Steamships and IFC Collaboration Sees Landmark PNG Building Become First in South Pacific to Achieve International EDGE Certification

A landmark building in Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) capital has undergone an environmentally-friendly retrofit that has significantly lowered its carbon footprint and seen the property become the first real estate project in the South Pacific to be accredited under one of the world’s leading green building certification programs.

Steamships, a diversified Papua New Guinean conglomerate with interests in logistics, property, and hospitality, along with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced the redevelopment of the three-story building in downtown Port Moresby known as @345, previously Burns Haus, has been awarded final certification under the green building certification system known as EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies).

“Attaining EDGE certification for @345 is a significant step as it marks the first time any commercial, retail, or residential building has been awarded such an accreditation in PNG,” said Steamships Managing Director Rupert Bray. “As a company with deeply held values, Steamships takes its commitment to helping set environmental standards in PNG very seriously,” he said.

The building – which houses the Steamships corporate head office, Pacific Palms Property (PPP) and Coral Sea Hotels – underwent extensive renovations in 2022 which set a benchmark for modern, efficient, green buildings in PNG. The work undertaken by PPP, a Steamships subsidiary, not only directly contributes to action in climate change but is also expected to encourage the uptake of green design practices in PNG and elsewhere.

“Building materials account for half of the solid waste generated every year worldwide. By 2025, that amount is expected to reach 2.2 billion tons per year globally, which means the greening of new and existing buildings is key to a low-carbon future,” said Judith Green, IFC Country Manager for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. “IFC is proud to be contributing to a growing bank of green space globally through our work with governments and strong local partners, and it’s great to see Steamships is now a part of that growing fraternity,” she said.

To be eligible for the EDGE certification, the building was required to demonstrate a minimum of 20 percent savings of energy, water, and embodied energy in building materials. “We are making a conscious effort at Pacific Palms Property to provide customers with functional and safe spaces that use increasingly scarce resources efficiently,” said PPP General Manager Russel Sy.
The use of high-performance glass, insulated roofing and more efficient cooling and lighting systems is expected to deliver energy savings of 39 percent. With the use of water-efficient faucets, water closets and urinals, overall water consumption will be reduced by as much as 35 percent. Combined with embodied energy savings of 69 percent due to the materials used in the renovation,  the greening of the building is equivalent to preventing 60.4 tons of CO2 per annum from being released into the atmosphere. Pacific Palms Property is now working with the national utility, PNG Power, to further reduce the environmental footprint of the building by including it in a solar energy pilot scheme.

Like many emerging markets, PNG faces a stark balancing act when it comes to improving prosperity for its people against the impact of climate change. It relies heavily on exports of extractives such as gold and gas while rapid urbanization in Port Moresby presents further environmental challenges, underscoring the need for climate action.

“This is a great first step for PNG and Steamships should be applauded for its leadership,” said IFC Resident Representative for Papua New Guinea, Markus Scheuermaier. “This project shows that there are practical solutions that can reduce a building’s carbon footprint that are within reach of just about everyone. We hope this is just the beginning for PNG,” he said. EDGE, developed by IFC, provides technical solutions for adapting construction projects to green building standards while generating positive environmental and financial outcomes. To date, EDGE has certified more than 42 million square meters of floor space globally. It has helped achieve energy savings of more than 1.9 million megawatt hours per year and reduced potential carbon emissions by almost 1 million tons of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to planting around 906 million trees. The building was also certified by Green Business Certification Inc.

Image by Lloyd Pupaka from Pixabay