Business - April 10, 2020 | 08:00 pm PT

Giap Van Thanh, General Director of the Phuong Nam Soundproofing Insulating Co., said that worldwide trend of green buildings has taken firm root in Vietnam. While it has been led by the residential sector, the trend has gathered momentum in the industrial and commercial sectors too, triggering demand for eco-friendly building materials in Vietnam.

There are several definitions of green buildings. But the important thing is that, it is an indispensable trend that fits with the strategic orientation for sustainable development. Vietnam cannot ignore it.

Today, many global organizations have been established to evaluate green buildings, create standards, certifications and rating systems that aim at mitigating the impact of buildings on the natural environment. This evaluation process can take up to several years depending on the size and the complexity of the construction. It takes place from when the project is on the drawing board until the building is completed and put into operation.

In Vietnam, green building projects are increasing in popularity, in both residential and industrial segments. However, the evaluation process is not implemented properly because of improper understandings of green building standards.

Green buildings are of course made with green materials, but this is not enough. To become genuinely eco-friendly, green buildings should be a combination of three components.

First, the construction area must ensure better use of natural resources including soil, wind, water and light. Typically, if the project area has a strong foundation, we can pour less concrete. If the area is hot and humid with lots of sunshine, we can take advantage of solar energy and natural light.

It is also important that the buildings are in the right wind direction, especially in industrial sector, which usually has a high level of gas emissions. The more complex a building, the more attention it requires. Investors should ensure exhaust systems that lessen the impact on residences and workers.

Secondly, the process of building and operating the structure must be eco-friendly. The designers and builders need to come up with a specialized treatment system for toxic gases and wastewater to prevent pollution. Noise pollution, for instance, is an invisible danger that very few builders pay attention to. In Vietnam, I suppose that large industrial zones are currently managing things quite well in terms of the environment, waste treatment and noise control.

Last but not least, after satisfying the above two factors, builders should use green building materials. But green materials are still not very well understood due to the lack of studies and awareness.

Green materials are hi-tech and eco-friendly. They not only have outstanding strength and durability compared to traditional products, but also mitigate environmental impacts of building activities like soil excavation, sand mining, blasting or rock crushing. The production lines for green materials are of diverse capacity and speed. They use raw materials that are easy to find and non-toxic.

Many builders understand deeply the benefits of hi-tech materials. Let me explain a bit the costs that business owners need to calculate when using green materials.

For example, a panel with a thickness of just 50 mm has the same effectiveness of insulation as a 200 mm masonry wall. The lighter weight helps reduce expenses for the foundation as well as the structure. Of course, the installation process is much faster. The products are customized, designed, manufactured and delivered to the construction site, also helping reduce labor costs.

The time taken to complete a construction is also significantly shortened, only a third compared to the use of traditional building materials. On the same wall built with hi-tech materials, workers only need to connect panels with a special catapult, while rough masonry walls must be plastered, painted in multiple layers and aesthetically resurfaced. Not to mention the use of traditional materials like bricks, sand, cement and paint are harmful for the environment.

Our core business is hi-tech soundproofing and insulating lightweight materials. Yes, I personally have been in the industrial business for a long time, so it is easy for me to realize the market development potential.

Green materials have been emerging in Vietnam for more than a decade. The categories are expanding. Initially, the market had only unburned bricks and artificial stones replacing burned bricks and natural stones. But in recent years, many Vietnamese builders have invested in advanced production lines for green materials. At Phuong Nam Co., we have an insulated panel factory with a capacity of over 15,000 tons per year. These products can replace the traditional materials completely.

Along with the development of green buildings, we believe that green materials will become a mainstream trend for many years to come. The big changes will come from industrial buildings, then spread to civil and commercial buildings. Investors can not only save time and achieve high durability, but also reduce labor, maintenance and electricity costs in production, meeting the demand of sustainable development.

Green materials will soon become more common in commercial housing, high-rise apartments and the office sector. Europeans have built houses with panels since the 70s and 80s of the last century. I believe that as our economy develops, people’s awareness will improve, and more and more two or three-storey houses built in less than a month will be seen in the market.

Content: Bao An
Photos: Quynh Tran
Design: Thai Hung