Graphic Business News

Construction industry key to attaining SDGs

By: Suad Yakubu
Jury members, partners and participants at the launch of the EDGE competition
Jury members, partners and participants at the launch of the EDGE competition

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Green Building Council, Mr Foster Osae Akonnor, has indicated how instrumental Ghana’s construction industry is to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to him, a majority of SDGs which seek to foster economic growth, ensure social inclusion and protect the environment by 2030 can be met through the contribution of the construction industry. 

   “Buildings can be used to solve 12 out of the 17 SDGs. This means that our industry plays a major role in this,” Mr Akonnor said at the launch of the EDGE Architecture Students’ Competition on July 18 in Accra.

The Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) Architecture Students Competition is an initiative by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to afford students the opportunity to demonstrate how simple it is to build sustainably and reduce environmental impact.

Through the EDGE programme, the competition will also expose architectural students to how to explore the use of new materials and strategies for building and integrating beauty and technology for high-performing, cutting-edge architecture.

The competition also seeks to support and enhance the study of sustainable and energy-efficient building practices in architectural education.
The theme of the competition is: “The Future Is Green”.

The competition
The maiden edition of the competition involves 20 students from the Architecture Department of Central University College.

Participants in the competition are required to design a stunning and cutting-edge single family home for a young family living on the outskirts of Accra using local materials. The home must fit on a standard plot size of 70x100 feet.

Participants must develop at least one innovation in design and construction. Using the EDGE software, minimum savings of 20 per cent must be made in energy, water and materials, as compared to the local base case.

The EDGE software is an online platform that determines the most cost-effective options for designing buildings within a local climate context in an affordable and more sustainable way.

The Head Juror of the competition and co-Founder of Orthner and Orther Architects, Mrs Rosemary Orthner, urged the participants to keep their designs local, simple and small.
Other members of the jury include Mr Foster Osae Akonnor and the EDGE Coordinator, Mr Paul Ocran.

Prizes
The ultimate winner of the competition will be provided with a free ticket to South Africa to attend the Green Building Conference.
The first and second runners-up will acquire free EDGE expert training and the opportunity to write a free EDGE examination.

Capacity building
The Deputy Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr Ebenezer Appah-Sampong, said the agency was committed to promoting green buildings in the country by training its staff and interested youth.

“I want to put it on record that we have been working with this EDGE programme to ensure that Ghana develops the capacity to ensure that we promote green buildings in this country,” he said.
 
Construction industry potentials
The Chargé d'Affaires at the Swiss Embassy, Mr Matthias Feldmann, who spoke on behalf of the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) touted the potentials of the construction industry.

“The construction sector holds a lot of potential to help in this transition towards a greener economy,” he said.
He noted that the industry made use of a greater portion of natural resources which had the propensity of skyrocketing by 2050, given the rate at which urbanisation occurred.

The building sector consumes about 32 per cent of water supply, 17 per cent of water use and emits around 19 per cent of global greenhouse gases currently.

“With the rapid urbanisation in many parts of the world, these figures are expected to double by 2050,” he said.