Green Buildings: IFC is Helping Transform an Industry
A new global business is fast emerging—meeting the growing demand for commercial and residential buildings with lower environmental impact across the developing world—and IFC is already a part of it, working globally to help reposition the building industry with a new focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. Setting new industry standards that work for everyone is critical to moving forward.
In Indonesia, one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, an IFC–World Bank investment climate advisory team is bringing Jakarta authorities and building industry leaders together to draft the city’s first green building code. Market research shows that modest, affordable design changes can cut buildings’ power and water use by 20 percent—one of the findings of the IFC–World Bank advisory project provided in partnership with Australia, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland.
“There are very simple methods of applying these green standards,” says Firma Herwanto of the Indonesian Institute of Architects. “I do believe these upcoming regulations will be good for the people of Jakarta.”
Lebanon’s Green Building Council also worked with IFC to develop a rating system that will evaluate the energy efficiency of commercial buildings. It shows that with investments of up to $5 million, local building owners and developers could save up to $900,000 annually, rapidly recouping their costs of investment.
IFC is also scaling up its investments in green building projects aimed at expanding affordable housing choices in emerging markets. Artha Capital is a Mexican real estate investment fund focused on buying and developing land for new affordable housing and commercial building projects. IFC’s $25 million investment in one of its funds will expand a wide range of local developments, helping address Mexico’s lack of affordable housing and increase home ownership. Artha investees will build about 66,000 new homes to help meet this growing need, following guidelines laid out in a new publication that Artha produced with IFC’s support, complying with Mexican government policies.
“Our Green Design Guide establishes criteria and guidelines along the value chain from site preparation and basic infrastructure to plot development projects,” said Germán Ahumada Alduncin, Founding Partner and CEO of Artha.
Homes being developed will feature low-energy lighting and solar water heaters, and are expected to reduce energy consumption by more than 30 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 CO2 tons per year. Other climate-friendly measures include the use of solar LED lights for half of all street lighting and provision of bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways.
With almost 40 percent of all energy generated across the world used to cool, light, and ventilate buildings, businesses that can transform the building sector will transform the world, reducing today’s excessive energy consumption, offsetting emissions, and increasing the supply of affordable, climate-friendly living spaces for a growing world population.