The University of Nairobi (UoN) and IFC, a member of the World Bank, last week signed a partnership to increase awareness of green building design among university students and professionals and help drive the adoption of sustainable and environmentally friendly construction practices in Kenya.
Under the partnership, IFC will train UoN faculty on delivering courses to architecture, construction, and engineering students based on IFC’s Design for Greater Efficiencies (DfGE) module, which includes instruction on bioclimatic design, water efficiency, lighting, heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. Professionals in fields related to sustainable construction are also eligible to take the courses.
More sustainable or “green buildings” emphasize environmentally friendly and resource-efficient design, construction, operation, and maintenance. Green buildings consume less energy, water, and materials compared to traditional buildings, while also generating less waste and pollution. They are of growing importance as cities, including those in Kenya, rapidly expand and face climate-related and water and energy challenges.
The DfGE module falls under IFC’s Green Building Market Transformation Program, which promotes the construction of resource-efficient buildings in emerging markets. UoN students will also have access to IFC’s EDGE web-based application, which allows users to calculate the payback period of green design through estimated utility savings.
Prof. Stephen Kiama, Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, expressed his enthusiasm during the partnership signing event at the University, saying, “This partnership is a major milestone for our university, and it will have a lasting impact on our students, faculty, and the broader community. Through this collaboration, the University will implement IFC’s Green Building Market Transformation Program and EDGE Application to empower our students with the knowledge and skills they need to be leaders in sustainable construction. We will also create a pool of highly skilled professionals who can help Kenya transition to a more sustainable future.”
Amena Arif, IFC’s Country Manager for Kenya, also speaking at the singing event, said, “IFC’s partnership with the University of Nairobi underscores our commitment to more sustainable and green cities that minimize resource use and reduce stresses on the environment. Equipping students with the knowledge they need to build green is an important way to achieve more sustainable and efficient urban planning. The course aims to equip students and trainee architects, designers, and engineers with knowledge and skills to design resource-efficient buildings, to drive green construction and market transformation in Kenya.”
The DfGE course has been offered in seven countries across 36 universities since its launch in 2019, including three in Africa, namely, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa.
The Designing for Greater Efficiency course licensing agreement signing event was part of the official opening of the 22nd African Real Estate Society (AfRES) annual conference¬, themed “Pathways to Sustainable Real Estate¬ Investment in Sub-Saharan African (SSA) Countries”, which opened on September 12 and runs until September 15 at the University of Nairobi.
Over 200 delegates from across Africa and around the world are participating in the conference, which explores the future of real estate research and education in alignment with Africa Union’s agenda 2063 goals and priority areas, including affordable housing and social housing, green building initiatives, sustainable real estate, and research priorities for real estate education, among others.
The conference is sponsored by IFC, the International Real Estate Society, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Henley Business School – University of Reading, IRE|BS Foundation for African Real Estate Research in Germany, the University of Nairobi, and Institution of Surveyors of Kenya.