Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

An Investigation into the Prospects of Green Building Practice in Nigeria

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

An Investigation into the Prospects of Green Building Practice in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract

Green Building (GB) is a concept that gains currency as an important mitigating measure against the negative side effects of developmental activities. This is a report on investigation carried out on the prospects of GB practice in Nigeria. This research work entails review of related literature to establish the concept of GB, problems militating against the practice of GB and method of constructing GB. A total of 50 structured questionnaires were distributed, out of which 40 were received. Practice of GB in Nigeria, factors hindering the practice and benefits of GB were investigated. Based on Likert scale ranking, results show that GB is currently not practiced and the need for it exist. Also, lack of awareness is the most prominent factor hindering the construction of GB, followed by 'Lack of enabling environment in the form of policy or legislation that will encourage prospective clients to use GB and 'Economic situation of the country'. Health and productivity gain is identified as the most important benefit of green building, followed by 'preservation of natural resources while taking care of their health' and 'attraction and retention of employee'. It was recommended that public enlightenment should be done by Non Governmental Organizations, government and professional bodies, the practice of Green building should be encouraged by the government, request for construction environmental management plan from contractors as part of tender documents and the government should liaise with the industry's stakeholders to establish a construction bank that will empower the people.

Keywords: environmental degradation, sustainability, green building, mitigating measures, preservation

1. Introduction

Human activities on the environment, to meet his daily needs, exert pressure on the environment. For instance, construction activities which are regarded as the heart of every development constitute a powerful influence on the environment. The construction industry consumes a major share of resources and produces a commensurate share of waste. According to Agenda 21 for sustainable construction, in Dahiru (2005), the industry is often referred to as the 40 per cent industry as it is responsible for the consumption of approximately 40 percent of natural resources and about 40 per cent of all waste produced. Dimson (1998) in Gandu (2005) observed that human habitats (buildings) contribute to environmental crises through resources depletion, energy consumption, air pollution and creation of waste. Ajatar (2000) outlines up to ten different adverse effects of construction activities on the environment. These include, among others, land misuse, existing site dereliction, habitat destruction, misuse of natural resources, etc.

Additionally, the on-site construction practices result in a number of health and comfort disturbances, especially to people living around such areas, where construction activities are taking place. One problem which is of great concern is the observation made by Schmidt (2000) that building activities are responsible for approximately one-third of ecological disasters. Thus, it can be seen, clearly, that construction activities have direct impact on man and his environment, as it leads to the change in the state or condition of such environment in terms of not only the quality but also the stock of natural resources. One important question that should be addressed is: "how can we ensure that these activities (construction activities) do not compromise the ability of future generations in achieving their needs.

According to Kolawole & Anigbogu (2005), the friendliest way to handle the environment is not to build. However, without construction, life can be miserable and threatening. For shelter is needed, among other things, for protection against the inclement weather and for healthy living. Kolawole & Anigbogu (2005) opined that what is needed is a dynamic equilibrium. …

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