The focus on sustainability in building design and construction is set to become even sharper over the next 12 months, according to leading East African architecture and engineering practice FBW group.
FBW is also calling for more work to create the circular economy in Africa and says that the issue will have an increasing impact on building design and construction, not just regionally but globally.
The group, which is helping deliver large-scale development projects across the region, believes a continuing focus on sustainable design and the increased use of locally sourced African materials is vital moving forward.
The important role “green buildings” will play in the decarbonisation of African economies has been highlighted by the African Development Bank this month.
The African Development Bank and the bank’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) have approved a combined-equity investment of $20m in the AfricaGoGreen Fund. It is a debt fund established to promote private investments in energy-efficient technologies and business models.
The new investments come on top of $11.5m equity contribution approved by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) at the end of last year.
Dr Kevin Kariuki, African Development Bank vice president for power, energy, climate and green growth, said: “This combined bank investment will lead to increased financing of emerging projects and businesses in the areas of industrial appliances, electric mobility and green buildings, which are key to the decarbonisation of African economies and to a just energy transition.”
It has also been reported that Rwanda is to receive a $12.5m grant from Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), a German development agency, to support its Kigali Green City project.
The sustainable urban development project will be built on land near the Rwandan capital, with affordable homes supplied with electricity from renewable sources. The houses will be connected to a wastewater and rainwater collection system, according to reports. Construction will mainly use local building materials.
FBW, which is helping deliver large-scale development projects across the region, is a major player in the region’s construction and development sector. It has operated in East Africa for more than 25 years, working on high-profile infrastructure projects enabled and driven by international investment.
Managing director Paul Moores is based at its head office in the Ugandan capital Kampala. It also has operations in Kenya and Rwanda as well as a base in Manchester in the UK. He said: “Increased investment in decarbonisation and the development of green buildings is welcome. Much more is needed.
“When it comes to the circular economy, in construction that means a focus on more reliable, locally sourced products, created out of natural and traditional African materials.
“Apart from clay and stone products these could be bioplastics or natural fibre boards.
“Added to that is the need to drive the industry towards recycling products on a larger scale, even including something as basic as using reclaimed products in concrete.”
He believes the will is there to do better and adds: “Businesses want to do the right thing when it comes to the environment and the construction sector must rise to that challenge.
“It means a continuing emphasis on sustainable design and construction strategies. The challenge begins during the design stage and the work needed to reduce embodied carbon in buildings.”
FBW Group is committed to sustainability and ecological considerations in its building designs. It has gained a wealth of practical experience in the design and delivery of sustainable building solutions and green principles continue to form an integral part of the design thinking that underlies all its work.
As part of its continuing commitment to ‘build green’ and to advocate for green buildings it is also a member of the Kenyan Green Building Society, which is part of the World Green Building Council.
It is also a champion of the EDGE green building certification system. The Kenyan government has declared that all affordable housing development projects under the nation’s ‘Big Four’ agenda must meet the EDGE standard.
Sustainability is at the heart of FBW’s approach to design work. In its masterplan for the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) campus expansion in Rwanda natural lighting and ventilation have been harnessed wherever possible, as well as the use of solar heating and lighting technologies.
FBW’s work to create a ‘green’ campus for the International School of Kigali (ISK) in Rwanda is another example of that sustainable approach – from its natural ventilation to the products used in construction.
The project will use locally made, eco-friendly brickwork, fired through a low embodied carbon technique.