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Green building booming

FAISAL MAHMUD, Dhaka
Green building booming

Amidst a growing demand for land, water and electricity in Dhaka, green buildings are becoming a new trend in construction and maintenance. These buildings rely on renewable resources, like sun, water and wind, minimize demand on non-renewable resources and maximize use through reuse and recycling.

In the capital, there are more than 20 certified green buildings, with Gulshan Avenue—a 1.4 km stretch from Gulshan 1 circle to Gulshan 2 circle—boasting at least 10 buildings with green facilities.

Globally, green buildings are certified by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), through its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, which focuses on sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy performance, use of recyclable materials and indoor environmental quality.

LEED is the most widely used green building rating program in the world and is one of the single most powerful economic development tools for revitalizing and scaling sustainable buildings across the globe.

LEED has become a full-scale global movement, with nearly 90,000 registered and certified projects across 165 countries and territories.

In Bangladesh, too, most of those new buildings in Gulshan Avenue have taken LEED certification of different levels. The highest level of LEED certification is platinum, the next gold and silver respectively.

At present, there are four LEED premium certified buildings in Gulshan, while the rest are LEED gold certified. These buildings already have been able to attract reputed local and international companies that have bought or rented floor spaces inside those buildings.

Cityscape tower-the first LEED platinum certified building

 The Cityscape Tower is the first LEED platinum certified building in the capital. With its unique wood-plaque exterior, complemented well with imported high quality glasses and meticulously installed greens, it is bound to attract people’s attention.

A price tag of Tk 50,000 per square feet probably makes it the most expensive real-estate in the capital. But those are not the reasons for which it stands apart from the rest.

Nahid Sarwar, managing director of Cityscape International Ltd, the constructor of Cityscape Tower, told The Independent that this landmark building had been his dream project. “The land where it stands used to have the house where I spent my childhood. This is our family land and I have used it to set an example of what green buildings really should be.”

The idea of erecting a landmark green building came to his mind after he had worked as a consultant for the constriction of world class factory building of Cemex Cement. “I was heavily involved with the coordinating, setting up of the factory, recruitment process and supplies for the project. While working for that project, I planned to construct this building on our family land.”

Nahid said that, from the very onset, he thought of constructing a green building. “In Bangladesh, the practice of constructing green building is confined to having some green plants in the building. But I didn’t want that. I wanted the certification of LEED and I wanted its Platinum certification.”

“There are several LEED certified buildings in Dhaka but the highest certification that those received is Gold. I wanted to get the highest certification of LEED, which is Platinum.”

Nahid wasn’t frugal in spending for the construction of the building. The construction cost alone is around Tk 210 crore. He took that money as loan from Trust Bank against the land value. With the land price, the price of the real estate becomes nearly Tk 380 crore.

“I took a lot of risk in constructing such an expensive real estate. But I am the pioneer in erecting the first LEED Platinum certified building and the pioneer always faces difficulties in doing something alone.”

“Besides, as a pioneer, my cost was almost doubled. For example, I had to get trainers from Europe, who travelled to India and came from there to work for the highly sensitive glasses for the building. These are produced in a limited amount in the world. For this, I also had to deal with the authorities to ensure the quality of it. And then I had to make sure that the authority itself is ok; this was done with a third-party consultant body that verified and rectified them and finally certified it.”

Other green buildings sprout soon

Saiham Tower in Gulshan 1 is another LEED platinum certified buildings. Sayed Shafquat Ahmed, CEO of Saiham Group, said the building is being used for the corporate headquarters of the Saiham group.

 He said the building is a true ‘green’ building because it saves around 40 per cent of energy needed for the building. “Not only the electricity bill is reduced because of this but also the water bills.”

The building generates minimum heat because of its architectural design and the materials used for the building. “You can understand if from looking at the glass which is being covered with silver coating from both sides. Here you can see the light coming in but the coating in the glass absorbs the heat. So it is cool inside. You can keep your AC at 27 degree Celsius which will curtail your electricity bills.

Beside, during daytime, anyone hardly needs to keep the light on as there is ample sunlight available through the glass structures, he added.

The building also harvests rain water. “We have a number of separated chambers for this purpose. For example, the water with which you are washing your hands can be reused for plants by filtering it at first and then discharging it in a way that it is not harmful for the environment.”

BTI Landmark is another of the LEED platinum certified buildings in Gulshan area. Explaining the uniqueness of the building, Zobayer Ahmed, commercial manager of the BTI, said, “We aim to make sure that buildings care for nature and we promote sustainable buildings.”

He said the building opted for LEED platinum certification as LEED was the most widely used green building rating system in the world. “Available for virtually all buildings, LEED provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost saving green buildings," Zobaer said.

He said green buildings use natural resources efficiently, minimize waste and result in lower utility bills and impact on the environment. “Our LEED-certified buildings have 34 per cent lower CO2 emissions and consume 25 per cent less energy. Water-efficiency efforts in green buildings are expected to reduce water use by 15 per cent and save more than 10 per cent in operating costs,” he added.

The benefits of Green Buildings

 Architect Mahfujul Haque said, with a growing demand for more sustainable buildings, green construction was becoming increasingly profitable and desirable within the construction market. The market was responding to these cost savings and environmental benefits at a dramatic rate, he said.  

“Upfront investment in green buildings makes properties more valuable with an average expected increase in value of four per cent. By virtue of lower maintenance and energy costs, the return on investment from green building is rapid: green retrofit projects are generally expected to pay for themselves,” said Mahfuj.

More than 20 years ago, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) started as a vision. In 2000, the first LEED green buildings were certified, propelling the multi-billion-dollar global green building industry and spurring explosive growth in energy-efficient, green buildings across the globe.

In 2008, the USGBC created Green Business Certification Inc (GBCI), an independent certification and credentialing organization, to accelerate the mission of USGBC and the adoption of LEED. In 2015, the USGBC incorporated GBCI in India. GBCI works with business and government officials, to help address and meet the priority needs of a rapidly urbanizing India.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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