After decades of efforts, a standard document to regulate the activities of the building and construction industry in Ghana has been instituted.
The comprehensive Building Code, GS1207 of 2018, encompasses requirements and recommendations for efficiency and standards for Residential and Non-Residential buildings and as well cover planning, management and practices in the construction of buildings.
The document also covers the smooth and safe operation of the building and construction industry such as Occupancy Classification and Use, Site Development and Land Use, General Building Heights and Areas. It also includes types of Construction, Fire and Smoke Protection Features, Interior Furnishes, Energy efficiency and Sustainability, Soils and Foundations, Electrical Systems and Allied Installations, Plumbing Systems, Lift and Conveying Systems, Safeguards during Construction and Green Building Requirements.
In the backdrop of setting standards to ensure that Ghana’s building environment is safe and meets international standards, Stanbic Bank has signed an MOU with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to train 18 staff of Stanbic Bank as certified Edge Experts, to support developers to be able to go green.
According to Mr. Stanislaus Deh, head of product personal and business banking at Stanbic Bank Ghana, in an interview with Newsghana.com.gh at the training, on Thursday February 28, 2019, at the World Bank Office in Accra, he said, "What we are doing as a bank in spearheading this project is to make sure that every project that we finance, that is building, we go green with the people."
"And the good thing is that, when you go green, it benefits you, it increases your profile, it prepares you for the regulations that are going to hit us very soon from 2020," he added.
In an answer to the question, as to whether the people will be willing to adopt green buildings, he said, "For me, a lot of people will be more than willing to adopt it. What we have to do to scale up more now is together with the international community educate people quickly, so they know why we are doing what we are doing now."
Mr. Deh, expatiated that, the Sustainable Principles Committee of Ghana, has for the past three years been developing the sustainable principles for the banks. Saying, "Basically, like we all know that sustainability has got to do with meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising that of the future. So, looking at the fact that, in the past three years we as a world have agreed to deal with climate change. The country as a whole is doing what they can do to deal with mitigation and adoption."
According to him, one of the low hanging fruits when it comes to climate change has to do with the issue of green buildings and built environments. "So for us in Stanbic Bank, apart from the Ghana Home Loans, we are one of the biggest in terms of providing built environments for the country. So, as the team in Stanbic, we thought that it is time to lead the crusade for green buildings with energy efficiency, water efficiency, and making sure that material embodiments are also good to be yoked with the regulations for the buildings to be certified as green."
On his part in an interview, Mr. Dennis Papa Odenyi Quansah, Program Lead for IFC EDGE Green Building Market Transformation Program in Ghana and Nigeria, explained that, "It is important to invest in green buildings, because it will minimize the use of water and electricity in buildings.
Green building structures are energy efficient, environmentally friendly and use resources wisely as well."
He said, it wasn't for nothing that the government of Ghana instituted the Ghana Building Code. That it was set up to champion efficient usage of scarce resources including energy and water.
According to him, Green building is a step in the right direction towards conserving global energy because, energy consumption is predicted to grow by 37% by 2035 and 96% of this expected growth will be attributable to developing nations. Mr. Quansah said, there is the need for green construction which offers a chance to secure emission cuts at a low cost.
A section of the trainees commended the authorities of Stanbic Bank and IFC, for the great opportunity to train them as certified Edge Experts, to support developers to be able to go green. They however called for more of such trainings in order to get more experts to help in the education.
An innovation of IFC, EDGE helps property developers to build and brand green in a fast, easy and affordable way. EDGE is supported by free software that encourages solutions to reduce energy, water and the energy used to make building materials by at least 20 percent, which is the standard for EDGE certification. EDGE Certification and Audit in Ghana is done by the consortium of thinkstep-SGS. The program has been generously supported by the Switzerland government through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).