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|Do Thuy Chi (left), vice chairwoman of Capital House, receives the prize at the prestigious Transformational Business Awards 2018|
The prestigious Transformational Business Awards (TBA) 2018 recognised Capital House Group in London on June 6 for its distinct contributions to positive changes and sustainable development for the environment, while creating green lifestyles for the community. Capital House is the first Vietnamese company to win this prestigious international award.
The TBA is an annual event jointly held by world-famous magazine Financial Times and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), starting in 2014. It honours outstanding firms in a variety of categories such as technology, food and water, education, health, infrastructure, green building, climate, and finance. As many as 148 entries from 84 countries applied for recognition by the TBA in 2017.
TBA laureates are selected by a prestigious judging panel including eight representatives from world-leading organisations, including the Financial Times, the IFC, the Climate Group, the Center for Global Development, and the University of California San Diego. Global auditing and tax services firm PwC provided technical consultancy for the TBA 2018.
Capital House was honoured at the TBA 2018 for its EcoHome Phuc Loi project, owing to the distinct features and values the project have brought to flat owners. The award is a sign of international recognition of the green values that Capital House creates for flat owners and communities.
Capital House is highlighted as a pioneer in applying international green building standards in developing affordable housing projects in Vietnam, especially the EcoHome Phuc Loi project. The initial investment cost for a green building project is typically 10 per cent higher than the cost of a normal building. However, the additional cost of green projects like EcoHome Phuc Loi is only 1 per cent, while it enables flat owners to save an average of 30 per cent on monthly costs for electricity and water.
The successful project exemplifies Capital House’s unceasing efforts to pursue energy savings and an environmental protection strategy, so as to offer green lifestyles for its customers.
Capital House aims to attain at least one international green certificate for each of its projects. The group has established a research and development division in charge of partnering with other divisions to implement green building projects.
In 2017, Capital House, on the forefront of creating spillover effects of green building projects, gave $1 million to the Green Building Programme in Vietnam, with a view to spread green values to the community. It is expected that by 2022, more than 800 real estate developers will join in contributing thousands of green projects to society.
|The Transformational Business Awards 2018’s judging panel members come from world-leading organisations|
Researchers from the US-based University of Boston stated in a report that those living in green buildings and green environments experience a mortality rate that is 12 per cent lower than that of the rest of the population.
The risks of respiratory diseases, depression, and anxiety are also significantly reduced for them. Additionally, green buildings have been proven to save their tenants 30 per cent on electricity, 30-50 per cent on water, and 50-90 per cent on wastewater treatment.
Although the benefits of green building technology have been widely noted, most real estate developers in Vietnam have yet to pay attention to developing such buildings and leveraging their long-term benefits and sustainability. To date, around 50 buildings across the country have been certified as green, while the figures for Malaysia and Singapore are more than 200 and nearly 900, respectively.
Changing mindsets and raising awareness of the significance and necessity of green buildings among real estate developers as well as customers, in the public sector as well as the private sector, remains a complicated issue in Vietnam. In addition, land clearance and green building costs concern developers, as they can lead to investment risks.
Vietnam, like many countries in Asia, is facing a severe shortage of housing due to pressure from the high population growth and rapid urbanisation. The World Bank Group’s report “Expanding Opportunities for the Urban Poor” released in October 2017 showed that Vietnam’s urbanisation is advancing rapidly, at 3.2 per cent annually, doubling the country’s population growth rate and occurring mostly in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. This poses major challenges to meeting the most basic human needs such as food, clean water, energy, and affordable housing. Therefore, the provision of affordable, convenient, and green housing for lower-income people is an urgent need.
Vietnam’s urban population is estimated to reach 46 million people by 2020, equivalent to about 45 per cent of the country’s population. In the next 10 years, local housing demand could reach 5.1 million low-cost and affordable housing units.
Amid such surging demand, Capital House pioneered the application of green architecture in projects ranging from EcoHome (social housing and low-income commercial housing segment) to EcoLife (high-and middle-income commercial housing). These green projects help flat owners save energy, contributing significantly to environmental protection and creating green spaces for the community.
According to Trinh Tung Bach, head of Capital House Group’s research and development division, Capital House’s nurturing and realisation of the idea of green projects was not a simple process, as the firm was confronted with difficulties in changing the perception of customers. However, Capital House’s endless efforts bore fruits.
Bach said the group has two projects, EcoLife Capitol and EcoHome Phuc Loi, that were granted five green building certificates. Of note, EcoLife Capitol alone was honoured with four green building certificates. In addition, other projects such as EcoHome 1, EcoHome 2, and EcoLife Tay Ho are inching toward receiving green certifications. As mentioned, the initial investment cost for green buildings is usually about 10 per cent higher than for a normal building. However, the rate could be lower in practice if due attention is paid to green construction and the comprehensive application of green standards in the conceptual stage, design, construction, operation, and management of green buildings. Even so, the final investment cost for such green buildings would only be equivalent to that of normal building projects.
“This can absolutely be applied to low-cost building projects,” Bach said.