Howard Humphreys (East Africa) Limited

Sustainability in Engineering: Understanding EDGE Green Building Certification

Hannah Musau, Assistant Civil Engineer

As environmental concerns increase across the world, green buildings have become essential in the fight against climate change. Green building is defined by U.S. EPA as ‘the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.’ To support the growth of green buildings, various Green Building certifications, i.e., EDGE, LEED etc., have come up to equip building environment professionals.

In Africa, the appreciation of green buildings is on the rise, and this trend is owed to among other factors, the growing number of Green Building Experts across the continent. The Green Building Experts enable developers, owners, and large project teams to identify the most cost-effective strategies to reduce energy use, water use and embodied energy in material.  

Howard Humphreys Digital and Innovations Hub (iHub) is running a series dupped ‘Sustainability in Engineering’ which highlight the initiatives our experts are undertaking to enhance their capabilities and support clients implement resource efficient and low to zero carbon infrastructure. To start off the series, are discussions with our very own Accredited EDGE experts on what it means to become an EDGE Green Building Experts. 

Hannah Musau, a civil engineer specialized in Highway Engineering Design at Howard Humphreys (East Africa) talks about her experience in becoming a certified green building expert.

  1. What is EDGE and what motivated you to become an IFC EDGE Green Building Expert

IFC’s EDGE certification system is an innovation for green building standards. Developed in 2014, EDGE certification aims at encouraging large-scale adoption of green and sustainable buildings. It compares a building to a local base case depending on the location, climate, and lifestyle data. EDGE focuses on the efficiency of energy, water, and embodied energy in materials. It also gives estimates of the incremental costs of the green measures adopted.

As a civil engineer, I’ve always been interested in sustainability. Early this year, I came across the EDGE Green Building Concepts from some colleagues who are part of a modern data centre design team, especially resource-efficiency considerations, and it motivated me to dive in and understand the principles of sustainable conscious designs.

  1. Could you tell us what was involved in the certification process

To become an EDGE Green Building Expert, I had to undergo a IFC EDGE training and sit for an Exam.

  1. What does this EDGE certification mean to you as a professional engineer?

With this certification, I’m well informed of resource efficiencies in design and I’ll use the knowledge gained to help clients achieve sustainable projects. As a highway engineer, material efficiencies during construction and adoption of sustainable urban drainage systems are some of innovative ideas that could be scaled to achieving greener designs in road design and development.

  1. How will the EDGE certification improve your ability to contribute to more sustainable projects?

Through the EDGE training, I have been able to gain more insight into the different fields involved in buildings, more so on the MEP part. I’ll adopt the knowledge into road design, especially in selection of material to use during road construction.

  1. How are you going to use the knowledge from edge training in your day-to-day work as a professional engineer

Unfortunately, the EDGE Certification is specifically developed for buildings. However, the knowledge could be adopted into other disciplines i.e., road and highway design and material use

  1. What other professionals can be certified in EDGE and what advice would you give them on their journey to becoming an Edge Expert?

Everyone in the built environment including contractors, material suppliers and manufacturers. It would be of great importance to be an EDGE expert, since this will create great opportunities in our construction industry to achieve an environmentally conscious world.