Making a business case for green housing investment in Lagos, Nigeria.
Odu, Tenigbade Yewande.
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The construction and occupation of environmentally sustainable buildings, also known as green buildings, rather than the conventional high-energy type, are increasingly being widely accepted as modes of environmental degradation abatement in the built environment. In spite of this, green housing units are not a regular feature in the Nigerian city of Lagos. Global warming, climate change and environmental degradation are some of the most popular phrases in modern day political and non-political discourses. Erratic weather and increasing natural disasters are evidence of the importance of these phenomena and why they must be abated as a matter of urgency. Therefore, this study set out to create a framework for effective green housing investment, by examining the various factors affecting the feasibility and viability of such investment in the Lagos context and using the results as bases for creating the framework. Based in one of Africa’s largest cities, the study objectives included assessing the level of awareness of green housing, especially as a form of environmental degradation abatement, among housing stakeholders in Lagos. Having a largely private-sector driven housing sector, the study investigated the perception of private property developers and their behaviour towards green housing investment. The study also set out to identify the various green housing investment drivers, which are factors that can motivate investment in green housing. Various housing related policy instruments and documents were also reviewed to assess their efficacy in supporting green housing investment in Lagos. The study also assessed the cost and value of hypothetical green housing units, and their viability as housing investment options. The study used the ecological modernisation theory to explain the interrelationship of the state and the private sector to achieve environmental sustainability. It also used the theory of planned behaviour to examine property developers’ behaviour towards green housing investment. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative research instruments, including focus group discussions, to survey home users, estate surveyors and valuers, real estate developers, policy makers and architects, and subsequently establish a viable framework among the various property market players all located in Lagos. The quantitative data was analysed using various statistical tools including a structural equation modelling tool, while the qualitative data was analysed thematically. The findings of the study reveal that the paucity of green housing units in Lagos is attributable to a number of factors. These include a general lack of awareness of green buildings among parties that make up both the supply and demand sides of the housing market in Lagos. Also, property developers stated factors such as lack of demand for, and high cost of constructing green housing units as reasons for their lack of interest in such investments. The findings and results of the study were used to create a framework that recommends actions such as the formulation of green housing targeted policies and the creation or adoption of a local green building rating system. The study also recommends that the state government should identify environmentally responsible property investors, actively involve them in policy-making driven discussions and create an enabling investment environment for them in line with the investment drivers identified in this study.