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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE DEMAND FOR SUSTAINABLE FEATURES IN OFFICE BUILDINGS
Energy services in buildings – the provision of thermal comfort, refrigeration, illumination, communication and entertainment, sanitation and hygiene, and nutrition, as well as other amenities – are responsible for a significant share of energy use worldwide. In addition to the energy consumed directly in buildings, primary energy is lost in the conversion to electricity and heat and petroleum products, and the transport and transmission of energy carriers cost energy. in addition, the construction, maintenance and demolition of buildings requires energy, as do the manufacturing of furniture, appliances, and the provision of infrastructure services such as water and sanitation. this study investigated demand for sustainable in office buildings in Lagos. The method for data collection was through the design of self-administered questionnaires. the data collected was analyzed using chi-square, where the critical value was p value < x20.05, the aid of spss version 20.the result indicated that there is a fair knowledge on green building among the residence and people that work in the Lagos Island and it’s environments. With time, the demand for green building will increased and the willingness to pay for the features of green building.
1.1BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Over the past few years, the concept of sustainability has become increasingly popular in discussions with in the commercial property sector. According to the Investment Property Forum, (2009), this has been largely fuelled by a growing understanding that commercial buildings are major contributors to increased carbon emissions due to increased energy usage which most experts now acknowledge is a major cause of climate change, and that improving the energy efficiency of such buildings can help reduce emissions and the consequential strain on the environment.
The change in energy use patterns and intensity in the built environment and the growing carbon footprint and other environmental concern has been attributed to the increasing demand for real estate and the changes in design and construction strategies, materials and product development which initiated the supply of more complex buildings with massive growth in energy, carbon and environmental footprint (U.S Department of Energy , 2010) and this, today has been the major reason for the increased drive for optimized use of energy resources and provision of green and sustainable buildings.
Globally, the built sector is said to account for close to 40% of total end use of energy. (International Energy Agency, 2008).Developed countries are becoming more proactive and seeking alternative and sustainable means to encourage the responsible use of energy in the built sector. This has invariably led to various policy interventions by leading Governments worldwide and technological improvements all aimed at changing the pattern of energy usage in the built environment although developing nations and 3rd world countries notably lag behind.
Sustainable building refers to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from citing to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. In other words, green building design involves finding the balance between homebuilding and the sustainable environment. Studies show that many developed countries have embraced the concept of sustainability in construction of modern building and this phenomenon is gradually being imbibed by many developing countries as well (EPA, 2009).
In recent years, sustainability has been used interchangeably with energy efficiency although sustainability covers a wider range of factors such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste reduction etc. The Global rise in energy cost is creating the drive for the adoption of energy efficient technology worldwide. TAC (2006) stated that “Owners of commercial office buildings today face energy costs that continue to rise, creating very difficult challenges managing the building operation costs; hence, there is a need for consideration of sustainability and energy efficiency in the design of new buildings while strategies and incentives should be created to make the existing stock of buildings more sustainable.
The Understanding of the environmental impacts of buildings and their relative importance has been described as one of the major tools to help work towards the creation of sustainable development, Lehrer (2001), Buildings have the most impact mostly in the energy used in building operations most importantly lighting, air conditioning and other appliances and these put a huge effect on both environmental and energy resources in the form of emissions and pollutions. Sustainability however is a goal that allows for the continuing improvement of standard of living without reversible damage to resources we need to survive as species (Lehrer 2001).
The issue of sustainability has however received lesser attention in most countries like Nigeria. Otegbulu(2011) in his study of the economics of green design and environmental sustainability, stated that in spite of the huge environmental and energy problem in Nigeria, designers have not seen the need for a shift from their traditional method of designing buildings. Such lack of supply of more sustainable buildings may be related to the lack of drive from users and occupants of these buildings or a general lack of awareness of sustainability concepts.
It is important to note that putting up green features in building either by way of green design or retrofitting may raise the initial cost of construction but might impact positively on the future running cost of the building. Unless there is an effective demand for green features in office building which in turn will guarantee that developers recoup their investment, the concept of sustainable building and its benefit may continue to elude us, green building measures can lead not only to lower building operating expenses through reduced utility and waste disposal cost, but also to lower ongoing building maintenance cost ranging from salaries to suppliers
There is a growing need for compliance with global standards in sustainable properties as these does not only create benefits such as reduced operating and maintenance cost for building owners but even creates reduction in cost of occupancy and increased comfort for building occupants. However, since sustainability features for buildings are always expensive both for new and old buildings, the level of awareness and demand for such features among users can create incentive for developers and building owners to increase the supply of such features consequently providing all the benefits of sustainability to the local environment and users of office buildings in Nigeria.
1.2STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
There has been a remarkable increase in the usage of both ecological and energy resources by the built environment in recent decades, this has been attributed to the increasing complexity of the built environment which continually evolves to meet contemporary social needs (U.S Department of Energy, 2008). This has continued to draw the attention of Governments, organizations and other concerned individuals worldwide to the strain on the environment and the notable consequences of irresponsible usage of energy such as environmental pollution at the societal level and cost of running buildings at the individual level.
This has led to the growth of the green and sustainable building movement and governments around the world and ecological agencies are continuously promoting the concept of sustainability in the property sector. This drive for sustainability involves the renovating of existing buildings to become more sustainable while new buildings should be designed with sustainability in mind. According to Otegbulu (2011) embracing green or sustainable concept in design is aimed at reducing energy, operation and maintenance cost, reduced building related illness, increase the productivity and comfort of building occupants; reduce waste and pollution and increase building and component durability and flexibility. However it has been observed that in Nigeria, Green concept, sustainability and environmental issues are hardly put into consideration when designing a new building or renovating an old one (Otegbulu,2011).
The lack of support or drive towards sustainability can be attributed to cost of integrating such features into new buildings or making existing building more sustainable. Also, existing demand for such features may also be considered one of the most important reasons for the shortage in supply of sustainable buildings. Otegbulu, Osagie, Famuyiwa, (2009) stated that the excitement of identifying an unfilled human need and creating a product to fill it in a project is the stimulus that drives development, quoting Miles, Berens, Eppli and Weiss, (2007) they further stated that the best idea is the one that results in a product, which serves the user adequately, adds value to the community and does so at a profit.
Developers consider trends in the type of development, depth of the market and market perceived value in real estate development decisions since real estate value is largely determined by the utility derived by the users and also, effective demand for the services or amenities that real estate provides. (Shilling 2002) cited in Otegbulu (2009).
According to Otegbulu (2011), some buildings in Nigeria embody one of the various verifiable characteristics of green design but developers are yet to open up to the idea of a holistic approach to green buildings design. In the light of this observation, this research aims at investigating the awareness and level of demand for sustainable features in office buildings in Lagos state and the willingness of prospective and existing users to pay for such features .luzkendorf, it. And Lorenz, (2005) argued that investors are the main driver for green building industry, however, client effective demand might be a major driver of the green building industry in a capitalist market as investors may only be willing to supply if there is an effective demand for sustainable features.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research seeks answer to the following questions’
1) What is the level of awareness of office users of sustainable concepts in office buildings?
2) What is the level of demand for various sustainable concepts within the study area; Lagos Island.
3) What are the factors driving the demand for sustainable features?
4) What are users willing to pay for sustainable features?
1.4 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The aim of the study is to investigate the level of users demand for green features in officebuildingswithin the study area.
The objectives of this study include:
1) To investigate the level of awareness of office users of sustainable concepts in office buildings?
2) To investigate the level of demand for various sustainable concept within the study area; Lagos Island.
3) To investigate the factors driving the demand for sustainable features?
4) To determine what users are willing to pay for sustainable features?
1.5 JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY
Many empirical studies which bother on sustainability in buildings tend to look at the importance of sustainable features in building and more as theyaffect health of occupiers and climate change. However, little has been said especially ina fast growing mega city like Lagos on the level of awareness and demand for these assets.
This study therefore will be justified on a number of grounds firstly, the fact that there is no known green building certification standard in Nigeria speaks volume about the level of importance attached to the issue of green or sustainable building. Hence this study tends to bring to bring green building industry to the front burner of the construction industry by underscoring the need for more public awareness on green developments.
Secondly, it is important to note to that many developers of office building in the recent past have little or no consideration for sustainability features when embarking on building project because they are not informed on the demand side of the equation which in turn is necessary to drive supply. Therefore, this study tends to break the cycle of blame by determining the level of demand for them, which if found to be ineffective demand might prompt other stake holders to embark on green building delivery.
Lastly, this study will create an avenue for future researchers to look more into the economics and cost elements of green designs in building with a view to making green building more affordable, viable and competitive against regular buildings.
A chapter was devoted to a detailed consideration on the methodology. The research methodology for this study will a random survey, aimed at reaching the target population for this study. It will involve the use of questionnaires to elicit answers from the target population to answer the questions raised in the research questions. This survey technique was adopted in order to obtain both similar and interesting differences from the population of study.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
According to Hammed (2010), studies are usually limited either empirically or explicitly inorder to guide the mind and expectation of the reader. This section therefore provides suchclarification of scope in precise terms.The scope of the study in this work is defined based on the geographical boundaries, theexact subject of study and existing related studies. It has been noted that wide and detailedstudies provide stronger basis for rigorous comparative analysis and more generalizable conclusions (Ajayi, 1990). However, for realistic reasons, the scope of the study is restrictedfor a single researcher, with the justification that what one loses in width of coverage, onegain’s in detail of coverage (Agbato, 2005).
The subject of study hinges on the demand for sustainable features in office buildingsin Lagos metropolis. The choice of Lagos metropolis stems from the fact that roughly 70% ofReal estate developers operate in Lagos (Nubi, 2002) and owing to its mega city status thestudy finds it reasonable to adopt Lagos so as to achieve expedited conclusion at minimalcost. However the survey will cover the Lagos Island area ofLagos metropolis.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Green technology – technological innovations that do not contribute to greenhouse effects; technology which has renewable source.
Green building – buildings that generates all or most of its energy from renewable or alternative energy source.
Environmental pollution – emissions from industries and machines that pollute air, water etc and can generate unpleasant noise with negative environmental impact and health consequences.
Green features – renewable and alternative energy forms, like solar panels, wind turbine, bio fuels etc.
Office building – any property designed and constructed for official purposes; not intended for residential purposes.
1.9 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The outcome of a research might be dependent on various factors as analysed by Walker (1997), these factors include the choice of an appropriate research methodology, how reliable the data collected are and the application of appropriate statistical tools, if relevant.
Firstly, getting literature on the subject matter appeared challenging as the area of research is relatively new in the Nigerian context and as such an over dependent on foreign literatures which are usually written in line with usually contrasting realities to what the ideal situations are in a developing country like ours.
Secondly, the study encountered slow progress in eliciting responses from respondents as most of the targeted population seemed not to really understand the concept of sustainable or green building and as such a great deal of effort was deployed to educate them on the subject matter in order to elicit the right responses from them.
Needless to say that time and finance are of essence in any research work of this nature and are usually not friends of the researcher. Hence time and financial constraint are also limiting factors to this work.
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