4th Ghana Green Building Summit 2021: Stakeholders advocate for high performance buildings

Yecham Property: Stakeholders advocate for high performance buildings

Yecham Property Consult, in conjunction with the Embassy of Denmark and supported by IFC–EDGE Program, hosted the 4th Ghana Green Building Summit 2021 from 23rd to 24th September, 2021 at the CalBank Head Office in Accra.

This year’s Summit, a hybrid version, symbolically captured our adaptation to the new normal with a combination of virtual and in-person participation.  The hybrid nature afforded participation and world-wide patronage of over 700 attendees from over 20 countries.

There was also participation from 60 partner organizations and 42 speakers from Ghana, Denmark, Nigeria, South Africa, Singapore, USA and the UK, who discussed various relevant issues under the theme; Rethinking Operations Management for High Performance Buildings. Studies show that the design and construction phase comprise only 10 to 20 percent of a building’s life cycle costs, while that of operations and maintenance make up 80 to 90 percent. The need to explore and highlight the operational aspect of a building’s life cycle as key for attaining energy, water and general cost efficiency thus inspired this year’s Summit theme.

The keynote address was delivered by Mr Abdulai Abanga on behalf of the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Francis Assenso-Boakye.

He disclosed in his address that the Ministry has taken bold steps towards instituting the needed regulatory framework to guide the achievement of green building solutions. He stated that “currently, the Ghana Building Code, which sets out the requirements and recommendations for efficiency standards for residential and non-residential buildings, is being used in the built environment. To effectively operationalize the Code, the Ministry has initiated the processes for the review of the Building Regulations LI 1630 (1996) which when approved, will have an entire section dedicated to Green Building Regulations”

In an address on behalf of the Minister of Energy, Matthew Opoku-Prempeh reminded attendees of the Ministry’s commitment to achieving the Renewable Energy Masterplan (REMP)’s 2030 targets. The targets amongst others are to: increase the proportion of renewable energy in the national energy generation mix from 42.5 MW in 2015 to 1,363.63 MW (with grid connected systems totaling 1094.63 MW – currently, the figure stands at 136.6MW); reduce the dependence on biomass as main fuel for thermal energy applications; provide renewable energy-based decentralized electrification options in over 1,000 off-grid communities and promote local content and local participation in the renewable energy industry.

The Danish Ambassador to Ghana Tom Nørring in his opening remarks also reiterated the Embassy’s commitment to collaboration with key actors in driving water solutions, energy efficiency and sustainable city planning. Mr Nørring stated “the Embassy is deeply engaged in a long-term collaboration with Ghana on urban water solutions led by a partnership between Tema Municipality in Ghana and Aarhus Municipality in Denmark, who work together, including the private sector to improve wastewater management and access to clean drinking water.

As part of the Summit’s capacity building drive, major partner, International Finance Corporation (IFC), also conducted a virtual workshop for 110 online attendees with an extensive education on green buildings in general and a presentation of their EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) Program. The Program Lead for Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, Dennis Papa Odenyi Quansah indicated that the EDGE Program is a global innovation by the World Bank Group and its subsidiary which offers a faster, easier, and more affordable way to build and brand green. It includes a software that helps to identify the most practical ways to build green. A developer or investor can for instance see online, the costs to build green and the time it takes to pay back through lower utility bills. To achieve EDGE certification, a building must perform 20% better than a typical building in three categories: energy, water, and materials. Mr. Quansah walked the participants through the software with practical simulations to conclude the workshop.

There were several thought-provoking discussions on high performance buildings, sustainable material use, net zero buildings, green living, creation of water and energy efficient cities, re-imagining facility management in a digital age. There were also dedicated sessions on innovative green finance options which were presented by Cynthia Anima Mintah, Head, Corporate Banking, CalBank and Philip Ampofo, Group Head, Corporate Banking, Access Bank, Ghana, on Day 1 and Day 2 respectively.

The Executive Director of Yecham Property Consult and Summit Convenor, Cyril Nii Ayitey Tetteh reaffirmed his organization’s commitment, to not only sustaining the dialogue through such thought leadership activities, but also to ensure post summit actions, outcomes and projects are followed through to have the requisite measurable impact that will contribute to meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ghana. The Summit was supported by IFC EDGE Program, Embassy of Denmark in Ghana, Access Bank Ghana Limited, CalBank, Grundfos, EY, Eco Amet Solutions, Green Carpet 21 and the Business and Financial Times.

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