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EDGE as green building certification: What buyers should know

Increasingly, green building is gaining traction in Nigeria, making it necessary for builders who decide to embrace the new way to get any of the prevailing certification models. One of those certification models is EDGE which is an acronym for ‘Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies’.

EDGE is an innovation of International Finance Corporation (IFC) created to respond to the need for a measurable solution to prove a financial case for building green and to help jumpstart the proliferation of green buildings.

It helps property developers to build and brand green in a fast, easy and affordable way and it is supported by free software that encourages solutions to reduce energy, water and the energy used to make building materials by, at least, 20 percent, which is the standard for EDGE certification.

Growing population and rising urbanization contrasted sharply by gross lack of critical infrastructure has made the development of green building important more so with its business/economic benefits. This has also brought to the fore the need for housing investors and developers to make a paradigm shift and embrace the new order.

Available statistics show an urgent need for emerging economies like Nigeria to start building green. About 50 percent of the world lives in cities today and 70 percent is expected to live in urban areas by 2050. The world population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, about 34 percent higher than what is presently available. Growth will be fastest in poor countries like Nigeria where population is expected to actually double. Critical infrastructure, especially power, energy and water are still a huge challenge in most cities.

It was against this backdrop that the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) and IFC gathered together housing industry stakeholders in Lagos to discuss and point the way forward for green building development and its certification using the EDGE model.

As a private sector-driven mortgage refinancing company with the public purpose of promoting home ownership for Nigerians while deepening the primary and secondary mortgage market, the vision of NMRC is to be the dominant housing partner in Nigeria, while its mission is to break down barriers to home ownership by providing liquidity, affordability, accessibility and stability to the housing market.

On the other hand, as a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group, IFC is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. It works with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world.

Along with SGS, the certification provider for EDGE in Nigeria, the two institutions held two workshops in Lagos and Abuja recently on EDGE adoption and implementation.

NMRC and IFC share a common aspiration to move the building construction industry on to a lower carbon, more resource-efficient path. Through their partnership, they are set to work together to promote sustainable design practices in Nigeria. This will include NMRC recommending EDGE certification to clients to increase the value of their green properties.

NMRC partnered with IFC to launch and operationalize EDGE in the Nigerian market. Through its value chain approach to addressing the challenges and opportunities in the Nigerian housing sector, NMRC looks to collaborating with its member-banks and other stakeholders to catalyze sustainable green buildings in Nigeria, to unlock the benefits of same to the housing industry and to the country’s GDP.

IFC aims to transform 20 percent of the construction market in rapidly industrializing countries with the support of industry leaders, governments and financial institutions. Resource-efficient buildings provide a tangible value that can be passed from property developers to their customers through utility savings.

Green buildings also have less negative impact on the environment and reinforce a more sustainable corporate brand. They also enable homebuyers to make a difference through choosing green homes for their families, which have the potential for higher re-sale values.

Going green and affordability are not mutually exclusive, according to officials of IFC who said that both are possible. IFC has a green building investment portfolio of more than $3 billion, which includes its own direct investments and mobilized financing. Complementing its investment work, IFC advises governments on green building regulations in Bangladesh, Colombia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Panama, Peru, the Philippines and Vietnam.

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