Environment ministry talks green building certifications

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Environment ministry officials hold a meeting on drafting advisory policies on construction of green buildings on Tuesday. ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY

The Ministry of Environment is discussing the first draft of their green building guidelines and certification in Cambodia. It is a combination of German and South Korean green building policies that the ministry says will provide significant benefits to Cambodia’s environment, economy and society as a whole.

Environment ministry secretary of state Tin Ponlok chaired an online meeting on August 3 with Van Monineath, secretary-general of the secretariat of the national council on sustainable development, along with representatives from relevant ministries, development partners, civil society organisations and the private sector to discuss and give input on the first draft of the green building guidelines.

According to the environment ministry, the workshop also raised detailed criteria for the discussion on August 4-5 and was held in order to discuss the opportunities and challenges in implementing green building guidelines in Cambodia.

Ponlok said at the meeting that the government is committed to sustainable economic development, including focusing on the vision and principles of green development in the vision and direction of its economic development process.

“Green buildings have brought many benefits to the environment, economy and society. These include environmental protection, biodiversity conservation, eco-friendly operation, resource efficiency from the design stage to the building’s construction, as well as saving on operating costs and improving the comfort, quality of life for building users,” he said.

Monineath said that most of Cambodia’s buildings – both existing and under construction – have shown little consideration for green concepts and instead used a lot of construction resources.

He said using too much energy and water resources and emitting a lot of waste negatively affects the environment.

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Cambodia’s green building council classifies a building as green if it is determined to be ‘environmentally responsible and resource-efficient’ throughout its lifespan. Photo supplied

He said the green building concept focuses on energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution through low water usage, efficiency of land use and use of construction materials that do not harm the environment.

Reducing waste and reducing the impact on the community during construction and while using the building are also new concepts for Cambodia at a time when construction is booming, he noted.

The one-day meeting and workshop had a number of key outcomes, including the first overall review of Cambodia’s draft law for green building guidelines and certificates.

The workshop answered questions and took suggestions as to how to prepare green criteria appropriate for the Cambodian context for both new and existing buildings, he said.

He concluded by saying that the meeting also examined the concept of establishing a governing body and implementing any guidelines and certifications for green buildings built in Cambodia.

There are two options being considered. One being the government managing the process and the second option is the private sector or an independent organisation implementing the guidelines.