Despite the changing weather condition and the challenges posed by that change, green building which enhances and protects biodiversity and ecosystems, improves air, water quality and preserves natural resources around the environment is yet to flourish in Nigerian property market.
Property developers seem to have refused to see the need for this type of building construction that incorporates design techniques, technologies, and materials that are environmentally friendly with less dependence on fossil fuels to minimize negative environmental impact.
Investigation by BusinessDay reveals that series of challenges including apathy, initial high cost of acquiring and installing green components, and social stigma have slowed the growth of this new building trend despite its many advantages to the environment.
So far, the Heritage Place, still under construction, is the only known green building in Nigeria and, according to Jide Balogun, Primrose Development Company (PDC) CEO, “as Nigeria’s first green building, the cost implications are huge but we believe that the long term benefits are there and that will make Heritage Place distinguish itself in the market place; we also believe that on completion, the complex will be a reference point in office space in Nigeria”, he said.
Actis, an international private equity investment firm, is leading Primrose and Laurus Development Partners in the development of Heritage Place—an iconic first green office building in Nigeria that will rise 14 floors to further enhance the Ikoyi real estate skyline where it is located at the Lugard Avenue and Kingsway Road intersection.
Ifeanyi Odigwe, a partner at Vert Global Concept, however, told BusinessDay in Lagos that “most real estate developers and homeowners are reluctant to construct green buildings because they believe it will belittle their social status”.
Odigwe, who specialises in green architecture, listed “the general belief that green building phenomenon is foreign, cost and logistics involved in importing the required technology such as solar panels, wind turbines, and advanced building management systems” as some of the reasons slowing the growth of green building in Nigeria.
“There is an unspoken correlation between green building and poverty; worse still, current renewable projects driven by governments and multinationals are targeted at rural communities only, hence the misleading impression by people who can constantly fuel their cabin generator that then they don’t need renewable sources”, Odigwe noted.
At a one-day forum on ‘Building Prosperous Communities Through Sustainable African City Making” in Lagos recently, architects under the aegis of Code Green Campaign highlighted the need for Nigerians to develop sustainable housing designs, advising that Nigerians should indigenize sustainability to suit indigenous taste, design and lifestyle with their buildings.
According to them, green building which reduces construction time, waste and activity pollution is the new way for indigenous developers to go given its several benefits in sustaining the environment.
Citing the upcoming Eko Atlantic City as a case study, the new generation architects harped on the need for the city and other upcoming residential estates to be environmentally sustainable, recommending the use of prefabricated building systems for mid-rise buildings in the new city for energy efficiency and construction waste reduction.
By: ODINAKA MBONU