To limit impact of climate change, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Nigeria Group has urged stakeholders to adopt green building designs that will ensure sustainability and resilience in construction and real estate.

The Chief Valuation Officer, Cayman Island and member, RICS Global Governing Council, Mr. Uche Obi, led the charge at the yearly conference and general meeting of the RICS Nigeria Group, held virtually in Lagos.

Speaking on ‘sustainability in construction and real estate,’ he explained that green building designs lead to improved returns, attract premium tenants and less void, provide access to funding, as financial institutions like International Finance Corporation (IFC) are beginning to encourage sustainable practices by providing low-interest loans and extended terms for those championing green design in real estate.

Obi also said governments across the world are offering discounts and incentives to developers for construction of green buildings, while research has shown that green buildings are not as expensive as the traditional buildings. He urged professionals in the industry to advocate for more sustainable practices in projects and the enforcement of building code.

As demand for housing continues to grow due to urbanisation, he said this would lead to more construction and would make the negative impact of the sector on the environment even worse, stressing that carbon emission footprint presents the largest amount of carbon dioxide buildings produce during its operational activities.

He revealed that the real estate/construction uses more energy than any sectors, with 20 per cent of the world’s carbon emission, including water production/use and pollution emanating from the sector.

According to him, a recent report produced by the World Economic Forum on environment sustainability in the building practices for real estate, mentioned that 40 to 48 per cent of new commercial building comply with sustainable practice compared to only two per cent in 2005, noting that progress was recorded but it was not enough.

He maintained that the sector is only responding due to pressure from regulatory bodies, clients and cautioned that operators must prioritise sustainability.

The Chairman, RICS Nigeria Group, Olasiji Ojuola, said there is a need to develop infrastructure that are environmentally friendly, economically responsive and financially attractive; that considers social factors as well as institutionally sustainable.

Ojuola said the present generation has created some disorder in the environment, which requires all stakeholders to join hands and reduce to the minimum or eliminate the effects on the next generation by considering sustainability practice in construction.

The ESG Consultant, Mr. Damola Akindolire, observed that green building must possess essential components, which are the design components, material procurement, use of recycle-able materials to reduce Green House Gas Emissions and efficient operation of assets

Contributing, the Program lead IFC Edge Green Building Market Transformation Programme for Nigeria and Ghana, Mr. Dennis Quansah, who spoke on ‘Sustainability Issues in Construction and Property Asset Management’, stressed that the organisation operates under four approach that include financing, innovative green products, government intervention and certification for projects.

The Head, Property Nigeria and West Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Anne Rinu explained that green building design uses technology and software to ensure energy efficiency in lighting control, motion sensors, building automation, water usuage and general management system.

Other speakers at the conference include the Principal investment Officer, IFC, lfeoma Ezeokafor, the head, West Africa Finance Stanbic Capital, Tola Akinhanmi and the regional representative, Anglophone West Africa, Shelter Afrique, Elizabeth Ogonegbu spoke on sustainability issue in finance for projects.