Government has been urged to provide tax incentives to individuals and institutions to enhance commitment towards building sustainable and eco-friendly infrastructure.
Mr William Evans Halm, the Chief Executive Officer of Spektra Global, an architectural firm, said through motivations such as a waive of the cost of building permits, more people would be encouraged to build sustainably to protect the environment for future generations.
Mr Halm spoke on the topic: “Sustainable Buildings – A Shift towards Zero Energy Buildings,” at the International Building Construction and Property Exhibition in Accra.
Sustainable building focuses on creating structures that are environmentally friendly and ensures efficient resource use in construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.
Through it, advocates of green building seek to preserve resources such as energy and water, reduce greenhouse gas emission, and minimise waste.
Overall, the idea of sustainable buildings is to reduce the negative impact of a building on its environment and improve the quality of life for users.
According to a World Green Building Council Report, savings in a sustainable building can be very significant: from 25 to 35 percent energy savings, and up to 39 percent water savings compared to a conventional building.
Green buildings help improve the quality of life by enhancing occupants’ health, well-being and comfort through better energy and lighting management.
Mr Halm said the various MMDAs could collaborate with the Ghana Green Council, where developers with certificate from the Council, or an Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) certification, would be given waivers on their building permits.
On cost, he said the initial cost that came with building sustainably was a bit more expensive but the long-term cost was cheaper.
“The running cost and long-term benefits such as energy and water savings and maintenance makes it cheaper than other forms of buildings.”
“So, it is more about conscientising people and the benefits it brings to the developer because the architects and the engineers are already fired up about sustainability.”
Mr Halm said it was becoming imperative and wise for banks to finance sustainable buildings because they were the ones that were getting rented or bought.
He stressed the need for intensified education for Ghanaians to know and appreciate the benefits of sustainable buildings and the process of getting them certified.
“So what we need to do is to conscientise people here about it and hopefully overtime, clients will push our architects, and developers will push designers that they want sustainable buildings,” he added.