Seminar Promoting the Sustainable Building Market in Cambodia

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Confluences and TERAO organised a seminar titled “The Sustainable Building Seminar: Energy and Carbon Reduction Applied to All Assets in Cambodia” in Phnom Penh on September 5, 2023 to share knowledge and foster awareness about sustainable building practices in Cambodia.

The seminar featured a particular focus on the work conducted by TERAO. Among the speakers from TERAO were Mr. Manuel Ramos, the Asia Managing Director, Mr. Gaspard Lemoine-Scelles, the Business Development Director, Mr. Martin Desbireres, the Operations Manager, as well as a guest speaker, Mr. Emerald Am, the Country Manager for the Life and Building Safety (LABS Foundation) Initiative and IDH Transforming Markets in Cambodia. Mr. Devin Barta, the President of Amcham Cambodia, also contributed his perspectives during the seminar.

Watch B2B Cambodia’s interview with Mr. Manuel Ramos who provided insights into TERAO’s work:

TERAO is a French company with 30 years of experience in sustainable engineering, specialising in helping building owners and operators enhance the sustainability of their structures. They can achieve this by addressing energy efficiency, reducing carbon footprints, and prioritising occupant comfort.

Mr. Ramos emphasised that the demand for sustainable building practices in Cambodia has been driven by the high cost of electricity and the need to meet sustainability requirements imposed by external markets. The presence of French-speaking communities and existing stakeholders in the industry were what additionally attracted TERAO to the Cambodian market.

Beyond energy efficiency, TERAO emphasises the importance of comfort, paying attention to thermal levels, access to natural light, and the overall well-being and health of building occupants.

At the seminar, Mr. Am shed light on the significant issue of high electricity costs in Cambodia, which are among the highest in Asia and second highest among developing countries in the region, reaching USD $13.7 cents per kilowatt. He highlighted the country’s heavy reliance on coal and oil as primary energy sources, which are subject to frequent price fluctuations. 

To ensure the long-term sustainability of Cambodia’s energy sector, Mr. Am suggested exploring alternative options to reduce dependence on volatile energy sources. He illustrated the potential of investing in solar farms to lower power generation costs for the Electricity Authority of Cambodia (EDC) and to meet the country’s growing electricity demand.

Solar Farms in Cambodia

Solar farms are becoming a more popular renewable energy source in Cambodia, and the Ministry of Mines and Energy is using them as a key part of the larger scheme implemented under the “Basic Energy Plan” issued in 2019. This plan sets a target to have 10% of the Kingdom’s electricity mix be generated through renewable energy sources by 2023.

Some of the solar farms that are currently operating or under construction in Cambodia are:

  • Battambang solar farm (capacity of 73.9 MW)
  • Pursat solar farm (capacity of 30 MW)
  • Banteay Meanchey solar farm (capacity of 30 MW)
  • Kampong Chhnang solar farm (capacity of 60 MW)
  • Svay Rieng solar farm (capacity of 60 MW)

How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Buildings

To reduce a carbon footprint, Mr. Lemoine-Scelles made several recommendations:

  • Reduce energy consumption: One way to lower a personal carbon footprint is to reduce the amount of energy individuals use. Everyone can  make an effort to minimise their own energy consumption.
  • Energy offsetting: This involves generating renewable energy through means such as installing solar PV panels. By reducing energy consumption at a facility and generating renewable energy, everyone can offset the carbon emissions associated with their energy usage.
  • Conduct energy audits: To effectively reduce energy consumption via assets, it is important to understand how energy is being used at facilities. Conducting energy audits allows for the identification of areas needing improvement and ways that energy usage can be optimised.

During the panel discussion, Mr. Barta emphasised that sustainability in manufacturing is a key concern. Industrial metrics such as electricity usage per square foot produced, water consumption, and waste accumulation and disposal are regularly reported to identify areas for improvement. However, implementing these improvements remains a significant challenge.

The “Sustainable Building Seminar: Energy and Carbon Reduction Applied to All Assets in Cambodia” also raised the issue of waste management in industrial parks, with a focus on circularity and responsible sourcing. 

Efforts from Kenya, Vietnam, India, and Indonesia were highlighted to manage waste through recycling, reuse, and repurposing, particularly addressing the issue of garment waste polluting rivers.

Find out more about Cambodian sustainable goals and energy efficiency:

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