GIZ Energy Support Programme

Press release: Unlock net-zero commercial buildings – rooftop solar & energy efficiency


On Friday, 05 November 2021, a workshop titled “Unlock Net-zero Commercial Buildings – Rooftop Solar & Energy Efficiency” took place as a part of the Vietnam Energy Efficiency Building Week 2021 (VEEBW 2021). The workshop was co-hosted by GIZ’s Commercial and Industrial Rooftop Solar (CIRTS) Project and Vietnam Energy Efficiency Network (EEN-Vietnam).

The event aimed at tackling challenges for the development of net-zero energy buildings (NZEBs) in Vietnam along with the complementary aspects of rooftop solar and energy efficiency. The workshop welcomed notable speakers from GIZ, AEON Delight Vietnam, SolarBK, Transsolar KlimaEngineering, the National University of Singapore and TONA Syntegra Solar. It was attended by around 150 participants, who are commercial building owners, developers, energy engineers, architects and other relevant stakeholders.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Nathan Moore – CIRTS Project Director of GIZ – said, “Vietnam has great potential for rooftop solar power, and solar power self-consumption in industry and trade has become an interest to both local and international investors due to the flexibility in installation timeframes and investment. With the rooftop solar project, GIZ aims at improving conditions for a stable long-term development of the market in Vietnam as it will support the nation’s efforts in achievement of both energy and environmental objectives.”

Mr. Nathan Moore – CIRTS Project Director of GIZ

At the workshop, the speakers presented the opportunities and challenges of NZEBs, in Vietnam and internationally. Several measures were taken into consideration, such as various energy efficiency measures and the application of rooftop solar for commercial buildings.

Talking about rooftop solar in NZEBs, Dr. Christoph Luerssen – GIZ’s Technical Advisor – shared, “Commercial NZEBs are enabled by energy efficiency measures and renewable energy generation. In particular, on-site rooftop solar is seen as a solution to meet energy demand for highly energy efficient low-rise and mid-rise commercial buildings.”

Dr. Christoph Luerssen – GIZ’s Technical Advisor

Best practice of the latest NZEB in Singapore and an overview of digital tools for such buildings were presented as recommendations for Vietnam to address current key challenges.

Dr. Wolfgang Kessling – Director of Transsolar KlimaEngineering – shared, “High performance buildings are a key strategy to ensure that rooftop solar can satisfy the building’s energy consumption. For example, the School of Design & Environment 4 (SDE4) from Singapore is a NZEB coupled enabled by tropical architectural design, which can both create a highly comfortable living environment and use energy more efficiently. By utilizing 1,200 solar photovoltaic panels installed on the roof, the SDE4 building demonstrates the possibility of net-zero design to optimize energy consumption and address climate change.”

Dr. Wolfgang Kessling – Director of Transsolar KlimaEngineering

In addition, Dr. Clayton Miller – Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore – shared about an initiative named “SDE4 Learning Trail”. According to Clayton, the SDE4 Learning Trail is an app consisting of a human-building interaction framework that is currently deployed at the SDE4 building to leverage data in a simple and intuitive way to improve building energy efficiency and occupant comfort.

Dr. Clayton Miller – Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore

A part of the workshop also focused on technical requirements for quality and safety management of rooftop solar systems. According to Mr. Mathias G. Kothe – Founder and Chairman of TONA Syntegra Solar, quality and safety are imperative for a rooftop solar system, which has a guaranteed lifetime of over 20 years and a technical lifetime of over 30 years. Therefore, he said, it is a must and worth the investment for rooftop solar-powered buildings to follow a dedicated and strictly implemented quality assurance and control process according to detailed procedures.

Mr. Mathias G. Kothe – Founder and Chairman of TONA Syntegra Solar

NZEBs have become an internationally accepted solution, which combines building design and renewable energy systems to minimize energy needs and meet energy demands. The integration of these two factors also contributes to ensure cost-effectiveness of investment and to address the issue of rising carbon emissions of commercial buildings in particular and the construction sector in general. NEZBs are expected to gain traction in Vietnam. The utilization of local potential accompanied by the improvement of legal framework conditions can help the country build up a favorable market for NZEBs.

The Commercial and Industrial Rooftop Solar (CIRTS) Project aims to improve the conditions for a sustainable development of the rooftop solar market. Its focuses are the adaptation of relevant regulatory and technical regulations, the development of key stakeholder capacities and the improvement of EVN’s information base. The Project is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority of Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade. It is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

VEEBW 2021 is facilitated by EEN-Vietnam with the tremendous support of the Goethe-Institut and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Vietnam (FES). The webinar series is co-hosted by the World Wildlife Fund Vietnam (WWF), the International Energy Agency (IEA), GIZ’s Commercial and Industrial Rooftop Solar (CIRTS) Project and LIXIL Corporation’s brand GROHE. In addition, VEEBW2021 has the participation of expert partners including Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven), Hanoi University of Civil Engineering (HUCE), Danang University of Technology (DUT), Except Integrated Sustainability, Edeec Ltd, and Vietnam Institute of Building Materials (VIBM). The program is proudly sponsored by Royal HaskoningDHV Vietnam, Phuc Khang Corporation and Elithis Asia.