Vietnam, which is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change, seems set to embrace green buildings, according to analysts.

Buildings account for more than 30 percent of total energy use in fast-growing economies like Vietnam, and so improving energy efficiency in new buildings is critical, they point out.

The International Finance Corporation has launched a green-building certification programme in Vietnam to encourage the construction of more resource – efficient buildings.

Vietnam is the first market in Asia to introduce EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies), which enables buildings to reduce energy and water consumption by 20 percent and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

SGS Vietnam, which is partnering with the IFC to offer EDGE certification, said over the next six years 20 percent of new construction projects, equivalent to 70,000 housing units, would be awarded EDGE certificates.

This level of penetration will help reduce emissions by 19,000 metric tonnes a year and energy use by 43,500 megawatt-hours, saving 8 million USD by 2021.

The company said the country's greenhouse gas emissions from buildings were expected to top 2.8 million tonnes in 2030, up from 1.1 million tonnes in 2010.

Three years ago 18 percent of Vietnam's electricity was generated from coal, and by 2020 this will rise to 48 percent.

The amount of clean water is reducing in Vietnam, falling to an expected 2.83 million litres in 2025 from four million litres in 2000.

"We encourage investors, developers, and practitioners to build more environmentally friendly buildings that reduce energy consumption and mitigate climate change," Le Hoa Binh, Deputy Director of HCM City's Department of Construction, said.

"EDGE is an innovative, voluntary building-certification system that will help us improve the environment for our people."

Steven Du, Managing Director at SGS Vietnam, said, "We are seeing strong interest from investors and developers in fulfilling the increasing demand for eco-friendly and resource-efficient buildings in Vietnam."

The company said more than 50 percent of respondents in a survey it did are likely to seek green building certification.

Vietnam, which has five buildings with EDGE certification, is a focus of IFC's EDGE programme along with a few other priority countries like Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, and South Africa.-VNA