Green buildings are still rare in Vietnam though the country is among the 10 most vulnerable in the world to climate change and sea level rise.

Environment and construction experts told a conference on energy-efficient construction held on December 17 by the Vietnam Green Building Council and the Ho Chi Minh City Institute for Development Studies that green construction is still restricted to slogans.

Buildings use a lot of energy and this put huge pressure on both the environment and house owners, especially in the last decade.

With fuel bills headed in only one direction in the foreseeable future and given the economic situation, Vietnam needs to put energy efficiency on the front burner.

Nguyen Minh Thong, CEO of the Vietnam Green Building Council (VGBC), said some environment-friendly buildings may have been built in recent years but knowledge about them remains low.

Most of these buildings were the outcome of market demand rather than any government policy, he said.

People think building green is much more expensive than conventional, he said, adding, "It is funny how people in the construction industry firmly believe that green buildings must be very expensive."

Melissa Merryweather, the VGBC's southern regional coordinator and director of Green Consult - Asia, agreed with Thong, saying green buildings can be cheap.

Information source

The Vietnam Green Building Council and Fairventures Worldwide took a significant step forward in their efforts to promote a more sustainable and adaptive environment with the launch on December 16 of, a green database for buildings and urban planning in Vietnam and the Asia-Pacific.

It is meant to foster energy efficient buildings and practices through open knowledge-sharing, hands-on experience, case studies, insights into the benefits of green buildings, and networking.

E4G offers in-depth knowledge and expertise in green buildings and energy efficiency for free.

Fairventures Worldwide is a German non-profit and consulting organisation working in international development.

The project is sponsored by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership, an international non-profit organisation that aims to scale up clean energy solutions in developing countries.-VNA