Built Environment Professionals Urged to Focus on Green Buildings

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Building professionals and policy makers in the country have been urged to focus on green buildings as a way of enhancing sustainability and protecting the environment.

As the world marks the World Green Building week that will be taking place between 21st-25th September 2020, the World Green Building Council is calling on key players to showcase leaders who are undertaking to deliver greener buildings. Buildings account for more than one-third of global carbon emissions.

Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) Chief Manager, Physical Planning, Design and Compliance, Arch. Anna Musyimi said shifting focus from traditional construction designs to green buildings will ensure long term sustainability of urban places and also improve the quality of life of inhabitants.

“I urge fellow architects, consultants in engineering and also leaders in government to move from the traditional approaches of design and construction of buildings and urban development and embrace sustainability and green architecture and practices to ensure that the resources we have today can be available to our future generation,” she said ahead of World Green Building Week that kicks of today.

This week, the Kenya Green Building Society (KGBS) of which Konza Technopolis is a member, will lead the country in a series of events, which will include tree planting activities and a webinar discussion on Wednesday 23rd September 2020, on the role of green infrastructure in promoting sustainable cities and communities.

As the pioneer smart city in the country, Arch. Musyimi revealed that Konza Technopolis is implementing several green practices in its development processes to advance environmental conservation as part of its sustainability goals, an aspect that has been captured in its development plans.

This has not only been through setting aside of green spaces, but also through adoption of green building practices geared at reducing greenhouse gas emissions within the city and ensuring a clean environment, sustainable use of water, clean, efficient and renewable energy, clean sanitation and waste management among others.

At the Technopolis, it is a requirement that architectural designs factor in rainwater collection & utilization, as well as use of solar power. As a way of ensuring sustainability, construction materials used in the Technopolis must be green with low embodied energy.

So far, most of the construction and design in the Technopolis, such as the Konza Complex and the National Data Centre, have been issued with different certifications by the KGBS which advocates for a green built environment and trains green building professionals in the country. The society issues certifications to buildings and designs that have adopted green practices.

The Society’s CEO, Mr. John Kabuye commended Konza for being the first city to be a member of the society and its efforts in advancing the urban sustainability agenda through adoption of green building practices.

“I commend the Konza Technopolis for working closely with the Kenya Green Building Society to be able to transform the green built environment at a city scale. I encourage Konza to embrace sustainability and green buildings as well as green communities by greening the city and making sure that they don’t lower the standards as far as sustainability is concerned,” he said.

He observed that since the world is grappling with climate change, it is important that the country adopts green building practices which will also help in meeting the global goals targeted at reducing carbon emissions.

The SABIS School located in Runda was awarded the Green Star Africa-Kenya PEB rating in recognition of the school’s adoption of green practices.

Mr. Austin Opiyo who is in charge of Health, Safety, Operations and Maintenance at the institution said the school employs a building management software that has improved efficiency in the use of water and electricity systems.

“Owing to the entire energy management system that we have put in place, we are able to achieve 50% saving on our utility costs. Out of the projections that were made, currently with 180 students we have been incurring Ksh 1 Million on power but in the absence of the building management system software where we are able to schedule some activities to run at certain times only, we would have incurred about Ksh 2 Million per month,” Mr. Opiyo said.

The World Green Building Week is marked as part of an annual campaign aimed at raising awareness about green buildings as one the most effective means to achieving a range of global goals. These include addressing climate change, creating sustainable and thriving communities, and driving economic growth.

This year, the event will be celebrated under the theme ‘Act on Climate,’ with a call to action to building sector players, policymakers and governments around the world to take urgent action to ensure buildings are energy efficient and fully powered from on-site and off-site renewable energy sources.

KGBS is a member of the World Green Building Society that aims to transform the construction industry and built environment to ensure a sustainable future.