Government urged to lean towards green building for future generations

(Middle) KGBS Chair Elizabeth Chege planting a tree during the Green Apple Day of Service at Sabis International School. She has been appointed WGBC vice-chair./COURTESY

The country should lean more towards Net zero buildings (i.e. buildings that are energy efficient and supply energy needs from renewable sources on-site and/or off-site) to protect the planet and future generations.

Speaking at a conference to mark World Green Building Week (WGBW) celebrations that were held from Monday 21st to Friday 25th September, 2020, Kenya Green Building Society (KGBS) Chairperson Elizabeth Chege said that investing in Net Zero buildings will not only support a healthier and more sustainable built environment but also stimulate innovations, activate supply chains and create jobs.

“Buildings contribute to 39% of carbon emissions to the environment, building green gives us the opportunity to cap that percentage,” said Chege.

The conference which was organized by KGBS in partnership with KONZA Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) also brought together stakeholders in the built sector who are also pushing for Net Zero buildings.

Speaking at the conference Permanent Secretary in charge of ICT and innovation in the Ministry of ICT Jerome Ochieng’ encouraged the financial sector to be innovative and develop protocols that will spur investment in the green building industry.

“We seek to spark the conversation and action within the construction industry to act on climate change and build momentum in the adoption of Net Zero carbon building for our COVID-19 recovery and beyond,” said the PS.

He also urged the public to find creative ways of greening the environment for example by planting trees on their birthdays according to the age they are turning.

The discussion around Net Zero buildings is a response to the climate emergency, with building using natural resources for energy, for example natural ventilation and making good use of solar energy.

“If you do not need air condition, you don’t need huge power loads connected to your building,” said KGBS chair Elizabeth Chege.

“At this point in Kenya we are advocation for LED lighting. With LED lighting we will be saving 20-40 percent of our energy consumption through lighting,” she added.

KGBS urged the government, business leaders, policy makers and all stakeholders involved in the built sector to prioritize Net Zero buildings by 2050.

The Society also launched the first-ever green materials and services directory to ease the process of locally sourcing for materials and services for those who want to build green.

The 11th annual World Green Building Week with #ActOnClimate being the theme involved tree planting activities at City Park, Sabis International School and KONZA Technopolis Development Authority.