The “Doi Moi” economic reforms in Vietnam were initiated in 1986, which allowed the country to open its doors to the outside world. In realising the massive shortage within the built environment, Vietnam’s relatively young population of over 90 million inhabitants embraced the reforms and hungered for development. Foreign investments poured in to capitalise on a country badly in need of growth.
For the next three decades, Vietnam quickly became one of the fastest growing economies in the world, developing at an accelerated pace. As a result, it shifted from an extremely poor country to a lower-middle income country within a short period.
Fuelled mainly by speculation, many large-scale projects started construction in the two anchor cities during Vietnam’s golden age of real estate in the mid 2000s—Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Unfortunately, like other developing countries, many projects were poorly designed and built, catering only to speculators who were only interested in buying square metres off-plan with little consideration for sustainability.
In 2007 the Vietnam Green Building Council (VGBC) was established. It is a national non-profit, non-governmental organisation that is part of the World Green Building Council (WGBC). WGBC has established itself in over 90 countries, thus making it the world’s largest international organisation influencing sustainable construction.
The VGBC has been formed to raise awareness and build the capacity to support the development of sustainable projects in Vietnam. Its goal is to act as
a catalyst to encourage the government, academia and private sector to cooperate and achieve a more sustainable built environment. With the launch of LOTUS—Vietnam’s Green building rating system that relates specifically to the country’s building codes, law, climate and construction methods— architects and other professionals can now educate their clients on the benefits of having their projects LOTUS-certified, which include lower operating costs, improved occupant productivity, and healthier living and work spaces.