Urban transformation to make cities ‘greener’

Urban transformation to make cities ‘greener’

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Urban transformation to make cities ‘greener’ In Turkey around 14 million houses would fail to meet viability criteria and they should be reviewed, the Turkish environment minister has said.

“The infrastructure of the cities is old and insufficient so 14 million houses should be reviewed in terms of their thermal isolation, exterior sheathing and energy sensibility,” Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar said during the International Green Buildings Summit in Istanbul.

The International Green Building Summit took place Feb. 18 and 19 with the aim to raise environmental consciousness emphasize the importance of green buildings as well as provide a platform to enable communication and information sharing within the construction sector. Besides Bayraktar, the head of Turkey’s Housing Administration (TOKI) Ahmet Haluk Karabel and Environment Friendly Green Buildings Association head Haluk Sur were among the attendees of the summit.

Buildings that meet certain criteria, ensuring they are environmentally responsible and use energy resources efficiently are certified as green buildings. The criteria encompass all the characteristics of the building from location to design, construction materials to energy resources.

To construct the buildings according to green criteria would increase the short-term costs around 10 percent by adding construction expenses, but in the long run it enables huge energy savings that slash continuous costs, sector analysts have said.

If Turkey builds even 2 or 3 percent of the 6.5 million transformation houses it will earn $470 million in 10 years, Sur said. “As building the houses according to green building criteria will save a lot of energy and water, thus if all of them were green the conservation would be $26 billion.”

Despite this the minister calculates the potential conservation amount substantially lower at between $8 billion to $15 billion, he agrees with the head of environmentalist association.

Turkey’s energy expenses vary between $55 billion and $70 billion, increasing by every year. However, green buildings would likely eliminate the high cost, saving 30 to 40 percent of energy, Bayraktar said.

The minister, who said there are 6.5 million houses on fault lines that need to be renovated within 20 years, promised that government targets to renovate urban areas included not only the at-risk buildings, but all those surrounding of them also.

The green space area per person is 8-12 meter square in the world but the criteria in the transformation projects will be 18 meter squares, Bayraktar said.

He also claimed that the ministry intended to establish brand cities where alternative energy generations like wind or solar energy will used as well as new concepts will be developed to protect animal and plant species.

TOKI, the state-run institution that has been constructing housing areas across Turkey, also regards sustainable environmental measures and purposes to reduce carbon level to zero, Karabel, the head of administration claimed during his speech at the summit.