Three architecture students from the Central University have urged building industry stakeholders to adopt Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) to design and certify more sustainable buildings.

According to them, EDGE is easy to use and guides the best ways to improve the energy and water efficiency of buildings.

The students, David Gifat Ampiaw, Olufemi Abodunrin and Cheryl Omani-Baah, were sponsored by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to attend the 2019 green building convention in Capetown.

At the convention, the students had the opportunity to hear from world-class green building experts.

The project was funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) with technical support provided by SGS and thinkstep in the UK.

The students stressed the need for the building industry to design resource-efficient buildings, using the EDGE Green Building tool to design sustainable housing projects.

An innovation of IFC, EDGE is an online platform and certification system, which helps building professionals to determine the most cost-effective options for designing green buildings within a local climate context.

EDGE can be used for new construction, existing buildings and major retrofits. EDGE requires 20 percent less energy and water use, as well as 20 percent less embodied energy in materials compared to a base case building. Builders who certify with EDGE gain a promotional advantage, with customers benefiting from lower utility bills.

Mr Ampiaw called on the building industry to adopt green designs to protect the environment for future generations.

“We need to think about the future. If you look at what’s happening in the housing sector, most professionals are not focused on green design,” he said.

He said at the conference it became clear that being sustainable was not enough and that there was the need to ensure environmental sustainability through designing buildings that contributed through harvesting what nature had provided while restricting the materials needed for structures.

On his part, Mr Abodunrin urged Ghanaian students and stakeholders in the building industry to join the global trend towards a more sustainable future.

Ghanaian architecture students needed to connect to the conversation on green buildings, he said.

“Green technology products are heading to Africa at cheaper rates and without the knowledge of their harmful effects. Africa is still asleep on this topic,” Mr Abodunrin said.

The built environment is expected to double by 2050 due to high population growth and urbanisation trends. This has serious implications for global warming, as buildings already generate 19 percent of energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and consume 40 percent of electricity.

To address the opportunity for green buildings, Switzerland, through its State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), provided funding for IFC’s EDGE program in Ghana.

The intention is to have a generational impact by increasing the use of EDGE to encourage greener building practices.

The first EDGE-certified buildings in Ghana include the Atlantic Tower by Wahhab Estate Co. Ltd in the Airport City enclave of Accra, as well as the new Tema Port Expansion Project and the Terminal 3 at the Tema harbour.

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