Developing more green buildings and promoting green standards for construction works is a necessary and urgent step to save energy and natural resources in the country, the chair of the board of the Vietnam Green Building Council has said.

Speaking at a seminar entitled "Green Building Development in Vietnam ", Professor Nguyen Huu Dung, who is also an architect, said that the construction industry is the most developed, but the most polluted industry. It consumes 70 percent of natural materials, 40 percent of national energy, 30 percent of fresh water and exhausts 30 percent of gas, causing the greenhouse effects, climate change and higher sea levels.

"The industry must make changes to ensure sustainable development," he said.

According to the Asia-Pacific Green Building Network, Vietnam has had a limited number of green construction projects.

Green building creates structures and uses processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle, including stages of design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.

"The development of green building in Ho Chi Minh City is like a bus without ignition to start the engine, which needs many people to push it," architect Tran KhanhTrung, President of the city’s Green Architect Club, said.

"People" here includes government; organisations, associations; consultants, designers, and project management; construction contractors; suppliers; developers; universities; and media and users.

"The Government has released its Vietnam Green Growth Strategy in 2012 along with national technical building regulations for energy-efficient buildings. Lotus green building rating tools have also been issued," Trung added.

He also noted that many design consultants have started providing green building consultancy, and several contractors have gained green construction experience. In addition, more developers have begun selecting green solutions for their projects.

"But as of September, HCM City has had only two buildings certified with the Green Mark and one building awarded with a LEED Certificate from the US Green Building Council. No project has received a Lotus rating," Trung said.

In order to create a green building market in the city, he stated that building public awareness about environmental protection is very important.

"We should help people understand the value of green buildings, and increase demand for them, and create a market," he said.

"Local government should be strict with the public in enforcing environmental protection laws, and also with investors and projects that commit violations. It should also provide more incentives for green projects and products," he said.

Associate Professor Do Tu Lan said: "Vietnam should complete its own standards for green city development, which should be flexible and reasonable for different cities and regions."

Currently, the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (HABITAT) is supporting several towns and cities in the country, like Hoi An, to help them target green growth.

In addition, German experts from the German Federal Enterprises for International Cooperation (GIZ) are working with the Ministry of Construction and medium-sized cities to help them adapt to climate change, limit natural calamities and prevent flooding.-VNA