The International Finance Cooperation (IFC) says its efforts to promote sustainable cities was part of a larger World Bank initiative that focused on how to help cities promote policies and investments to prepare for the change that was coming.
Madam Fatma D. Wane, Programme Manager, Environmental, Social and Governance Department at the IFC, noted that a sustainable metropolis must address environmental issues but must also meet formidable challenges of driving economic growth and social well-being.
The Construction industry is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases accounting for over 30 per cent of the world carbon emissions, as Carbon Dioxide is released into the atmosphere during construction and operation of buildings to global warming.
As a result, IFC, a member of the World Bank with support from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) designed the Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) software to reduce greenhouse emission from the industry.
Orthner Orthner & Associates (OOA) in collaboration with the IFC EDGE Green Building Programme, on Thursday launched the IFC EDGE Student Competition in Accra, with an overall objective of demonstrating how buildings could be more profitable while easing their impact on the environment.
Speaking at the launch, Madam Wane noted that standing in between the public and private sectors, IFC brings market-based solutions to respond to today's challenges of creating low-carbon economic growth.
She said one of the pillars of IFC's strategy was to help mitigate climate change, as one of their most ambitious areas of work was their green building programme.
Madam Wane said IFCs green building portfolio had grown to nearly two billion dollars this year, which includes the direct financing of green building construction projects and mobilised financing.
Mr Matthias Feldmann, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Switzerland in Ghana, underscored the need to create more awareness and a greater understanding about the benefits of adopting green building standards.
He said Switzerland through its economic development had been partnering with the IFC to support the EDGE green building program since 2016 with a total contribution of $10.5 million in a total of six countries worldwide, including Ghana.
Mr Feldmann noted that Switzerland's contribution to the EDGE programme underscored their commitment to support emerging economies, such as Ghana, in their transition towards climate-friendly and low emission growth paths.
He said the construction sector held a lot of potential to help in this transition towards a greener economy, adding that "currently the building sector consumes about 32 per cent of total energy supply, 17 per cent of water use and emits around 19 per cent of global greenhouse gases".
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mrs Akosua Serwaa Obeng-Mensah, an Architect at OOA, said prior to the launch, her organisation recognized the need for the next generation of architects to understand the impact buildings had on the environment.
She said globally, buildings contributed to 30 per cent of greenhouse emissions and these emissions were the gases causing climate change; as the earth becomes hotter there would be drought, floods, more extreme weather conditions which could lead to poverty.
Mrs Obeng-Mensah, who is an EDGE expert told GNA that few years ago stakeholders had the 'Paris Climate Change Conference' and there was a call to keep the warming of the earth to two degrees; stating that "so one of the ways is by controlling how we build".
She said the competition therefore, offered architectural students the opportunity to explore the use of new materials and strategies for building and integrating beauty and technology for high performance.
Mrs Obeng-Mensah, who said this was the idea they wanted to instill in the students at a young stage, also noted that to emerge as the winner, the proposed building must be stunning, cutting edge and trendy.