Viet Nam opens world’s first green certified UN House

Tue, 21/07/15

Dancing dragons and beating drums welcomed the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he inaugurated the first green certified UN House in Viet Nam earlier this year.

This was an auspicious opening for the much anticipated Green One UN House in Ha Noi, now home to a total of ten UN organizations.

The new building is at the heart of the UN in Viet Nam’s commitment to answer the Secretary-General’s call to be carbon neutral by 2020. It was designed and developed with assistance from the Sustainable United Nations team from the United Nations Environment Programme and the team made sure to adapt, re-use and recycle the structure of an existing UN building in order to reduce the demolition works, cost and waste materials.

The Secretary-General praised the Country Team’s vision. “The UN House in Viet Nam is the best possible eco-friendly and energy efficient office building in the region and is a testimony to UN coherence, inter-agency cooperation and teamwork” said Mr Ban.

The six storey open plan building has already set a new standard in Viet Nam for green building, the first to be awarded a provisional Lotus Gold Standard from the Viet Nam Green Building Council. The design and construction are already certified to be environmentally friendly and have a high level of energy efficiency. The building is expected to reduce energy consumption by 22% and water by 36%.

Solar panels on the roof will also generate around 10% of annual energy requirements as well as half of the annual hot-water requirement. As another first in Viet Nam, the photo-voltaic system has the possibility to provide the National Grid with surplus energy, for example at weekends. The solar panels also shade the building like a parasol so that less cooling is required.

“We are delighted that the Green One UN House is on course to become the first gold LOTUS rated building in Viet Nam after the first year of operation” said the UN Resident Coordinator, Dr Pratibha Mehta.

“One of the priorities for the UN in Vietnam is to support environmentally sustainable development. In building the Green One UN House we are not just talking the talk but walking the walk. By greening our operations we will significantly reduce our carbon foot print and our energy and water consumption”, she said.

UN Staff are already enjoying the bright, modern environment and its many environmentally friendly features.

Truong Viet Hung, a member of UN Viet Nam’s ‘Greening the UN Campaign’, is enthusiastic about his new workplace. “Most of all I love the huge open space. I can also feel the fresh air. Change will become possible, for example changes in staff behaviour. If you sit inside that House you must be committed to live the spirit of the Green House – refuse, reuse, reduce and recycle."

To make the most of the move the UN have launched a new ‘How to be Green in the new Green One UN House’. The attractive hand-illustrated e-publication has many handy hints for the green behaviours that will be needed to make sure that the building is green in operations. For Hung, the new office is another reason to feel proud of working for the UN.

“The House will become a model for Green Building in Viet Nam – a building Vietnamese people will want to visit. Am sure they will be interested to find out how we made it!”

You can receive daily updates by liking the Greening the Blue Viet Nam Facebook page

Categories: Buildings