Eco-stamps go ahead .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL - Turkey’s Green Buildings Association is organizing its first training on environmental certification systems next month.Co-founder of the association, Duygu Erten, calls for more cooperation to reduce emissions from existing buildings in Turkey

Turkey’s Green Buildings Association, or ÇEDBİK, is organizing its first training session on green buildings and global environmental certification systems at Istanbul’s Yıldız Technical University on Jan. 10.

The seminar will be the first training activity ÇEDBİK, launched in September 2007, will organize.

The training day will consist of sessions on leadership in energy and environmental design, or LEED, certification training which will be given by Houston Eubank, previously the chief executive of the World Green Building Council, and a presentation on building research establishment environmental assessment method, or BREEAM, by Martin Townsend, the director of BREEAM in the United Kingdom.

Combating climate change
Duygu Erten, vice president and co-founder of ÇEDBİK, said the goal of the association’s activities is to bring existing and new buildings in Turkey in line with international green building standards.

"In Turkey, there are only a few green buildings. Our goal is to implement green building principles in every new building and retrofit existing buildings," she told Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review yesterday.

Adopting green building criteria for mass housing is important because the reduction of CO2 emissions will have a positive affect on climate change. "Developers and investors in Turkey have started showing great interest in international certification systems, such as BREEAM and LEED.

It is now necessary to educate everyone, developers, finance firms, architects and product designers on sustainability," she said.

The educational sessions will continue in February, March and April. During the sessions discussions will focus on LEED and BREEAM criteria and how to apply for certification for individual projects.

Call for cooperation
The Green Buildings Association of Turkey currently has some 30 member companies, including product manufacturers and construction firms.

The board of the association also includes representatives from Istanbul Energy, part of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

The association promotes sustainable construction and lobbies for energy savings to counter global warming.

"Since our establishment in September 2007, our membership has grown by some 30 percent. There is increasing interest in environmental issues in Turkey.

But there needs to be more cooperation to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings.

In order to build green without problems, we need more energy efficient products, technologies and systems that can significantly reduce energy use and pay for itself through energy cost savings," Erten said.

The energy law, passed in May 2007, related to energy efficiency will help the so-called "green movement" in Turkey, but the government should also introduce solutions and incentives such as utility financing, conservation programs, green mortgages, energy efficiency tax credits among other things to further boost the green movement, Erten said.