Homebuyers still ambiguous about green buildings

Reatimes: As a foreign investor, how do you evaluate the development trend of green building in Vietnam?

Mr. Olivier Dung Do Ngoc: It can be said that green building is not only a development trend of the current real estate market in Vietnam, but also a desire of most businesses and investors in responding to climate change. Green building is seen as a comprehensive solution that maximizes environmental benefits while ensuring comfort and improving health for occupants.

Besides, developing green building will also bring great socio-economic benefits. The world has proven that the application of green buildings will provide many added values and facilitate sustainable development in the construction industry as well as the real estate market.

Mr. Olivier, Dung Do Ngoc, Chief Executive Officer, EZ Land Vietnam.

You have said that green buildings offer many benefits. Do businesses and customers truly understand those kinds of value?

Although green building is an inevitable trend, the current obstacle is that most homebuyers and even businesses have a very vague understanding of the issue.

Many young people are still having an inaccurate idea of ‘green building’ or ‘green’ living space. They believe that a lot of trees must be planted, many pots should be placed on the balcony, while EZ Land Vietnam focuses on environmentally-friendly design, project construction method, materials, energy sources or how future residents use water.

Green solutions are reflected in the way people live and the way the project itself affects the environment. For example, a special type of windows will reduce the amount of heat coming from the outside to the inside of an apartment, helping customers save electricity and living expenses. EZ Land Vietnam believes that in the near future, more people will know this and understand the tremendous impacts that green buildings have on the environment and on our lives.

Quality housing people can afford -- the pressure of green project

Could you share the reasons why EZ Land chose to develop HausNeo, the first green building project, under EDGE Certification?

As we know, EDGE Certification is backed by the World Bank Group and assessed based on the criteria of energy, water and energy contained in materials, for projects that target and work towards the living environment. It is also one of the few reputable and globally recognized green building rating systems.

To achieve EDGE, projects must ensure at least 20% reduction in energy, water and energy contained in materials, the energy used throughout the life cycle of materials from production to disposal, compared to conventional constructions. At the same time, World Bank Group will also conduct a quality review and appraisal of the air environment inside the building, the applicability of design, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as solutions in construction and operation toward increasing efficiency and saving energy.

That is why EZ Land Vietnam chose to develop HausNeo and other green buildings under EDGE Certification and set the goal of ‘greening’ our entire real estate portfolio in Vietnam, in line with the evaluation criteria of the World Bank Group. Those are also the long-term and sustainable benefits that we pursue in the spirit of a professional, dedicated and community-driven real estate developer.

HausNeo project has achieved EDGE Certification.

Did EZ Land encounter any obstacles or difficulties when developing HausNeo project in accordance with green standards?

The first product that we launched to the market is in the mid-end segment. The biggest pressure at the time was how to meet clients’ expectations on the product, the quality and the professional management process, while the price must be reasonable to stimulate buyers. However, EZ Land Vietnam is fortunate to have solid fund from Luxembourg, together with an experienced team and a shared aspiration to bring quality living space to the people of Vietnam.

For us, the mid-range real estate market is always an attractive investment channel. EZ Land Vietnam has been supplying the market with apartment products that offer European-inspired quality and reasonable prices. In addition, we also focus on green criteria in construction to create environmentally-friendly buildings. We understand our customers’ desires. Therefore, when the project was launched, the majority of customers understood what EZ Land Vietnam was trying to achieve everyday, to bring novelty to the market and to meet the increasing demands of Millennial.

Customers’ benefit is the compass for all operations

There are also many concerns that developing a green project means increasing costs and cutting profits. What is your stand on this issue?

Sometimes we only think of green buildings as high-end solutions, expensive technology and materials, but forget about the utilization of passive design solutions or smart design applications, or even the strict control in the process of construction and handover to optimize costs and raw materials. I think that, regardless of fields or products, businesses need to put the aspirations and interests of customers at the center of all activities, to provide the market with quality products that are suitable to modern needs.

That is also how we have been contributing to a better future of the Vietnamese people, for the sake of sustainable development.

Do you have any advice for customers when choosing green buildings?

When choosing a green building, beside factors like space or building density, buyers should consider the ‘intrinsic green’ element of the project. This means that right from the starting stages, site selection, design to construction, development, operation, maintenance, all must fully meet the criteria for a green building. The building must use energy-saving environmentally-friendly materials such as insulating bricks, hole bricks and cement bricks to save energy; natural lighting system through apartment design to take advantage of natural light and help save energy; or low-flow faucet system is also a factor that buyers should consider when choosing a green building.

In addition, the surrounding green space of the building will create a cooler and cleaner air environment that requires less use of air conditioning and conspicuously save energy.

Thank you for your time!

Despite joining the market only recently, EZ Land Vietnam has already had 3 notable projects, concentrating in the District 9 area. The first project, HausNeo, features 568 units over 18 floors and a development budget of over US$25 million. In August 2019, HausNeo project has been officially handed over to residents, ahead of schedule, with CBRE as the operation and management party.

After the success of the first project, EZ Land Vietnam continues to develop the HausBelo project. Early 2019, HausBelo is officially opened to the market and the majority of apartments have been deposited. This project is originally a social housing residence, invested by Minh Son Investment and Construction Co., Ltd. Currently, Minh Son Company is proposing a partial adjustment of 1/2000 planning as a basis for the company to adjust the 1/500 detailed plan, increasing the population size of the land lot for apartment building. The adjustment of 1/2000 planning is in the process of preparing legal documents.

First deposit customers of the HausBelo project are transferring at a difference of nearly VND100 million per unit. According to experts' forecast, after completing the procedure of adjusting design and converting from social to commercial housing, price differences could go up to VND500 million per unit.

The third super project, located at Lo Lu Street, District 9,  has yet to be officially disclosed by EZ Land Vietnam. However, with the heat coming from the two previous projects, the third one is highly being sought by many brokers. Thousands of customers are also interested and deposited brokers for this project. Reportedly, the project is traded under the name HausNima, invested by Truong Tin Housing Trading and Construction Co., Ltd.

Phuc Nguyen