Monday, April 21, 2014

Is Africa Ready And Willing To Go Green?

Published:

Photo: sunpack.com

Africa’s climate has become hotter and volatiles as a result of climate change,

By Ojo Temitope

There is no doubt Africa needs to go green by embracing environmental sustainability.

The Environmental sustainability issues such as climate change, waste management, land use, water scarcity, deforestation, pollution, energy consumption, etc, matter more to Africa than any other region .

The continent is well poised to take advantage of its vast human resources and natural endowment to be at the fore front of going green, but this is not to say that that there are no challenges associated with the region going green.

The widespread adoption of ‘going green’ will bring great benefits to Africa.

Climate change is not a crisis of Africa’s making, yet Africa’s climate is set to become hotter and more volatile, exposing the continent’s poor inhabitants to heightened risk. A systematic approach is required to manage the continent’s emission contribution.

The African climate contribution to emission could be classified into: energy emission, Industrial process emission, agriculture & land use emission

Current emissions could be managed by – re-orientation and mass literacy programs to educate the populace on the harmful effect of emissions to their health and the environment, Legislations by government with the input of the industry stakeholders to set standard and polices to regulate its contributions to emissions, best green building practice like Energy efficiency should be encouraged.

“Adoption of green building practice with design and construction field remains low”

Green building in Africa could be defined as the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout a building life cycle from sitting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction in the continent.

This practice expands and complements the classical building design of Africa economy.

The main barriers to constructing green building in Africa are Lack of institutions to formulate policies, set guidelines and promote construction of green building, product information and sourcing.

The lack of information about green products and high performance building systems is a major drawback to Africa effort at constructing green buildings.

Funding – due to relative high cost associated with green building projects and financing such projects has been a difficult task for developers; also lack of investors is another factor.

Human resource and client knowledge – lack of credible evidence of the advantages of green building to existing structure

However, the following measures should be put in place to address the earlier mentioned barriers: desire to protect the environment, active governmental regulation and polices, green building awareness campaigns, training and development, products standardization, culture and community influences

“Who will build is as important as what we build.”

The concern about energy, greenhouse gas emissions and indoor air quality, an explosion of interest in green building is creating new job opportunities in the construction industry

This brings about development and training in the construction industry. To meet the demands for this emerging industry, training and development programs are imperative.

This could be achieved by establishment of institutions such as colleges, technical schools, union training centers, and associated schools to create programs that will develop the skill for green industry.

Introduction of green building strategies and best practices into school curricular from initial stages is a good foundation.

Moreover, availability of resource persons to train and develop green construction workers and professionals in the emerging industry is necessary.

Furthermore regulation and accreditation to help policies and rating system is important. Better environment quality, going hand in hand with a better job, with efforts to bring new workers into this field, and to help working professionals discover how to build green, deserve urgent attention.

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