned, designed, constructed, maintained and decorated.

Mr Bagbin said the use of solar energy would also be encouraged through partnership with mortgage providers, as well as the development of a National Rain Water Harvesting Policy to be mandatory for all public buildings to have rain water harvesting facilities.

He stressed the need for Ghana to adopt the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to convert existing buildings to environmentally friendly Green buildings to help reduce global carbon gas emissions by at least 1.8 tonnes per year.

Mr Bagbin said UNEP revealed that buildings consumed between 30-40 per cent of global energy, adding that there was no single larger global contributor of carbon than the building sector, which also employed 5-10 per cent of workforce in most countries.

“This tends to support the theory that greening our buildings will not only tackle climate change, but will play a crucial role in meeting local socio-economic needs which includes job creation,“ he added.

Mr Bagbin advised that the pace of behavioural condition changes be increased to prevent massive deterioration of the ecological conditions in many places in the country, and that standards should be set and enforced within the construction industry.

Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology observed that the way out to transforming an economy to a green one was to re-direct policy in the building and infrastructure sectors, stressing the need for substantial public investment to restore and maintain public buildings.

She said the private sector should take advantage of the availability of new technologies and invest in it.

“There are opportunities in the sector and the development of green buildings will create downstream employment for millions of people within the shortest possible time“, she said.

Mr Foster Osae-Akonnor, Chief Executive Officer of GHGBC, said the launch marked the beginning of greater commitment of the Council, saying it would organise courses to sensitise the public on their activities.

Mr Osae-Akonnor noted that the Council would partner government and industries in the sustainability of buildings by adopting the greening strategy.