Kenyan Architects are faced with the challenge of creating sustainable architecture that is relevant to the times we live in. One of the key areas within which architecture needs to be sustainable is the element of energy efficiency in buildings. Buildings are huge guzzlers of energy in many ways and the building industry has contributed to the high energy demand worldwide. There is a need therefore for buildings to incorporate requirements for sustainability in order for them to favorably contribute to the green agenda.
Energy Efficiency for Kenyan Architects creating Sustainable Architecture – Green Fittings
Green architecture requires buildings that have a lower energy footprint, i.e. that they exert less power demands on the environment, and do not cause adverse environmental effects in the process of obtaining this power. This is connected to the need for cleaner alternative sources of energy that do not cause environmental degradation. Indeed energy sources that have less carbon dioxide emissions and have low volatile organic compounds within are preferable for the green agenda to be pronounced.
Energy is used up within buildings through the plethora of appliances and gadgets that we use in our offices, institutions, residences, industries and commercial facilities. They are intrinsic to the operations of the same, and are part and parcel of our day to day activities. We cannot function in today’s professional environment without these activities. In the same vein, we recreate, produce and trade using energy consuming devices.
Considering that these appliances that consume energy are utilized in the context of our built environment, it is vital that adequate provisions be made in the framework of our buildings to minimize power consumption. Likewise it is essential that we consider the use of appliances that make a deliberate effort to use as little energy as possible as they carry out their tasks.
Energy Efficient Devices that should be incorporated by Kenyan architects
Out of the myriad activities carried out in the home and the office, the requirement for lighting is an underlying factor in most of them. Especially in the office, the requirements for light is insatiable. Many offices have workstations that are located distant from windows and sources of natural lighting, hence the need to supplement with artificial light.
While it may seem to have a small power consumption per person, the cost of lighting can be enormous when it is factored in for every workstation in a building. Apart from the workstations which provide task lighting, there are enormous demands on lighting required for general lighting, exterior lighting, security lights among others. These add up to create a considerable energy consumption bill from this one factor.
The use of energy saving lamps is a huge advancement as regards energy conservation. The ability for a lamp fitting to provide the same light as another, which consumes much more energy, is a huge advantage that users need to take cognizance of. Traditional tungsten filament lamps used to consume much electricity and give out a lot of energy through heat.
However recent technological advances have yielded the energy efficient light bulbs that require less energy and produce more light. The LED lights used today also offer these advantages. In essence, should you need to provide artificial lighting to enhance your workplace lighting levels, you will spend far less on energy consumption by using this kind of light fixtures.
The ability to regulate the usage of light fittings is another potential source of savings as regards the green agenda. Often lights are left on in spaces which are not being used, or which have periodic traffic to them. Toilets and stores often have their lights left on even when there is no human activity in them. Office spaces at night can have their lights left on at night due to neglect, resulting in energy usage that cannot be justified. Even security lights can be left on night after night in spite of their being no one using them at a time.
The best solutions in this regard is to have fittings that are self regulating and are able to be activated according to user demand at a time. The use of fittings having electronic sensors and light sensors allow electric fittings like lights to be turned on automatically as it senses the presence of a user in the space. In addition, should the space be vacated, the light fixtures are able to switch themselves off, resulting in less wastage. Lights that have photocell sensors are also able to detect the amount of ambient lighting in a space and are able to dim or brighten accordingly, to ensure optimum lighting levels. This goes a long way in saving light energy consumption.
Selection Of Computers Can Be Used To Achieve Energy Efficiency by Kenyan Architects
The computer is another major source of energy consumption bills. Our world today is computerized, and most activities in the workplace and the home happen in the context of electronic media. Our productivity is heavily tied to the use of these computers. It should be noted that they often come in more than one component that requires power, i.e. a CPU unit, a monitor, printers and other peripheral devices, as well as an uninterrupted power supply (UPS). All these devices do require power to operate. Again while the consumption of each may be considered relatively low, aggregated together and multiplied for every computer station in a building they add up to a considerable energy-consuming element.
Information Technology managers should create policies in their organizations that favor the use of portable computers for their day to day activities, even if these computers are to be used only in the office. Laptops and netbooks have grown steadily in their abilities to handle tasks in the office, and many have very impressive specifications. Their portability offers great advantages in allowing people to work in different locations without much challenge.
A major merit is the fact that their power usage is much lower than comparable desktop systems that require several components to be powered at a time. Use of such computer systems will guarantee much lower power consumption within the office. In addition, being battery powered gives an additional option for energy provision, ensuring that less electric power is drawn from the national grid all the time.
Actively Engage Energy Efficient Methods to Guarantee Sustainable Building in Kenya
Dealing with these two areas alone in a workplace can have huge implications on the energy needs of a building. Wisdom demands that if these things are properly harnessed, they can reduce the energy footprint of the built facility, and largely increase a building’s sustainability. Thinking green as regards what we use in our buildings from day to day will assist in reducing wastage. By so doing, Kenyan architects will assist in the process of sustainable building in Kenya.