Developers in Ho Chi Minh City are trying to realise the dream of greening out their real estate projects.
Ho Chi Minh City is considered the leader in green real estate projects. Among those, Phuc Khang Construction and Investment Corporation is a pioneer in applying the American LEED green building standards in its two projects called Diamond Lotus Riverside (District 8) and Diamond Lotus Lakeview (Tan Phu District). In particular, Diamond Lotus Riverside handed over properties to more than 700 homebuyers by the end of 2017.
In addition, the An Nhien Garden eco-urban complex, developed by Thang Loi Group, including the three sections An Phu-An Loc-An Dien, is a green community in the heart of the city with tree and traffic densities of nearly 40 per cent.
EverRich Infinity of Phat Dat Real Estate Development Corporation, which is located in the centre of District 5, has been covered with green spaces surrounding the windows, not to mention a system of interconnected watercourses running around the area. A wide range of equipment and green building materials are also used in the construction of this project.
Following the trend of green real estate, Him Lam Land Corporation has been gradually greening out its projects, first with Him Lam Cho Lon which started handing over properties to buyers at the end of 2016 and in early 2017. The project includes more than 1,000 apartments in District 6. Although the total area is not extensive, the developer has managed to create lots of green spaces for the community and used green building materials in construction. Besides, other projects like Him Lam Phu Dong and Him Lam Phu An were also developed with a green mind-set.
Meanwhile, Nam Long Group also launched its first green project called Flora Anh Dao in District 9. The project is developed in accordance with Japanese green standards, using unbaked bricks with a variety of green building materials, while adding lots of natural green sites to the buildings.
However, according to industry experts, most of these projects have not fully met the required green standards in accordance with international practices.
New trends for 2018
Stephen Wyatt, country manager of Jones Lang LaSalle Vietnam, said that in 2018, in addition to the booming trend of low-cost houses and real estate properties in suburban areas, another strong trend is expected—launching more real estate projects that comply with green standards.
In May 2017, EXS Capital Ltd.—an independent alternative investment group in Asia—announced pouring $100 million into SonKim Land. With this capital, Eric Solberg, CEO of EXS Capital, said that the group wishes to invest in green real estate projects in Ho Chi Minh City.
At the end of December 2017, Mitsubishi announced injecting $30 million into Phuc Khang. The capital will be disbursed in 2018.
According to Luu Thi Thanh Mau, CEO of Phuc Khang, in the past people bought houses simply as a place to live. Today, they need a house that can meet certain environmental standards and provide an eco-friendly living space. This is why they go for green projects.
In addition, as the authorities have officially executed the new development strategy of transforming Ho Chi Minh City into a smart city, a number of projects have been implemented to adapt to climate change. All are geared towards environmental mitigation goals and the city seeks to encourage investors to develop more green projects.
“The world has witnessed the revolution of green buildings since 1990, while Vietnam is only at the starting line with about 100 green buildings in existence. Green buildings will be a steady and strategic direction for Phuc Khang’s business. Our products are highly appreciated by homebuyers as they help to improve health conditions, longevity, and the happiness index of the community through green spaces, green utilities, and green lifestyle,” Mau said.
Vietnam’s green pioneers
One of the pioneers in developing green real estate projects in Ho Chi Minh City these days, Nguyen Xuan Quang, chairman of Nam Long, said that the market is changing dramatically. In the past, people used to buy large houses for the whole family, but now they choose smaller homes as the priority has been given to the quality of the living environment.
Meanwhile, developers have started paying more attention to environmentally friendly projects. These projects not only aim at creating a lot of green landscapes, but also seek to use more green materials, such as non-baked bricks, glass, and energy-saving air conditioning system to make a truly green project.
In addition, many developers also start looking to the suburban areas of Ho Chi Minh City, considering this a potential market segment to develop green real estate projects. For example, in 2017, Cat Tuong Group earned great successes with Cat Tuong Phu Sinh in the southern province of Long An’s Duc Hoa District, only 40 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City’s downtown. In this project, Cat Tuong has reserved 60 per cent of the land for a green landscape, while the rest will be used to build houses. The main materials used in construction works are green materials to meet international standards.
Tran Anh Group is also developing a green resort and villa project called Bella Villa in the north-west of Ho Chi Minh City. 60 per cent of the land is occupied by rivers, lakes, and trees, while the rest is reserved for single villas.
Nguyen Huu Dung, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Construction Environment, said that the Vietnamese market has only seen a limited number of green building as most real estate projects now mainly focus on developing residential-commercial complexes which can be sold at high prices.
Furthermore, the Vietnamese government has yet to formulate an official system of national green standards, so most domestic developers have to rely on the standards set up by some foreign or domestic consultancy organisations to develop their own green projects, such as International Financial Corporation’s EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies); Green Mark (Singapore), LEED (US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), or Lotus of the Vietnam Green Building Council (VGBC).
Dung also said that all the above green standard systems share the following five basic factors: location for building sustainable construction works; efficient use of water and energy; the use of environmentally friendly materials and resources; high-quality indoors environment; new and innovative designs. Although not many projects have satisfied 100 per cent of these standards, developers are trying to gradually meet all of them in each project. This can be considered an initial success for Vietnamese real estate developers over the years.
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