MOVING TOWARDS A CLIMATE NEUTRAL UN A Green One UN House in Hanoi, Viet Nam
In Hanoi, the Government of Viet Nam, the UN Country Team, and several donors are contributing towards the construction of a Green One UN House. There are currently 16 UN organiza- tions present in Hanoi at 10 different locations. The co-location of those organizations is expected to substantially enhance the effectiveness of interagency coordination and provide a wide range of opportunities to cut GHG emissions and other environmental impacts such as waste and water use.
Rapid urbanization and high vulnerability to climate change are critical to the future of Viet Nam. According to scientific estimates, a possible one metre rise in sea level by 2100 will result in the displacement of nearly 22 million people and financial losses equal to approximately 10 per cent of GDP. The Green One UN House seeks to provide a model for Viet Nam and other countries by demonstrating the viability of innovative sustainable buildings to counter climate change.
In the Green One UN House, energy consumption is expect- ed to be reduced by 36 per cent compared to business-as- usual designs for offices in Hanoi by maximizing heating and cooling efficiency and using energy efficient lighting. The water management system will harvest rainwater, recycle and filter it, thereby reducing water use by 30 per cent.
Among others, the building will use thermal insulation to minimize the need for air-conditioning, which is the prime source of ozone-depleting substances. One or two atria will bring natural light inside, and green space will be created through landscaping of the external area of the site. It will use
lead-free paints, with carpets and other fittings that are low in volatile organic compounds. Wood products will originate from sustainably managed forests. Building materials will be recycled and reused and the use of virgin materials will be minimized.
Beyond environmental sustainability, bringing the UN to- gether in one building will create synergies, enhance ef- fectiveness, and inter-agency coordination among the 16 UN organizations in order to “deliver as one”. In the One UN House, the UN Country Team can improve development effectiveness through functional clustering of staff and es- tablish a wide range of common support services yielding cost savings. The annual savings in operational costs cre- ated by this project are estimated at US$500 000.
Cost savings, however, are not the ultimate argument for establishing a Green One UN House. The priority is to im- plement the reform programme for UN organizations, use energy more efficiently and eliminate wasteful practices.
As an example of best-practice in an eco-friendly and en- ergy-efficient office building in the region, the Green One UN House in Hanoi will be an important demonstration of the UN’s commitment to environmental sustainability and fighting climate change. Alongside this project, UNEP will undertake capacity building to encourage the building sector in Viet Nam pursue sustainable buildings. Here is an example for other UN agencies and a model for eco-design and green technology in Viet Nam.
ICAO Headquarters: the first LEED certified UN Building
ICAO Headquarters in Montreal (Place de la Cité Internatio- nale), obtained Canada’s first Leadership in Energy and Envi- ronmental Design Certification for Existing Buildings (LEED- EB) in 2007. ICAO’s Headquarters is the first UN premise that has obtained the LEED-EB Gold certification.
The LEED-EB is recognized internationally as the benchmark in property management in terms of both energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. The achievement of this certification reflects ICAO’s willingness to integrate environ- mental considerations into its operational management and to comply with a set of performance standards. These stan- dards cover the following categories: Sustainable management of the site Water quality and efficiency Energy efficiency and atmosphere protection
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building). The Secretary-General’s “Cool UN” initiative also contributes to this effort. By reducing heating and cooling in relation to outdoor temperatures, sup- ported by a relaxed dress code during the hot season, the UN Secretariat in New York reduced its GHG emis- sions by an estimated 3,100 tonnes in 2008.
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Sustainable use and disposal of materials and resources Indoor environmental quality Innovation in operations & upgrades
ICAO Headquarters required major work in order to become compliant with LEED standards, which represented a signifi- cant challenge. Several modifications were made in terms of lighting, plumbing, ventilation, responsible water use, recy- cling, maintenance processes and methods, and operations. For example, fluorescent tubes, ballasts, high–efficiency sys- tems and speed regulators were replaced.
This certification, as demonstrated by the excellent ICAO`s GHG performance indicators, has helped to reduce carbon emissions arising from the Headquarters operations, and is helping move ICAO towards Climate Neutrality.
Investments to reduce GHG emissions from buildings typically have multiple benefits. Even though up-front investments are required for this type of intervention, the annual savings through reduced energy con- sumption recoup the outlay well within the buildings’ life cycle.