More green design experts needed

Kenya has about 20 environmental design experts. While this is, ironically, one of the highest in Africa, the small number is partly to blame for the few green buildings in the country.

“Most buildings being constructed in Kenya today are not environmentally-friendly or climate responsive. Take the City of Nairobi, for example. Since 2000, many buildings have been put up. Only the LRC at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and the Coca Cola East and Central Africa Business unit headquarters in Upper Hill meet the criteria for environmentally conscious buildings. The KCB headquarters in Upper Hill, which is under construction, will be a good addition as it employs some of the strategies. The same can be said of other urban centres in Kenya. There is a need for extra effort towards designing and constructing green buildings in Kenya today,” says Musau Kimeu.

Use of glass

“The glass cladded high-rise building or skyscraper heats up quickly and in the process greenhouse effect is manifested, thus making its interiors a hot glass furnace, which without air-conditioning is practically not habitable in tropical climates,” he notes.

He says that most architects are not trained to design environmentally friendly buildings or climate-responsive buildings for the hot tropical climates. He says such architects would require at least postgraduate training in environmental design in architecture.

“All glass high-rise buildings within the tropics (hot climates) fall under this category of climate non-responsive buildings,” he says.