Green Architecture solutions have advantages broken down into 3 parts.

1.Environmental benefits.

2. Economic Benefits.

3.Social Benefits.

Environmental benefits.

These are benefits that ensure that the building plays its part in sustainability of planet earth. These can further be broken down as below.

a. Waste water recycling.

This is the use of methods of recycling waste water for reuse within the home. Grey water from Kitchens and bathrooms can be diverted for use to irrigate the landscape. Sewer water can also be treated for re use but this comes at a higher cost. On average, a sewer treatment plant that can treat sewerage for reuse will cost approx. kes 500,000 for a domestic home. Grey water from Kitchens and bathrooms do not need any extra financial costs to divert for irrigation.

b. Energy conservation.

Generation of power from Solar panels ensures that the energy generated for home use is sustainable. Conversion of solar energy to electrical energy using solar cells is the most efficient with an efficiency rate of approx. 20%.

Economic benefits.

a. Use of locally available natural materials.

Careful selection of locally available construction materilas saves costs since transportation is reduced.

b. Increase on value of building.

A building constructed using Green Architecture principles has a higher valuation which can be used as leverage for collateral while seeking for funds from financial institution. This higher value also attracts higher rents . A good example on this is the numerous hotels and resorts within the Kenyan game parks which attract higher lodging fees compared to normal buildings. This is mainly because Green Architecture gives the building a unique feel compared to other building types which translates to higher value.

c. Reduction of maintenance costs.

Most Green architecture materials have fewer maintenance costs. For example, use of zero jointed walls, cobble stone exteriors etc result in minimal maintenance costs compared to other non Green architecture exterior walling methods.

Social Benefits.

a. Improved health.

Green architecture concepts ensure that the occupants do not suffer health wise. Use of natural materials such as wood parquet instead of HDF wood plastic and MDF boards ensures that chances of the occupants inhaling poisonous cancer causing formaldehyde is reduced.

Careful placement of windows in line with the suns path ensures that natural sunlight enters into the house and acts as a natural disinfectant hence reduction of infections and moulds. Cross ventilation also ensures that the quality of air in the house is of high quality hence reduction in pulmonary infections.

b. Green building ensures creation of jobs to the neighbors since materials are sourced from the neighborhood.

These materials in most cases require labor intensive processing hence creating numerous job opportunities to the local inhabitants e.g. zero jointed walls and wood plank roofing systems .


Feng Shui

Feng Shui means wind and water. Its a 6000 year old Chinese/Asian method of design whereby the positive energy is encouraged to flow within the building.

Green Architecture borrows heavily from the 6000year old Feng Shui principles to assist the home owner derive the above benefits outlined above.

Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.

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