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Push for green concepts gathers pace

By James Wanzala | September 24th 2020

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

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

Buildings account for more than one-third of global carbon emissions.

“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 kicked off on Monday.

The Kenya Green Building Society (KGBS), of which Konza Technopolis is a member, will lead the country in a series of events that will include tree planting and a webinar on the role of green infrastructure in promoting sustainable cities and communities.

Musyimi said the Konza Technopolis, as the pioneer smart city in the country, was implementing several green practices in its development to advance environmental conservation.

This includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring a clean environment, sustainable use of water, clean, efficient and renewable energy, sanitation and waste management.  

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.

The society issues certifications to buildings and designs that have adopted green practices.

KGBS Chief Executive John Kabuye commended Konza for being the first project 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,” he said.

“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 since the world is grappling with climate change, it was 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 its adoption of green practices.

Austin Opiyo, who is in charge of health, safety, operations and maintenance at the institution, said they employ a building management software that has improved efficiency in the use of water and electricity.

“Owing to the entire energy management system that we have put in place, we are able to achieve 50 per cent saving on our utility costs,” he said.

“Currently with 180 students, we have been incurring Sh1 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 Sh2 million per month.”

The World Green Building Week is a campaign aimed at raising awareness about climate change and creating sustainable and thriving communities, among other goals.  

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