VGBC History

VGBC is a program of Green Cities Fund, Inc., an international non-profit organisation based in California, USA. VGBC was established in 2007 with an aim to raise awareness and build capacity for the development of green building in Vietnam.

Founding Directors

Le Cuong 

Mr. Le Cuong was the Co-Founder and Vice-President of both The Vietnam Green Building Council and The Green Cities Foundation (Oakland, USA). He was awarded honorary member of the French Association of Architects in 2008 with strong training, urban development and heritage preservation background. From 2007 – 2008, he was professor at the University of Hanoi, School of Architecture. He received his Master Degree of Architecture at Cities Design from MIT, Cambridge, USA in 1971 and Federal Polytechnic School of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland in 1967.


Tom Miller

” I formed Green Cities Fund as a California “public benefit” corporation in 2005 to continue the humanitarian work Nhu and I had been doing in Cuba, Afghanistan and elsewhere.  In Vietnam our friend Le Cuong helped us start the Vietnam Green Building Council as a Green Cities Fund project, but the person who really devoted tremendous time and effort to make it successful and a functioning organization was Jalel, so he deserves much of the credit for its success.  I’m thankful to have played a small role as a catalyst to VGBC’s success and survival, and look forward it its increasing assistance to Vietnam becoming a greener economy “


Dr. Jalel Sager

Dr. Jalel Sager teaches ecological economics and microgrids at the Energy and Resources Group (ERG) at UC-Berkeley.  He researches Mekong energy planning and development for a joint Berkeley-Harvard University project (LMPPI); his previous work focuses on historical and institutional relationships between energy and polit­i­cal economic systems.  In 2012 Dr. Sager co-founded the Southeast Asia—Renewable and Adaptive Energy (SEA-RAE) net­work at Berke­ley for microgrid research and implementation, and in 2014 New Sun Road, an allied California benefit company.  In 2007 he organized the Viet­nam Green Build­ing Coun­cil (VGBC), now the nation’s lead­ing green build­ing orga­ni­za­tion, serv­ing as its founding exec­u­tive direc­tor until 2009, when Futu­rArc mag­a­zine profiled him as one of Asia’s top 20 pos­i­tive influences in the build­ing sec­tor.  Dr. Sager received his PhD from ERG in 2015, an ERG Mas­ters’ degree in 2011 and an undergraduate degree from New York University’s Gal­latin School.  He has received the US National Sci­ence Foundation’s Grad­u­ate Research Fel­low­ship; a US For­eign Lan­guage and Area Stud­ies fel­low­ship; and a National Merit schol­ar­ship

  • DECEMBER 2005

VGBC, and its parent organization, Green Cities Fund, Inc. (GCF), conceived in Hanoi by architect Le Cuong, lawyer Tom Miller, and journalist and consultant Tran Tuong Nhu.

  • APRIL 2007

Jalel Sager joins VGBC project as Hanoi coordinator.

  • JULY 2007

VGBC wins grant from RMIT Global Cities Institute to develop urban adaptation website for Viet Nam.

  • AUGUST 2007

VGBC holds first annual “Green Summer” lectures and professional/academic seminars in Hanoi.

  • SEPTEMBER 2007

VGBC forms technical committee to create green benchmarks for Viet Nam. VGBC submits business plan endorsement of WorldGBC. Jalel Sager named VGBC executive director.

  • OCTOBER 2007

GCF applies for formal operating permission in Viet Nam. * VGBC finalizes founding international advisory board.

  • NOVEMBER 2007

VGBC collaborates with local architects on competition for green high-rise. Staff and members of founding board and international technical committee travel to Ho Chi Minh City for Nautilus Institute scenario workshop on climate change adaptation in Asia. VGBC begins partnership with Tri Viet University project of board member Madame Ton Nu Thi Ninh.

  • DECEMBER 2007 

VGBC receives AUD $62,000 grant from the Global Cities Institute of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia to begin SCCA research and bring VGBC researchers for green building training in April, 2008. Organizational meeting of the VGBC Technical Steering Committee Three working groups formed: SCCA Buildings, SCCA Urban Planning, and SCCA Infrastructure * VGBC receives formal endorsement from WGBC.

  • JANUARY 2008

GCF receives operating permission from the Vietnamese government. Executive Director Jalel Sager addresses annual national meeting of Viet Nam Association of Civil Engineering for the Environment (VACEE) on climate change, sustainable building, and SCCA. Working groups hold first meetings and finalize 2008 action plans.

  • FEBRUARY 2008

Rolling launch of the Viet Nam Sustainable Climate Change Adaptation Network (V-SCCAN), VGBC’s adaptation website for Viet Nam.

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