Kenyan Architects are key stakeholders involved in creating and shaping the built environment as individuals undertake building in Kenya. It must be noted however that the built environment is one of the highest consumer of energy worldwide. It has been estimated in the developed world that buildings consume up to 40% of the total energy used in the economy. In addition, they are the key consumers of electrical energy worldwide. Secondly they utilize a lot of other natural resources such as water and raw materials.
The challenge of environmental degradation when building in Kenya
In retrospect, buildings are some of the highest generators of non industrial waste during the course of their lifespan, especially during construction and demolition. This means that they have high levels of input of natural resources and output of waste that requires to be managed throughout the course of a building’s lifespan.
Carbon dioxide emissions are an important consideration regarding building regulations in today’s world. The Kyoto Protocol is a statute that was set in place by the nations of the world to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by certain levels within an agreed given period. This was all set in place to counter the negative effects of carbon dioxide emissions and green house gases that were leading to ozone depletion and proliferation of the green house effect.
The built environment accounts for more than 40% of carbon dioxide emissions in developed countries. It is also a major contributor of solid, liquid and gaseous effluents, which are major contributors towards degradation of our natural environment. Solid and liquid waste is constantly emitted from buildings the world over, as a result of man’s activities within them. As a result there is a major demand for environmentally sustainable practices as regards building operations and maintenance to avoid making the problem worse.
Considerations of Sustainable Building in Kenya for the Architect.
That being said, it is important to acknowledge that we cannot do away with the built environment, regardless of the multitude of issues that are raised as a result of operations in the built environment. The issue is to adopt our buildings to ensure that they are compatible with the level of environmental responsibility required of them. This calls for buildings that mitigate on the adverse effects mentioned earlier, by
- Reducing their levels of energy consumption,
- Reducing their consumption of natural resources during construction and operation.
- Reducing their levels of waste emissions and harmful effluent discharge.
- Reducing their carbon dioxide footprint.
Incorporating these characteristics in creation of buildings must be a deliberate process. The processes of ensuring buildings are created with these parameters intrinsically to ensure they respond favorably to the natural environment is called sustainable design. Buildings which are designed sustainably with these characteristics inculcated within are called Green Buildings.
One of the most vital areas of building sustainably is ensuring that buildings are responsible consumers of energy. The objective with this regard is that a building should have the smallest energy footprint possible, and if possible should meet its energy requirements from whichever renewable sources are available, while minimizing its usage of non renewable energy. In addition, the buildings should be able to maximize the energy that they have received or generated by using it efficiently, and must mitigate against wastage.
Developers And Architects In Kenya Must Seek For Sustainable Building In Kenya
Various options can be employed in the process of creating energy efficient buildings. Architects in Kenya must consider what are the available methods with which energy sustainability can be achieved in the building process in order to effectively advise their clientele. This is the process to achieve energy efficiency in the process of building in Kenya.