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Firm launches Rivers’ affordable green building project

Solar-powered building

NIGERIAN architects, who had kept property developers in the limbo over the designs for green buildings, began last week to unveil development plans for housing project in the River State capital, Port Harcourt. The project is pioneered by United State-based Messrs Comprehensive Design Services (CDS – USA), led by its Chief Executive Officer, Chinwe Ohajuruka, a winning finalist in the African Diaspora Marketplace competition with a design for an affordable Passive House Prototype. Community Conservation and Development Initiatives (CCDI), is also one of the Nigerian based organisations in partnership with the project.

Coming as a bioclimatic design featuring natural ventilation, wide eaves, shading from landscaping, energy from solar, wind and biogas, rainwater harvesting and the use of locally available renewable material for construction among other elements.  A key factor in the design is its affordability for low-income families. The African Diaspora Marketplace encourages innovative, entrepreneurial solutions to poverty and economic development in Africa. It focuses on sustainable economic growth and employment by supporting US-based African Diaspora entrepreneurs with innovating and high-impact ideas for start-up and established businesses in sub-Saharan Africa.

The pilot phase being kick-started in Igbo-Etche, Port Harcourt will end in December 2013, and comprises four self-contained units of two rooms each with all the renewable energy technologies will cost approximately N8 million. The building design is flexible and can be built in four phases, according to the owner’s timetable and budget.

The prototype building will use 85per cent less energy than an ordinary building of its size, utilise less water and recycle rainwater. It will also use environment friendly materials such as stabilized earth instead of cement blocks.

It will be designed to be climate responsive with cross ventilation, cool roofs, wide overhangs, shading from trees and walls that do not absorb and transmit heat to the interior of the buildings. The building design incorporates two courtyards for cooling, ventilation and communal activities as well as solar panels for lighting and powering small appliances, and solar thermal for the borehole and pumping water.

Similarly, the green building will recycle waste and sewerage with a bio-digester, which will in turn produce biogas for cooking. The project represents a collaboration of Nigerian Diaspora–driven ideas with local implementation expertise. Mr. Omie Ben-Kalio, an electrical engineer and Mr. Emeka Abulokwe, a mechanical engineer, both of whom are Port Harcourt based, will direct the engineering operations of CDS Nigeria.  Dr. Louis Gyoh, an architect and sustainability consultant and Ms. Gloria Ene, a quantity surveyor are consultants in this pilot project. Lagos-based firm, OAC Architects will also provide design support, while Alitheia Capital will provide business direction.

Ohajuruka told The Guardian that occupants will be encouraged to use solar cooking ovens and solar refrigerators which can be purchased at reasonable prices. “It will create healthier indoor environments with large windows (for ventilation and views) and using materials that do not cause irritation to humans. People will have less reasons to use generators or firewood and kerosene for cooking.  This house type will raise the standard of living for many, as each unit is affordable, high quality and self-contained.

“Once completed, the building will be rated on a Green Building Rating System from either South Africa, the UK, the US or Nigeria, if a rating tool is available by then. The Passive House Prototype presents a powerful comprehensive solution to Port-Harcourt’s greatest needs for renewable energy and affordable housing.”

From: The Guardian

Source: http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=94581:firm-launches-rivers-affordable-green-building-project&catid=25:property&Itemid=655