As usual, at the turn of each year, VGBC will compile data on green buildings in Vietnam and try to briefly assess the state of the green building movement in our country. Admittedly, the analysis is very shallow and involve only data easily collected from VGBC and USGBC.

Main data from 2018:

LEED: 40 new registrations (total Gross Floor Area, or GFA, more than 242,000 sqm), 13 projects fully certified (total GFA more than 120,000 m2)

LOTUS: 13 new registrations (total GFA more than 120,000 m2), 7 projects fully certified (total GFA more than 30,000 m2)

By the end of 2018:

LEED: 174 registered projects, of which 53 projects have been awarded Full Certification (average size 14,200 sqm/project)

LOTUS: 51 registered projects, of which 21 projects have been awarded Full Certification (average size 13,000 sqm/project)

The number of LEED registrations in a calendar year peaked in 2016 as projects raced to registered under LEED v3 before the system fully moving to LEED v4. New projects dropped sharply in 2017 but have rebounded to 40 projects in 2018. The market has probably adapted to new requirements in the new LEED system. However, total GFAs of new registrations over the two recent years were very low compared to the period 2015-2016. May new projects were quite small. Indeed, average size of new LEED projects during 2017-2018 was just 4,932 sqm, compared to 17,700 sqm/project during 2015-2016.

The period 2015-2018 has established a new level of adoption for LEED in Vietnam (there were no fewer than 20 new projects in any single year, while in the 8 years before that, no year recorded 10 new projects or more). We expect that this improved level of LEED activities will stay robust in the next few years.

Like LEED, it’s probable that LOTUS has also achieved a new level of adoption in the past two years (totaling 31 new registrations, compared to a total of 20 projects registered during the 7 years before that).

However, the growth in GFA was lower than the growth in number, indicating that many new projects recently were relatively small.

Although both LEED and LOTUS have achieved impressive growth in the recent construction boom, the motivation for their respective growth might not be entirely similar. Of the 135 newly registered LEED projects during 2015-2018, industrials and office alone accounted for 75% of number of projects and 80% of total GFA. LEED is a global brand and has strong position among high-budget office projects or factories satisfying environmental claims from EU or US importers.

For LOTUS, there is a more even distribution among the main segments (education, office, industrials, multi-family residential, etc.). The projects choosing LOTUS were less about branding alone, more about social responsibility or environmental protection ambitions of the corporation or organization, while balancing costs and benefits of green buildings.

In summary, the past 3-4 years have seen broader adoption of green building in Vietnam’s construction industry, coincident with one great construction boom in our country. As the number of green projects reach a critical mass, one day we can expect the momentum of the green movement to be self-sustaining, thanks to increased awareness, lower green premium and market competitive forces. It is only then that we have a true green building market in Vietnam, where the market is driven not only by external pressure but also by internal demand.

(Data from VGBC and USGBC)