A member of the World Bank Group, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on Thursday launched the EDGE Architecture Students Competition in Accra. The Competition is to enable participants to display how simple it is to build green to impact the environment while improving building comfort and affordability.
The competition is intended to support and enhance the study of sustainable and energy-efficient building practices in architectural education. It also offers architectural students the opportunity to explore the use of new materials and strategies for building and integrating beauty and technology for high-performing affordable architecture.
The 20 Participants for the maiden edition of the competition were exclusively selected from the architecture department of the Central University College (CUC), but the organizers hope subsequent editions would be opened to all architecture students across the country.
Participants in the competition must design a stunning and cutting edge single family home for a young family living on the outskirts of Accra using local materials. The home must fit on the standard plot size of 70×100 feet. They are to develop at least one innovation in design and construction using the EDGE software. A minimum savings of 20% must be made in energy, water, and materials, as compared to the local base case, among others.
Speaking at the launch of the EDGE Students Competition, the Program Manager, Environmental, Social and Governance Department at the IFC, Fatima Wane said the corporation is excited that the opportunity to build the capacity of student architects in Ghana as it will ensure that the future generation of architects will be able to deliver the green buildings that are needed in the country.
“One of the pillars of IFC’s strategy is to help mitigate climate change, one of our most ambitious areas of work is our green building program. IFC’s green building portfolio has grown to nearly two billion dollars this year, which includes the direct financing of green building construction projects and mobilized financing. Through the EDGE program, IFC has supported several governments in the launching of their new green building codes, including Colombia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and recently Ghana. The EDGE certification program is available in more than 130 markets,” she stated.
Adding that “The EDGE program brings together architects, bankers, developers, and homeowners to prove that everyone wins financially by building green. EDGE is a software application, a standard, and a certification system, that together creates a refreshing new way to approach green buildings. The software is unprecedented in the world and can be used for free”.
Matthias Feldmann, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Switzerland and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO, Mathias Feldman, remarked that Green building standards, such as the EDGE standard, can play important roles in the policy mix. He said the EDGE standard represents a realistic and cost effective means to ensure greater resource efficiency and environmental sustainability of new buildings as it makes the construction of resource and energy efficient buildings more accessible and affordable than other standards and is perfectly suited for the environment of emerging countries.
“Here in Ghana, the EDGE program has been engaging for the last two years with both public officials and the private sector to create the right enabling environment and to facilitate the uptake of green building standards in Ghana.
“Today’s launch of the student competition in partnership with the Central University and Orthner Orthner and Associates represents another important step in creating more awareness and a greater understanding about the benefits of adopting green building standards,” he stated.
Prizes for the winners of the competition would include Tickets to South Africa to attend the Green Building Conference, Free Edge Expert Training, opportunity to write Free Edge ideas, among others.
The EDGE programme, which engages financial institutions, developers, government regulators, and homeowners, is supported by a free software which is available in over 140 countries. EDGE proves the business case for building green in emerging markets. Fast, easy to use, and affordable, EDGE empowers builders to choose technical solutions that reduce environmental impacts while capturing capital costs and projected savings.