Housing projects at Garden City define the future of green homes in Kenya
July 19, 2021
By the year 2050, the global population will likely reach nine billion people. Due to household demand and population growth, the world needs to build more than two billion new homes over the next 80 years, according to global research.
Nations across the globe are becoming increasingly concerned about the effects of climate change and people growing environmentally conscious and, therefore, project builders have implemented sustainable development practices in their real estate properties to promote energy efficiency, minimize the impacts of global warming, and protect natural resources.
Due to advances in technology, green homes are gradually growing in popularity, and this is a step in the right direction. If project builders do not adapt to the challenge of building sustainable homes, the pressure on natural resources will be detrimental. Some of the resulting negative impacts include loss of biodiversity and increased greenhouse gases.
Today, the need for more sustainable homes has also been expedited by contemporary homebuyers’ preferences. People want – and will pay more for – sustainable features such as energy-efficient appliances, windows, and fittings alongside other features that improve their health and quality of life. It is also worth noting that, as younger generations are expected to enter the home buying market, they are looking out for built-in eco-friendly and sustainable features.
A good example of how green buildings are taking the construction world by storm is the buzz that developed around the construction of the Garden City Residences, Mall, and Business Park here at home in Nairobi. Declared by the global Construction & Civil Engineering magazine as the best green building in sub-Saharan Africa, this development brought to the fore the need for buildings to be eco-friendly, self-sufficient and to use natural resources such as light, wind and earth.
Among Garden City’s green features that developers can borrow a leaf from as they plan to go green in their construction is the use of robust water harvesting and recycling systems aimed at reducing wastage and significantly reducing potable water consumption. This is a system that can help combat the problem of water wastage that is leading to scarcity.
One of the main benefits of going green in construction is cost reduction. The antithesis that installing green infrastructure is costly has been debunked by developments like the Garden City Mall which incorporates a massive solar carport that provides 1.2M kWh of clean electricity to serve the mall’s shops, grocery stores, and movie theatre each year.
In addition to cutting costs, green instalments have lower maintenance requirements leading to more savings. For example, Mi Vida homes development within Garden City is IFC “Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies” (EDGE) certified. EDGE helps to determine the most cost-effective options for designing green developments within a local climate context. Mi Vida homes adhere to the EDGE standard of 20 percent less energy use, 20 percent less water use, and 20 percent less embodied energy in materials when compared to a base case building.
As we look into the future, sustainability has become one of the key indices under which businesses get both local and global certification. Seeing that the UN has deliberately set aside resources to ensure SDG goals are attained, it is not far-fetched to say that green certification might be a key element in deciding the ease with which a company gets business in future.
For instance, by being the first project in East Africa to achieve a Gold rating in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system developed by the US. Green Building Council, Garden City Mall is at an advantage should a business venture requiring environmental certification emerge. In other words, environmental certification will be the ISO-certification of the future for construction.
The environmental benefits of green building in our contemporary society cannot be underestimated as it enhances and protects biodiversity while improving the quality of water and air that we consume. Going green will, in the long run, reduce waste streams while conserving and restoring our natural resources.