The International Finance Corporation (IFC) last week launched the EDGE Green Building Challenge for architectural and engineering students, as well as professionals in the built environment in Accra.
The challenge is in two strands: the Net Zero Ready Design Competition, which is aimed at getting architecture and engineering students and recent graduates in the built environment to exhibit their understanding of green buildings, using the EDGE App and utilising knowledge from the Design for Greater Efficiency (DfGE) course. The DfGE course covers the basics of energy and resource efficiency measures in design from the technical and commercial perspective, and seeks to encourage and incentivise resource efficiency in the construction sector.
The second strand, the Green Building Awards, is open to professionals who can submit new buildings or retrofits completed in the last seven years which have come as close to Net Zero Ready as possible, whether certified or not.
In her opening remarks at the launch, Cemile Hacibeyoglu, IFC’s Senior Country Officer for the Ghana cluster, stated that the drive toward sustainability in the built environment represents both a challenge and business opportunity for building design professionals. “However you choose to see it, it is the future. Designers must develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes to support the built environment’s move onto a low-carbon path,” Ms. Hacibeyoglu said.
She also thanked the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) for funding for the DfGE course.
Dennis Papa Odenyi Quansah, Programme Lead for Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, provided an overview of the EDGE programme, which is a global innovation by the World Bank Group. EDGE 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. Goldkey Properties is the headline sponsor for the challenge. The Ghanaian developer has EDGE-certified a number of its buildings. Fuseina Abu, Managing Director of Goldkeys, reiterated her company’s support for environmental sustainability through initiatives such as this challenge.
Akosua Obeng, Partner at Orthner Orthner and Associates, one of the supporting partners on the challenge, walked the audience through eligibility criteria and guidelines. For the Net Zero Ready Design Competition, participants are expected to work in groups of a minimum of two members and maximum of four. At least one of the group members must be either an architectural student or an engineering student. Students from other disciplines in the construction industry who have completed the DfGE course are eligible to participate. Students who have not taken the DFGE course can still register and take the course during the competition period and present their certificates with their submission.
For the Green Building Awards, buildings that are nominated could be EDGE-certified or not. However, using the EDGE App, they all have to demonstrate that the interventions made have led to significant savings in terms of energy and water, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Firms must demonstrate clearly what green interventions they have made and their resulting savings on the EDGE App.
Speaking on behalf of Francis Asenso-Boakye, the Minister of Works and Housing, Rev. Stephen Yaw Osei, the Director at the Policy Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring and Evaluating Directorate (PPBME), reiterated the Minister’s endorsement and support for the challenge.
He said: “My expectation of this competition is that it will generate innovative ideas that will provide Ghana’s own developed solutions to green building. I can assure you that my ministry, on behalf of government, would be looking forward to receiving pragmatic policy recommendations in this regard.”
The Executive Director of GhIE, David Kwatia Nyante, and the President of GIA, Foster Osae-Akonor, joined the speakers on stage to launch the challenge officially.
Prizes for the challenge include a six-month internship with the lead sponsor Goldkey Properties, an all-expense paid trip to South Africa to attend the Green Building Convention in Cape Town, plaque and publication in the media, and free EDGE Expert Training. The EDGE Green Building Challenge is organised by IFC EDGE programme with donor funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Goldkey Properties is the headline sponsor. Other supporting partners include Orthner Orthner and Associates, Ghana Institute of Architects, Yecham Property Consult, Business & Financial Times, and the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund.