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Green Training in Ghana
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Green Training in Ghana

In October 2019, Marloes Reinink and Makhosazana Mthethwa visited Ghana for the first time to conduct three one-day green building training workshops for the Ghana Green Building Council and professionals in the built environment. Here, Khosi shares details of the training experience.


Hosted by the IFC, the two Solid Greeners held three one-day training workshops, which were attended by professionals from the Ghana Green Building Council; Ghana Institute of Architects and Ghana Institute of Engineers; and officials from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Adentan Municipal Assembly and the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly. A total of about 100 professionals attended these workshops.

Solid Green has been working closely with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop an easy to understand User Guide for Section 37 of the Ghana Building Code. Section 37 of the Ghana Building Code focuses on Green Buildings and sustainability in buildings. We have also developed a training package for architects, consulting engineers and other professionals from the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

The purpose of the training sessions held in October 2019 was to set out the different methods of compliance for future buildings to acquire their local authority approvals. The two methods are the prescriptive route of compliance and the green building certification-based route.

Prescriptive Route of Compliance – Ghana Building Code Section 37

Ghana is revamping its building code and it’s a monumental feat! The Ghana Building Code draft is an adoption of the International Building Code. The 1700-page document was created by the Ghana Standards Authority for the Ministry of Works and Housing and was supported by the IFC with donor funds from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

This progressive code has set a new benchmark in sustainability for buildings in Section 37, which outlines Green Building Requirements. As is widely known, existing buildings account for more than 40% of the world’s total primary energy consumption and 24% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Buildings are also responsible for a huge share of water and materials consumption. The good news is that the building sector has the greatest potential to deliver significant reduction in emissions at minimum cost.

This code shows Ghana’s commitment to mitigating against climate change, as the standard is set relatively high when compared to other countries. Furthermore, the GSA aims to revise the code every three years to ensure a consistently improving benchmark.

The highlights of the new code will include:

Energy Efficiency:

  • Minimum efficiency requirements for electric air-cooled systems – Energy Efficiency Ratio of 2.8.
  • Maximum lighting power densities and efficient luminaires based on building typology.
  • All lighting must have occupancy sensor controls.
  • Renewable energy generation is required for homes over 75sqm and commercial/industrial buildings over 5000sqm.

Water Efficiency:

  • Onsite stormwater management (with a minimum of 50% permeable or soft landscape required).
  • Minimum of 50% of the roof area to be used for diversion to a dedicated rainwater storage tank.
  • Metering of all ground water wells.
  • Onsite sewage treatment facility must be provided for all building larger than 1500sqm, or with more than 15 multi-family residential units. The treated water must be used for irrigation, cooling towers or flushing.
  • All water fittings and fixtures must be below the maximum allowed water consumption.

Waste Reduction and Recycling:

  • An onsite enclosed waste collection and separation facility that is at least 1sqm per 250sqm GFA of the building.

Performance Route of Compliance – Green Building Certifications

As an alternative, the GSA allows professionals to submit a green building certification to demonstrate compliance with Section 37. Green building rating or certification systems reward buildings achieving a sustainability performance target. The approved certification systems are:

  • Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) Buildings (IFC)
  • Green Star Africa (via GBCSA)
  • LEED (USGBC)
  • DGNB (DGNB Germany)
  • BREEAM (BRE – UK)

Our training extended to providing demonstrations on how to make use of the EDGE tool. EDGE, an innovation of the IFC, is a fast, easy and affordable green building certification tool. EDGE provides design solutions that are climate specific. It also supports the ambitions of Architecture 2030 and the World Green Building Council for new buildings to be zero carbon by 2030 and all buildings to be zero carbon by 2050.

It was a privilege to be able to contribute further to the Green Building movement in Africa, and to pass on the skills that we have acquired over the years!

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