The Namibian Newspaper
20 August 2019
by Nghinomenwa Erastus
CONSTRUCTION companies and firms which seek funding to construct environmentally friendly buildings can now have their project plans certified by new software, and enable them to access funding.
Ruan Bestbier, Bank Windhoek's sales and sustainability analyst, revealed in a press statement yesterday that Bank Windhoek and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have launched an 'Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies' (Edge) software which enables the certification of green projects and qualify them for funding under the current green bond scheme.
“Edge is a measureable way for builders to optimise their designs, leading to a more investment-worthy and marketable product,” he said.
Bestbier added that the building certification system is introduced for emerging markets for clients and stakeholders in the construction industry who want to get funding through the green bond.
A green building, also known as green construction or sustainable building, is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout a building's life cycle.
He said due to the lack of a local certification agency to certify if a project or building is environmentally friendly or qualified to be called a green project, the bank worked with the IFC as part of their contribution to these projects.
The software is developed and created by the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.
By using Edge software and obtaining the required certification, developers can submit their finance proposals to the bank for funding under the green bond when it meets international standards for building green.
Bestbier said the “complementary Edge software tool for green buildings enables the user to determine the ideal technical solutions to reduce environmental impacts, while capturing upfront costs and projected operational savings within a local climate context. Within minutes, a building designer can determine the optimum combination of design strategies for the best return on investment”.
Lenore Cairncross, who represent the green building lead for Africa at the IFC, explained that based on a building's parameters, the software will help discover energy and money-saving design opportunities through region-specific and use-based analysis.
“As a free design tool, Edge presents hypothetical costs savings and payback periods for green building measures such as low-flow taps and solar connectors, helping developers and buildings make the business case for green building,” added Cairncross.
Projects will thus be considered as green projects if they achieve a 20% projected reduction in the use of energy, water and embodied energy in materials, compared to conventional buildings through Edge certification.
After the software certification, to qualify for funding, third party certification is offered at a modest cost by Green Business Certification Inc in order to validate project achievement for financial and community stakeholders.
The bank obtained additional sources of funding for its green lending activities by raising funds in the debt market through a local green bond issuance, of which the proceeds will be used solely to finance eligible green projects and assets throughout Namibia.