By Arnold Muthanga
United Nations Environment Programme, stated that buildings consume almost half of the global energy, they account for 40% of green-house gases emissions, generate 20% solid waste and consume 25% of clean drinking water. To expound on energy consumption, buildings consume 35% of energy generated and 60% of the electricity produced. Hence, residential homes and commercial buildings have a notable contribution on carbon emission. It is then appropriate to deduce, architecture have a daunting role to play in countering global warming. Architects, are at the focal point to respond to sustainable design strategies that are eco-friendly, innovative, energy-efficient and that make use of renewable materials. These buildings create living environments that minimize the use of resources by the occupants.
Britam Holdings ltd, does not only offer high edge financial services and products in Kenya, but plays a lead role in sustainable architecture. As engrossed in its’ towering office block in Nairobi Upper Hill. A sleek piece of modern architecture, scooped the competitive Emporis Skyscraper Award for blending mechanical, electrical and design engineering ingenuity. The Emporis jury were ignited by the right mix of art and skill of the structure in response to global calls for environmental sound constructions.
Britam tower, has a well-crafted rainwater harvesting and recycling system that subsidizes its water use by 50% relative to typical buildings. Triad Architects’, embodied the tower to incorporate effective passive heating and cooling systems. Windows that can be opened at the top and at the bottom, facilitating cross aerodynamics. The approach mitigate heat costs, translating to 39% savings on energy bills. Low energy and lighting systems sensitive to motion, ensure proper energy management. High performance glass on the brazen façade planes create serene internal natural lighting. It made use of eco-friendly building materials such as bamboo for lobby finishing fulfilling the desires of aesthetics. Natural decking softwood materials creates a low carbon imprint offering alternatives to tropical hardwoods and undesired ceramics.
Sustainable architectural impressions are not limited to new buildings but also encompass existing structures. Setting up solar panels, replacing high energy consuming heating systems and improving insulation properties to promote green design and operation.
It is now crystal clear, sustainability touches everyone, everywhere on everything. Sustainable buildings need to be water and energy independent with operations that are not pollutant to the immediate environment. They need to promote health, well-being and diversity of the local ecosystem as well as inspiring the dream. Buildings need to portray spiritual conscience in it design, setting and construction. Sustainable architecture is founded on three principles of social, ecological and economic sustainability. It is vital in enhancing natural environment, minimizing use of toxic materials and maximizing use of renewable resources. The inspiration is to decrease negative effects of the built environment to the natural one. Ideal green structures impact on the community, the economy and the earth at large. They meet the needs of the present without maiming the ability of the future generations meeting their own needs.